SKY SOOTHSAYERS, UNITE: SoCalers, right around the roastiest days of September, can start saying the word "snow" a lot more, as in "snowcone" and "snow vacation" and "wish I was somewhere with snow" and "snow snow snow" (call it an incantation, of sorts, for chillier temperatures). The white 'n cold stuff, though, has a way of taking its own temperature-sweet time in the southern half of the state, visiting the mountaintops starting in November (fingers crossed). But the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway people like to get the brrrr-y bash started sooner. For sure, the famous tram gets snow, at least at the top, and it likes to celebrate those flakes way before they arrive. Well, maybe not "way" before, depending on Mother Nature and El Niño and various desert winds and conditions. The tram's Snow Guessing Contest opened on Wednesday, Oct. 1, and there's a lovely prize in it for the correct guesser: Four admissions to the up, up, up, up ride.
CORRECT GUESSERS, rather, as in plural. The tram gives away ten sets of four admissions, and a tram picture frame as well. That's a good prize, especially since the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway boasts loads of '60s-era cachet and feels pretty darn James-Bond-y to boot. Have visiting relatives who love a cinematic ride? This is for them. Now, the contest details: Guess, via postcard, when the "first measurable inch of snow falls" up at the tram's Mountain Station. Need an elevation? You got it: It's 8,516. And guess soon: "Earlier postmarks will prevail" if there are more than ten accurate guesses.
AND THEN? You can use those winning four admissions to head up San Jacinto for a day in the snow. It's very mountain-craggy and there are sweeping views of Palm Springs, too. Mitten up, snow guessers, but maybe after you've submitted the date upon which you think significant snow'll visit that particular SoCal spot.