Pet adoptions famously spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, with many shelters running entirely out of adoptable dogs. Having grown even more attached to our furry friends while working from home during the pandemic, it stands to reason we are going to want them around while on a ski trip, too.
According to Big Sky Resort, reservations for dog-friendly accommodations have nearly doubled this season. Fortunately, ski-town properties are also notoriously pet-owner friendly, too—at Aspen’s Little Nell, for example, according to concierge Carol Hooper, a few years ago some guests decided to leave their dogs at the hotel while they set off on a weekend camping trip. They asked the hotel to arrange for a full-time dog sitter, purchase a baby crib for the pampered pups to inhabit, and left some very specific culinary instructions: The rice, chicken, and carrot meals were to be cut into quarter-inch by quarter-inch cubes, with none touching another, and the food was always to be presented on a linen towel.
Upon the guests return, says Hooper, “the guests were very happy, as were the dogs.”
We can’t vouch for all of these hotels offering quite that level of service—why wouldn’t you take your dogs camping, anyway?—but here’s our curated selections of the best ski-town hotels to check into when you have your dog along in town.
Knob Hill Inn, Sun Valley, Idaho
Ketchum is home to one of the world’s largest dog parks—65 acres of open space along Warm Springs creek just two miles from Sun Valley’s River Run base area. That, plus dozens of miles of groomed, dog-friendly Nordic trails, and several pet-friendly hotels, make Ketchum a must for anyone who can’t leave the pups at home.
Our favorite is the Knob Hill Inn, a 29-room gem just a mile from the Ketchum Dog Park and a five-minute stroll from the deck at Grumpy’s, the town’s most pup-friendly tavern. When dogs check in to Knob Hill, they’ll be issued a pair of locally handmade dog dishes, along with a five-inch dog biscuit and travel tags with the hotel’s contact info. Front desk staff keep a stash of treats behind the desk and are always happy to let good dogs hang out with them in the lobby while owners are on the slopes. [$50 per night, per pet fee, two-dog per room maximum]
Big Sky Resort, Mont.
For skiers with pets, there’s nothing better than slopeside lodging in order to take a few runs and then loop back for a quick dog walk. Big Sky’s Huntley Lodge is the rare ski-in/ski-out pet-friendly hotel, just steps from the Explorer 2 lift. Four legged guests are greeted with an in-room dog bed and souvenir Big Sky dog dish. The resort also donates $5 of the $25 nightly pet fee to the local Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter. To let Fido run off leash, head six miles downvalley to the dog-friendly Town Center Loops, 15K of groomed Nordic trail in Big Sky Town Center. This summer, Big Sky is renovating and upgrading the 3-star Huntley, built in 1973, though it will remain one of ski country’s most affordable slopeside options. [$25 nightly pet fee]
Limelight, Snowmass, Colo.
All three Limelight Hotels—Aspen, Snowmass, and Ketchum, Idaho—welcome pets, but Limelight Snowmass is our favorite because of its slopeside location. Built in 2018, the four-star Snowmass Limelight’s bright, comfortable décor extends to your pup. Call ahead to reserve dog bowls and a choice of three different sized memory foam dog beds. Aspen-Snowmass is a famously dog-friendly operation, welcoming dogs on Snowmass trails until 8:30 am for those who want to get a bit of uphill exercise in before the lifts start spinning. Or check out the 5K Labrador Loop at the Snowmass Nordic Center, where pups can run off-leash. [$30 per pet nightly fee]
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Paw House Inn, Killington, Vt.
Most pet-friendly hotels will charge you a fee to lodge your dog, but at Vermont’s Paw House Inn, they’ll charge you $10 if you show up without one. Just 15 minutes to the lifts at Killington, and 30 minutes to Okemo, the 10-room Paw House Inn was founded in 2001 by a pair of dog lovers who wanted to make their Inn comfortable first and foremost for canine guests. To wit, the hotel features a separate 1,200-square foot playhouse where pups can lounge while you hit the slopes or dinner in town, and from 10 am to 4 pm, staff will play with your dog in the playhouse or in the half-acre, fenced yard replete with agility equipment. [No pet fee]
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Fireside Lodge, Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Just 15 minutes from Heavenly’s base area, the 10-room Fireside Lodge may be more partial to canine guests than human ones. “We never had a dog that smoked in bed and set fire to the blankets,” says owner Steve Carta, “or got drunk and broke up the furniture.” A pair of lodge dogs, Mumu and Maxwell, greet guests and can show the way on dozens of miles of trail right from the property, including a mile-long walk to South Lake Tahoe beaches, open to dogs all winter. For pet-friendly après, check out the patio at McP’s Taphouse, which features fire pits, heat lamps, and 40 beers on tap. [$35 nightly fee plus $15 for each additional dog]
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The Little Nell, Aspen, Colo.
Adjacent to Aspen’s Silver Queen Gondola, The Little Nell may be ski country’s premiere pet friendly lodging. Upon check in at the Little Nell, dogs receive their own welcome kit—a Little Nell branded leash, and peanut butter dog chews made in-house by the pastry chef. In the room, they’ll cozy up on dog beds and lap from silver bowls, not to mention order from the pet menu featuring ground beef or salmon with carrots, brown rice, and scrambled eggs.
At the five-star Nell, though, it truly is a dog’s life, from walks from the concierge, to dog sitters, to, apparently, baby crib accommodations and pre-cut meat. Dogs are permitted for uphill travel at Buttermilk, and on the 5K Bernese Boulevard at the Aspen Nordic Center. For an even bigger adventure, wind your way down valley on the Rio Grande Trail beside the Roaring Fork River, where 29 of 31 kilometers of trail are open to pets on leashes. [$125 initial pet fee, plus $25 each additional night]