With snow finally flowing in Lake Tahoe, snow sport enthusiasts flock to the mountains to catch up on some much needed skiing. Though some dogs prefer lounging by the fire to romping in the snow, a weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe, whether you prefer North Lake or South Lake, is the perfect opportunity to show your outdoorsy pooch a good time while still getting your ski fix.
Although you won’t be able to race your dog down the slopes at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadow, there are several resorts in the area that allow dogs to accompany their owners for cross country skiing. For just $4 a pup, dogs are welcome on the Blue and Special Green Trails at Tahoe XC, and surprisingly, allowed off leash except for at the trailhead and in the parking lot.
Other resorts such as nearby Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley offer dog-friendly cabin rentals and rustic trails for skiing and snowshoeing. Kirkwood Ski Resort also has a cross country trail system that permits dog. Purchase a season doggy pass for just $20!
Get Your Skijor On
Skijoring (cross country skiing while attached at the waist to a harnessed dog) continues to grow in popularity in the Lake Tahoe area, with gorgeous destinations like Fallen Leaf Lake, Kiva Beach and Echo Lakes providing scenic routes for both two and four-legged friends. However, some places such as Tahoe XC and Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort have banned skijoring due to repeated complaints from other trail users.
Want to give skijoring a shot with your pup? A dog must be at least 30 pounds and in good health to participate. Unfortunately, not all dogs will comply–it largely depends on the demeanor and breed of the dog. Herding dogs (i.e. Australian Shepherds and Border Collies), northern breeds (i.e. Siberian and Alaskan Huskies) and pulling breeds (i.e. American Bull Dogs and Mastiffs) are known to take to the sport, though any energetic mutt is capable of participating. Proper equipment includes a dog harness, waist belt, a cord to attach the two and cross country skis.
The majority of the land within the Lake Tahoe Basin belongs to the National Forest Service, who thankfully allow leashed dogs almost anywhere, with the exception of designated swimming beaches and restricted areas for wildlife protection. Some local favorites for easy winter access include the trails in Kahle Open Space and Grass Lake Meadow. Never hesitate to consult Google–you are bound to find a great dog-friendly area to explore within 10 minutes of wherever you might be staying in Tahoe.
As with all activities with your dog, safety is essential. Check your dog’s paws for painful snow clumps or equip him with booties (I recommend Ruff Wear‘s) to prevent snow build up and slipping. Dogs with short hair should wear outer protection, too. And finally, don’t forget to carry snacks and water for both humans and hounds. So bundle up, pack wisely and don’t let the snow deter you from bringing your furry friend on your weekend retreat to Tahoe.
For a list of dog-friendly lodges in the Lake Tahoe area, click here.