One of the most popular off-slope activities to pop up at mountain resorts in recent years is dog-sledding, and it’s easy to see why.
Unlike skiing and snowboarding, dog-sledding requires absolutely no skills, it’s open to people of all ages, and it offers a chance to bond with man’s best friend while away from home.
But what about people who prefer to hang with their own four-footed pals?
The good news for travelers who can’t leave home without Fido is that pooches are increasingly welcome at ski areas both on and off-season.
The Village at Squaw Valley is gearing up for its 5th annual Peaks and Paws Festival, set for Aug. 23.
To say that this is a dog-friendly event is an understatement. Activities range from a 10K Alpine trail run for humans and their dogs and a Fetch Fest – a timed ball retrieval contest – to a K9 Kings Flying Dog Show that features pups doing their best tricks. Guests and their pets can also join in a guided hike on the Granite Chief Trail, followed by Yappy Hour at the Lagunitas Beer Garden, complete with beer, wine and free dog treats.
Whitewater Ski Resort in British Columbia also goes canine crazy every year with a spring bash called the Dogstacle. The event ranges from a doggie parade to a chance for pups to compete in a specially designed obstacle course. If you like to dress your dog in costume, this one’s for you.
While not quite as over the top, some members of the Cross-Country Ski Areas Association have dedicated Nordic ski and snowshoe trails that pet owners can ski on with their dogs in winter, as long as the skiers keep the trails clean and, in some cases, keep their dogs tethered to them.
Kirkwood XC Ski area in California, which offers 15 km of dog trails, and the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic trail system, with 9 km of dog-friendly trails, are just a few examples.
As to pet-friendly mountain hotels, there are many. The Pan Pacific Whistler Village Center, for example, welcomes dogs year-round with treats, doggie dishes, the services of dog sitters and even backcountry adventure hikes with pets. Of course, as with most properties that welcome dogs, owners have to do their part by keeping their furry friends from damaging the guestrooms and away from off-limits areas, like the restaurants or pool.
Finally, let’s say you didn’t bring your pet but wish you had. The posh Triple Creek Ranch in Montana will take you on a gold-plated dog sledding adventure with Jessie Royer, a 12-time Iditarod Race finisher. Because of the sled dogs, horses and livestock on the ranch, you can’t bring your own dog, but guests can interact with the animals there. And to celebrate Royer’s next Iditarod race, the ranch is offering free dog sledding to its guests from Jan. 2 to 16, 2015.
This article has been corrected to reflect that Triple Creek Ranch is located in Montana and not Colorado as an earlier version stated.