But Vail- the snow is always powder, the bowls are transcendental, spring skiing past the red rocks is ethereal- what’s not to rave about?
Some big dogs work at Vail. If you get caught in an avalanche, dogs will sniff you out and hopefully dig you out. How wonderful to see that black nose pushing the snow away! You can mush your own dog sled too, but make sure the dogs you are given are healthy and fit. (Some dog sledding operations have been exposed for abuse, so keep your eyes open and report any suspicions.)
Vail is very dog friendly; you can even take your dog for a beer and a bowl of water to the deck of the pub at the bottom of the Vista Bahn Express. Bart and Yetti’s restaurant will let your well behaved dog inside. Yes, that restaurant is named after the owner’s dogs. The food is rustic, but the staff are friendly and isn’t it nice to eat with your dog by your side? (Oh you do at home, no big deal. OK) The Bully Ranch Restaurant also takes dogs; the menu is Western-style steaks, wings and burgers. (Dogs love that, and it's conveniently close to the Vail Valley Medical Center- a place I know well, alas.) Many hotels allow dogs. My favorite is The Antlers condos- dog friendly, off the beaten track but close and always cozy- and near Bart and Yetti's. (And no, we get no kickbacks.)
Raja and I have seen big dogs- Huskies, Chows, Goldens and Malamutes sitting patiently in snow banks outside elegant restaurants in Lionshead (the posh district to the west in Vail) off leash and serene, waiting for owners dining inside. Don’t try this unless you can trust your dog to stay, and even then, hmmm, maybe just don’t do it. It looks wrong, doesn’t it? Or is it only me? (We also saw a Shih Tzu sitting in a snow bank outside a pub in Tremblant, Canada, but that doggy was seriously cold.) If you’re going to leave your pup outside, make sure the pup is massive and furry enough to handle it.
Returning to Vail- and I hope we do this upcoming spring- if you have a big dog and want to go, the deals should be huge this year. Maybe you can fly doggy to Denver, rendezvous in the airport, drive to Vail and have an unparalleled vacation in one of he top 10 ski mountains in the world. (If you rent a car for the ride, rent a solid one. On one trip up the big hill we were suddenly socked in by a storm and many cars had to be dragged off the side of the road 5 hours later.) And if you have a small doggy under 15 lbs, book him in cabin and fly direct!