SEPTEMBER AROUND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA... has as many pretty prisms as a gem. The morning light is growing softer, pumpkin patches are springing up hither and yon, and caramel-apple treats are making their first stands at the local bakeries. And yet? The temperature can still put on its most August-y outfit, right when we were reaching for another apple muffin. That's been the case at the end of September 2016, a week that saw triple-digit temperatures throughout the region. It's almost toasty enough to make one forget we really are in caramel-pumpkin-apple time, and that snowflakes have a way of following (and falling, depending upon where you live). Blizzards aren't in the forecast for the big cities of California, but, as is tradition, the Mt. San Jacinto wilderness near Palm Springs will receive snow, and sooner than we realize. Which means this: The yearly Snow Guessing Contest at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will open again, as it traditionally does, on Oct. 1.
DO YOU HAVE A SENSE FOR SNOW? Then predict, as best you can, when an inch'll accumulate at Mountain Station, which is the tram's tippy-top, up-the-mountain destination. ("Tippy top" here means 8,516 feet). If you are among the "first ten entries received with the correct date of snowfall" you'll pocket four Tram admissions, as well as "a special Tram gift memento." Get the info on where to submit, and perhaps study up on the history of the historic tram, which marked its first half century in 2013. When will those flakes hit? Before Halloween? Near Thanksgiving? Lick the tip of your finger, turn it to the wind, and do your best snow-based guesstimating now. It's a sure way to weather September 2016's summer-like blast for a few more days, knowing cooler temps are on the horizon (and, possibly, some winning Tram admissions, too, for you).