42 snowcat
Image: Peat Bakke

42 CATS GET US UP THERE
Waaaay up there. From Timberline’s Palmer Express, at 7,000 feet on Mount Hood, hitch a ride on the 12-seat, Bombardier snowcat, which carries skiers and riders every 20 minutes up the Palmer Glacier to 8,500 feet. The price is included with your lift ticket, but the run down through deep, untracked snow feels like you’re stealing kisses.

43 BECAUSE SNOW GLOWS

When moonbeams bounce of off new fallen snow, the forest is as bright as day. See for yourself along the easy 1.5-mile snowshoe to Mirror Lake at the base of Tom Dick and Harry Mountain near Government Camp. Green Trails Map no. 461, Government Camp

 

44wolf

44 THE ZOO DOESN’T HIBERNATE
Wet-season outings to the menagerie mean more face time with the animals, and less time in lines. Maximize your ogling with January’s two-hour parent-child classes, which provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the staff cares for all-star residents like polar bears and primates. Also eternally cool: the sight of a gray wolf’s breath rising in the chilly Northwest air. 4001 SW Canyon Rd; 503-226-1561; oregonzoo.org

45 KIDS CAN RIDE

Kidical Mass to be confused with Critical Mass, that lemming-like bike protest that was a hip way to get arrested about 10 years ago—is a perfectly legal family excursion designed to help kids get a feel for the road. Portland’s Kidical leaders plot short, traffic-light routes across the city; in these soggy months, the ride, which draws close to 100 kids and parents, provides a great excuse for getting the bikes out of the garage.

46 CHOCOLATE GROWS UP

Yeah, hot chocolate got you through a cold snap—when you were 9. Now, it’s time to step it up a notch. We suggest a flight of extravagantly rich, velvety drinking chocolates at Cacao. Six bucks scores you a trifecta of espresso-size doses of chocolaty goodness—one classic, one cinnamon-laced, one spicy, all three perfectly mature, and oh so indulgent. 414 SW 13th Ave; 503-241-0656

47 THE NHL STARTS HERE

Since relocating to Portland in 1976 from Edmonton, Alberta, the Portland Winterhawks have sent 103 players to the National Hockey League, including former New York Ranger and 2007 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Messier and Brenden Morrow, the current captain of the playoff-bound Dallas Stars. Catch the next crop of young guns this month during their grudge matches against division rivals Seattle and Spokane.

48 WE’RE FEELING LUCKY

Sometimes the only way to combat January’s icy winds is from within. Enter Lucky Strike’s fiery menu of Sichuan classics. Our pick? The hot-pepper chicken bath: tender morsels of chicken buried beneath a pile of gleaming dried peppers and studded with seductively tongue-numbing prickly ash. It’s a full-body paddle-shock of midwinter warmth. 3862 SE Hawthorne Blvd; 503-206-8292

49 WE HAVE OUR PICK OF VOLCANOES

Explore Hood’s fiery neighbor, Mount St. Helens, with a series of guided snowshoe treks led by the Mt St. Helens Institute, including a three-mile trek to Ape Cave and a Valentine’s Day outing to see June Lake’s 60-foot waterfall.

50 MISERY LOVES COMPANY

And you can find plenty at the Worst Day of the Year Ride. What began in 2002 with just 250 bike riders braving mid-February’s blustery skies has ballooned into a weather-be-damned anthem that now draws 4,000 participants annually. Strap on your helmet, zip up the Gore-Tex, and gut out an 18- or 45-mile rain-soaked course that’s tempered by rest stops packed with Nossa Familia coffee, warm cider, and a finish-line party doused with Lucky Lab beer. February 13