SURE SIGN: When the first day of fall is nigh, we long for sights of the season around Southern California. Maybe a leaf that has gone red or cooler mornings or a glimpse of the first corner pumpkin patch. But one of the major signs has not to do with fall but winter. For it is around the autumnal equinox that snowy whispers on the proverbial wind begin to raise their head -- if snowy whispers can have a head, we suppose -- making us understand that not only is fall on the way but the coldest season, right on its seasonal heels. And here's sign #1: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is launching its annual Snow Guessing Contest, a contest that can nab the winner free tickets on the up-the-mountain scenic ride.
ALL YOU NEED TO DO... is predict the first date that an inch of snow will accumulate at Mountain Station on the side of the big mountain. The contest launches Oct. 1, and you should get your guess in early, because the first ten guesses bearing the correct date win. (The winnings: Four Tram admissions and a 50th anniversary gift bag.) Isn't it nice to think about the cold, frosty stuff on San Jacinto? The Mountain Fire provided an intense and smoky summer in the area, so photos of snowflakes are pleasing to the eye, especially this year.
50TH ANNIVERSARY: It is indeed the famous tramway's half-century birthday this year, and a special page celebrates its history. We like the nostalgic photos, but it is a good spot to keep up on all of the big-year doings.