Snow Paws: Winter Sports with Fido

Posted by Billy Francis

When Fido sees snow, he can’t help but wag his tail. Catching snowballs and playing in a winter wonderland is fun, but did you know there’s even more fun to be found when the weather outside is delightful? This year, don’t let the cold season pass without taking up a winter sport with your pooch. Check into a pet-friendly ski resort and check out these snow-filled adventures that you can enjoy with your best friend.

Skijoring

“Is it break time yet?” Photo by Facebook.com/devilsthumbranch

Skijoring is a sport in which a cross-country skier is pulled by a dog, or several dogs. Active pups of all breeds can participate, and most animals over 35 lbs are capable of pulling an average-sized skier. If you’d like to give it a try, Louisa Morrissey of High Country Dogs offers private lessons in the snow-covered Colorado Rockies. She also hosts workshops at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a featured attraction in our 2021 Ruff Guide to the United States and one of the best spots where Fido can try his paw at skijor. The season generally runs from December through March.

Stay where you play at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, a luxury resort with some of the best Nordic trails in North America. Each four-legged guest receives a dog bed, homemade treat, and leash to use while exploring the 6,000-acre property.

Cross-Country Skiing

“Don’t let the Gondola go without us!” Photo by Breckenridge Nordic Center

If Fido prefers to run free rather than pulling his weight and yours, cross-country skiing is the sport for him. While dogs may not be allowed to tumble down most black-diamond slopes by your side, they can join you off-leash while you glide along on a cross-country (or Nordic) trail. Before you strap on your skis, however, make sure that your pup has good recall skills and is physically up to the challenge. Just as cross-country skiing is an endurance exercise for humans, it can be quite a workout for your best friend.

Fortunately, there's no shortage of idyllic destinations where and your furry powder enthusiast can try this timeless winter sport. The Breckenridge Nordic Center in Breckenridge, CO, is one of our favorite destinations to cross-country ski with your dog. Canines are welcome for no extra charge on the 1.2-kilometer Nordic World trail, and they even offer a skijoring basics clinic if you want to take your winter sport to the next level.

After conquering the trails, enjoy a well-deserved rest at The Lodge at Breckenridge. Furry guests are welcomed with a treat at check-in.

Snowshoeing

“This is the easiest sport I’ve ever tried!” Photo by Julie Anne Moore

For a slower pace, trek through a winter wonderland on a snowshoeing adventure. Your cold-weather canine might need a jacket, shoes and warm clothing to comfortably enjoy a hike through the snowy landscape. Once you’re both wrapped up warm, stride out on one of the many pet-friendly snowshoe trails across the United States.

Bear Notch Ski Touring Center in New Hampshire offers visitors the chance to enjoy riverside romps with pristine waterfalls along the way, leisurely hikes through pretty meadows, and challenging uphill ascents. Dogs and their owners in the Southwest can head to Arizona Nordic Center from mid-December through mid-April and stomp along the varied pathways.

Alternatively, you can reserve a pet-friendly winter cabin and carve out your own path through the woods with your best friend by your side.

Kicksledding

“One of us has to make the first move.” Photo by @inkdrags

You don’t need a team of Huskies to pull you through the snow on a sleigh. Dogs over 35 lbs provide around 50 percent of the power you need to embark on a kicksled adventure. Considered to be a more accessible version of regular dog sledding, this “pawsome” activity requires human and canine power to make it where you’re heading. This Seeley Slider Wooden Dog Sled Wood Kicksled is a great starter sled for beginners. Get out on the sled by yourself first and get a feel for it before inviting your pup to join in the fun. He'll need a kicksled harness that evenly distributes weight so he can pull the sled with ease.

The best conditions for kicksledding are on trails of packed ice and snow. You’ll find conditions like this in Alaska for almost half the year. As well as being home to one of our favorite pet-friendly hiking trails, Winner Creek Trail, Girdwood is also awesome for kicksledding. Take flight along the sidewalks or head farther off the beaten path to Moose Meadow to practice.

When you and Fido can kick no more, spend the night at this cozy Girdwood chalet.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Life’s “ruff.” Photo by Linda Segerfeldt

The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best pet-friendly activities across the country in our new book - Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Pre-order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code SPORTS.

What’s your favorite winter sport with your dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by Facebook.com/skijornmore.