Mountain towns have always been more welcoming to our pooches than other places.
Maybe it’s because more residents have dogs or maybe it’s because the people up there are more tolerant but whatever the reason, they are becoming even more welcoming than ever before.
Welcome to All at Vail
Bart and Yeti’s, a favorite watering hole of mine in the Lionshead area of Vail, has not only always welcomed dogs, they are legends there. Bart is said to have hung with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Nelson Rockefeller, and supposedly helped sire Henry Kissinger’s dog during a romantic evening with Gerald Ford’s dog, Liberty. Yeti lived a slightly more low-key lifestyle, but both dogs lived long and happy lives—and their legacy lives on as all dogs are still welcome at Bart and Yeti’s. As for lodging, in Vail, most places ranging from The Sebastian on the high end to the more reasonably priced Lift house Lodge directly above Bart and Yeti’s welcome and pamper your pets.
Go for a Ride at Breckenridge
Breckenridge, Colorado welcomes dogs even on the gondola. While no resort will allow lift riding by anything other than well trained rescue dogs, many resort gondolas are wide open for pooches, especially in the summer. Though dogs cannot swim or play in the Cucumber Gulch wetlands the Breck gondola soars over, they are welcome on every other town trail and can wander around the base of peaks 7 or 8 where the gondola drops them off. Dogs are allowed to ride the Telluride Mountain Village gondola, in Telluride, Co which also has the distinction of being one of the very few free rides, summer and winter for both of you. This gondola takes you both to and from the center of town up to the Mountain Village which is, as named, a village on top of the mountain.
Swag, Perks, and Pampering in New York
At Emerson Resort and Spa, near Belleayre Mountain in New York they have their very own dog park. Catamount Dog Park is a 60 foot wide by 100 foot long fenced in dog-park with a special section for small dogs, a doggy shower, and fresh running water. Their Woodnotes Grille offers selections like Unseasoned Chicken Breast, 8 oz., Grass Fed Burger Patties or a 12 oz. New York Strip Steak all for your pet. You can get these orders too but since I doubt the pup wants a baked potato with the works on it, yours might cost a bit more.
The town of Telluride sounds like doggie heaven and not just because of the gondola rides. There is a saying going around town that “There’s a dog for every resident. If you don’t have one, someone else has two.” At The Hotel Telluride puppy guests receive a flashlight dog clip, bandana and homemade dog cookies and also have a bed, bowl and dog toy version of the hotel’s mascot, Wilson waiting upon their arrival. They also donate ten percent of their pet fees to Second Chance Humane Society.
Even More Pampering at Aspen
You know they’ll make you both feel special in Aspen where everyone is a star. Not only can you bring your dog with you for that early, uphill hike before the lifts open on Snowmass Mountain but the Aspen-Snowmass Nordic Trail System also offers dog-friendly trails. Stay at The Little Nell which is probably the most popular and close to most expensive stay in town and you’ll get personalized brass ID tags (That’s for the dog, not you or the kids), pet menu selections, plush beds, a dog walking and sitting service and a jet-lag kit to help your pooch adjust to the altitude. I’m not sure what that kit entails but you might want to get one for yourself also.
Guess what? Even More Pampering at Park City
Any place called “Bark city,” has got to be dog friendly. Although the official name is Park City, Utah, you get the idea. Most of their resorts are very pet-friendly including The St. Regis Deer Valley, where they offer a pet bed, ceramic pet bowls and, get this: daily turndown service for your dog. You think that’s good, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Waldorf-Astoria Park City offers house-made dog treats engraved with your pets name just in case you’ve taught him or her to read and 25 minute in-room canine massages whether they can read or not.
Happy Trails at Whistler
Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada is the just about the biggest resort in North America and your dog is as welcome as you. With 18 miles of dog-friendly cross-country and snowshoe trails at Whistler-Olympic Park you can roam all day and still go into most of the shops in town together. In Vail, Colorado during the summer season, you can hike up Vail Mountain with your dog and then he or she can ride the gondola back down. I have hiked Vail Mountain in the summer and believe it or not, coming down is way harder, so you and your pet will appreciate that gondola ride down.
Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for ColoradoLocalLegends.com and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.