Winter In Yosemite

Park Ranger Dave Corkett must have one of the loneliest jobs in America: spending the winter in near isolation, on skis patrolling the snowbound high country of Yosemite National Park. At 10,000 feet, the wind and snow can make buildings disappear.

CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports that in winter, Yosemite becomes a place the summertime tourist crush might not recognize.

In the summertime, there would be a line of cars waiting at Yosemite's Tioga Pass entrance, but now, with the crowds replaced by snowdrifts, just getting here is at least half the fun.

With the road closed, anyone who visits this part of the park must ski eight miles uphill. There are no ski lifts here. Stephanie Schwartz and her friends have discovered Yosemite's other wintertime secret: the Tioga Pass Resort, a century-old lodge just outside the park boundaries.

"You ski all day, then you come in and it's just this most wonderful home-cooked meal that you could ever imagine," said Schwartz.

When owners Bob and Claudette Agard first opened in winter 12 years ago, they wondered if anyone would come to a hotel that could be reached only on skis.

"All of it, the entire experience was, we thought, why would somebody do that? But obviously they do. And they're a real hardy group," said Agard.

The few hundred who make it up to Yosemite's high country each winter get to share Ranger Corkett's corner of paradise.

He says, "This is what it's all about, you know, the beauty of untracked snow and just solitude, and it just doesn't get any better."

Somehow the snow seems to enhance the beauty, perhaps because in winter, Yosemite is so clearly a part of nature.

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