Winter Lodge Smackdown
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Try to find a better location than this for a ski lodge in the Sierra Nevada. Tamarack Lodge and Resort sits along the Twin Lakes, in a secluded 9,000-foot alpine valley, but only three miles from Mammoth Mountain resort. In July, the 35-building retreatoriginally built in the 1920s by a Los Angeles vaudeville performeropened a new LEED Goldcertified cabin. It features recycled materials, high-efficiency water fixtures, and energy-efficient appliances. But guests will sooner notice the expansive porch with lake views, the fireplace-heated bar area, and the 400 inches of snow that falls outside the front door annually. Rent skis from the resort's cross-country-ski center, then glide along 25 miles of groomed trails straight from the cabin, or take Tamarack's easy shuttle to Mammoth Mountain. From $280; tamaracklodge.com