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Skiers love dogs so it makes sense that each year ski resorts and mountain town hotels become more dog friendly. Cindy Hirschfeld, Aspen, Colorado, resident and author of Canine Colorado, a Colorado travel guidebook for dog owners says, “These days, dogs are certainly considered part of the family. And people want to include the whole family in their vacation.''
Hirschfeld points out that many mountain towns, like Stowe, Vermont, and Jackson, Wyoming, have very liberal leash enforcement, and that many communities like Aspen have cross-country trails with designated “poop loops,” where dogs are allowed to get a workout alongside their owners.
Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon both recently designated off-leash areas adjacent to their parking lots to accommodate owners who can’t stand to leave their pets at home (or are staying in hotels where dogs aren’t allowed to be left unattended). Perhaps the most dog-friendly of all resorts is Snowmass, Colorado, where dogs are allowed access to the entire mountain, even during operational hours, if leashed and accompanied by owners—good news for anyone who wants to earn their turns, and even better news for dogs. Here, Hirschfeld dishes on her favorite dog-friendly ski resorts, plus doles out some pro hacks to make travling with Fido go as smoothly as possible.
Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Village, Beaver Creek
If you left your dog at home but still crave canine companionship, the Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek has a pair of house Saint Bernards—Bachelor and a new Bernese Mountain puppy named Belle. The pair appear in the lobby every day from four to five for visiting, and Belle will be available for guests to take for walks this summer. Guest’s pets are welcome, too, with a $125 cleaning fee for the first three nights and an additional $25 thereafter. They are not allowed to stay in the room unattended.
Stowe Mountain Lodge
With a deeper snowpack than most western resorts, Stowe is the place for easterners to ski this winter. Dog owners should book the slopeside Stowe Mountain Lodge. The 300-room hotel has welcomed dogs since it opened in 2008. The hotel charges a one-time $125 cleaning fee, but provides a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a bag of treats for each canine guest. For recreation, the community’s most popular dog walk, Smuggler’s Notch road, is just a five-minute stroll from the hotel. Though dogs can’t be left unattended in the rooms, the concierge can arrange dog-sitting at a rate of $15/hour. When accompanying owners, however, dogs have a wide berth at the hotel. Especially popular is the upper lobby, where drinks and a bar menu are served. “You’ll see people with a plate of mussels by the fire, and their dog is lying right next to them,” says hotel spokesperson Leslie Kilgore.
Home to the aforementioned liberal uphill and dog policies, Snowmass is ski dog paradise. The best spot for Fido to stay is the Viceroy, slopeside at the resort. “It’s ridiculously pet friendly,” says Viceroy spokesman Campbell Levy, who brings his own 100-pound Bernese to stay in the hotel frequently. Dogs can stay in the room unattended, though Levy suggests you alert management and leave the do-not-disturb sign out when you do so. There is a one-time (per stay) charge of $150.00. Dogs are provided with a dog bed, leash, doggie bags, Viceroy Bandana, and a five-ounce bag of I Luv Liver treats. There are also water and food bowls provided in the rooms. If you can’t make it back in time to let your pup out for a walk, dog-walking is available via the concierge for an additional fee. Come summer, dogs are allowed in the Snowmass gondolas.
Like Stowe, Telluride is a dog town. There are groomed trails throughout the valley where dogs are allowed, and one of Telluride’s most popular dog-friendly winter hiking trails—the Jud Wiebe—starts just a few blocks from the Hotel Telluride. Dogs are allowed on city busses and even in the complimentary gondola from town to Mountain Village. There is a $50 cleaning fee (or $100 for two or more nights) for dogs, but they can be left unaccompanied in the rooms, and according to spokeswoman Amanda Acosta, if you don’t have a crate, the front desk is happy to keep your pooch with them while your room is being cleaned. “We’re happy to work with owners to make it work with pets,” she says. In addition, submit a photo of your dog at the hotel to the blog, and you can get a $20 rebate on your pet fee.
Inn at Keystone
The Inn at Keystone charges $25/night for dogs and welcomes them with a bag of treats and a copy of Fido Magazine. Pets can be left unattended in the room but must be leashed in the hallways and lobby. Don't miss "Yappy Hour,” which takes place in the lobby bar during afternoons—dogs are welcome to lounge by the fireplace while you graze on appetizers and drink cocktails. There are trails right behind the hotel and dogs are welcome on-mountain for uphill travel on a leash outside of operating hours.
The Little Nell, Aspen
Upon arrival at the posh Little Nell in Aspen, guests can register their pets and receive a brass identification tag stamped with the hotel's address and phone number. They’re also given a Little Nell leash, sanitary bags, pet wipes, food and water bowls, dog beds, pet menu selections (tenderloin of beef with scrambled eggs and brown rice or grilled salmon with carrots and brown rice is $12), a petiquette handbook of guidelines, recommended pet-friendly hiking trails and gourmet doggie biscuits. That all costs $100 with an additional $25 fee per additional night. Aspen is notably pet friendly, with dogs welcome in most shops, and on Buttermilk Mountain and Snowmass mountains, as well as several of the valley’s Nordic trails, including Labrador Lane at the Snowmass cross-country center and Bernese Boulevard at the Aspen Golf Course.
Limelight Hotel, Aspen
Upon check in at this hip hotel, dogs receive a leash, bone, collapsible dog bowl, bandana and their own Frisbee, available for use in Wagner Park, across the street in downtown Aspen. There is a $25 pet fee per night and dogs must steer clear of the lobby during the hotel’s famous breakfast buffet.
Heading to the slopes with your pooch? Hirschfeld offers a extra few tips.
How to Travel Happy with Your Dog
- Notify the hotel ahead of time to be sure you are booked into a pet-friendly room. If not, upon check-in, your reservation may be voided if all such rooms are already occupied.
- Bring a travel crate. Some hotels will only allow dogs to be left unattended if in their crate. Crating tends to keep dogs more quiet, and allows housekeeping to straighten up rooms without any fear of altercations.
- Look for nearby cross-country trails that allow dogs. A 30-minute skate ski is a quick way to tire a dog out before or after your own trip to the slopes.
- Slopeside lodging is ideal so you can pop in during the day to give the dog some relief.