Mammoth, Calif.

Projected Opening Date: October 16

Mammoth claims the highest summit elevation (11,053 ft.) of any resort in California, which is why it's usually the first resort to open in the state each year. Last season, a massive late-October storm dumped six feet of snow on the resort, while lower-elevation Tahoe resorts barely saw a flake. This gift from above allowed Mammoth to open two weeks earlier than planned, as evidenced from this photograph, shot on the road up to the Mammoth Main Lodge on Nov. 3, 2008. There are no snow blowers on the highway—that's real powder, kids! Vote » (Photo: Peatross/MMSA)