Somewhere in Portland, a Midwestern transplant is beginning to snicker.

Winter is just about here, and in this corner of the country, that means it's almost time for everyone to start completely freaking out about snow.

Any light dusting gets labeled a "snowpocalypse." Cars start sliding off roads the moment the first flakes hit the ground. The mere rumor of snow shuts down schools, cancels the workweek, and causes a mad rush on kale at grocery stores across the city.

Sadly, Carl and Tammy from Kenosha are right—Portland, by and large, doesn't do snow well.

But in all that harried overreaction lies opportunity.

Nothing transforms this town more than a little powder. It enhances the city's natural beauty, turns local parks into miniature Mount Hoods, and calms formerly claustrophobic streets into zones of tranquility. With some forethought, snowmageddon can be your personal winter wonderland. And this year might be your best chance to take advantage.

Accurately forecasting winter weather this far in advance is pretty much impossible. Shoot, it's hard to do even when it seems imminent. Remember what happened in February, when the Snowstorm of the Century turned into a minor slushpile over the course of a weekend? But some meteorologists predict an eventful winter season—a recent gathering of local weather experts agreed that patterns suggest we'll see more snow than average. One prognosticated as many as seven distinct storms hitting us in the coming months.

Is it true? Who knows? But here's what's certain: If you wake up one morning and find the city in a deep freeze, you have two choices—go into hibernation or open your front door and charge into the whiteout. And if you pick the second option, you'll want to be prepared.

In this issue, we've put together a guide to seizing the rare Portland snow day, from the best urban ski spots to where to eat, drink and frolic in an empty and utterly transformed downtown. If you like to be a bit more active, we've rounded up five relatively nearby hikes that lead to stunning frozen waterfalls.

You'll want to load up on provisions, so we asked grocery-store clerks for the items they'll grab from their own shelves before the public has a chance to get them first—and none of them said kale. And we spoke to a veteran snow-plow operator about what it's really like on the front lines of a snowpocalypse.

Sure, you can always choose to stay indoors with spiked coffee and Netflix. But if you ask us, it's time Portland shuts up Ron and Pam from Peoria for good, and shows winter what it's made of. So take this guide and grab the season by the snow globes.

GEAR UP

We don't know if we'll experience Snowpocalypse this year—but Snowvana is right around the corner. On Nov. 22-23, the annual winter sports expo will draw thousands to the Oregon Convention Center for two days of movies, music, discounted lift passes, even a virtual reality Black Diamond ride. Most importantly, tons of vendors will be on hand, selling practically everything you need to take advantage of the season, from microspikes to traverse poles. If you need help putting together your shopping list, look for the "recommended supplies" on the following pages, and see snowvana.com for more information.