FOR over half a century, Angelinos have flocked to this secluded corner of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s easy to see why. Despite the 8,000-foot altitude, Mammoth Lakes’ sprawl of splashy condos and strip malls has a distinct Los Angeles feel. But the surrounding frozen lakes and granite peaks, immortalized by the photographer Ansel Adams, are decidedly un-Los Angeles, and can hold their own with any landscape in Colorado or Canada. And with expanded daily flights from the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles, not to mention a flurry of new après-ski offerings, Mammoth is hoping to draw skiers from beyond the Golden State.


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Imagine a vast white expanse of what looks like frozen Siberian tundra, dotted with natural hot springs and surrounded by soaring peaks. Hilltop Hot Spring is popular with locals, but you can join in, too. There are no formal signs or footpaths — just follow the S.U.V.’s past the airport five minutes east of Mammoth Lakes and enjoy a steaming soak, free of charge. For more privacy, cross the road to Wild Willy’s, a more secluded spring, which requires a 20-minute trek and a pair of snowshoes. read more>>>