Fall foliage in the foreground, snow-capped peaks in the back... This is happening, as of the first weekend of October 2018, in the Eastern Sierra.
© Josh Wray/Visit Mammoth
Fall foliage in the foreground, snow-capped peaks in the back... This is happening, as of the first weekend of October 2018, in the Eastern Sierra.
The mere words "opening day" carry so much importance, and even lore, for a ski resort.

After all, that's when the big ribbon is cut with the pair of big scissors, and that's when the slopes open for another multi-month run, and that's when all of the wintry festivals begin to take shape, like so many snowflakes drifting in from parts unknown.

But there's another milestone on the calendar for upper-elevation destinations, and it involves when the first snow occurs.

That moment might happen months before opening day, as it did for Mammoth Mountain in 2017, when snow fell at the very end of summer, or it might nestle up a bit closer to when the schussing is set to start.

Either way, a first snowfall is celebratory, auspicious, and, without quibble, very, very pretty. And that's the stunning sight greeting visitors to the Eastern Sierra as the first week of October 2018 winds down.

For a bit of snow fell at the summit on Oct. 3, and below it, too, enough to make the ground nicely frosty well over a month before Mammoth Mountain's 2018 opening day, which is set for Thursday, Nov. 8.

And while skiing and riding didn't rev up due to the flakes falling, leaf peepers calling upon the tree-laden region are getting quite the photo-amazing show, thanks to those dramatic and snowy peaks framing all of the bright fall foliage in the lower elevations of Mono County.