Let’s get one more snow story in before the big melt. Last time we recommended Mont Tremblant in Canada as a great ski spot for doggie fun. I want to tell you about the best doggy ski place we know- and honestly it’s not a quick or cheap trip- but Zermatt, Switzerland is IT for snow fun with dogs. It’s about the European attitude toward dog companions, which is basically that dogs are companions, so they go everywhere.
Nobody says anything when you and your dog ride the gondola. (“But of course the dog must ride the gondola, does anybody expect him to walk up the big hill?”) In fact, at the tops of the highest peaks, the St. Bernards are hanging out waiting for their pictures to be taken until they have to go save somebody.
Nobody says anything negative when you and your dog go out to dinner or want to stop in for a chocolate and brandy in a café. “Well naturally the dog can’t sit out in the cold and he may want a brandy too. These American dogs get cold easily. Here have a sausage, doggy."
Hard to get there, Yes! You fly to Geneva, take two trains (a regular and a mini) to Zermatt, and then you find an electric cart to get you and your luggage and skis (that you have dragged the whole way) and your puppy to the lodging. Has it been easy to drag the ski equipment along too? Oh, it’s been a killer. (You could send them ahead, but they might get lost. You could rent in Zermatt, but it slows you down and costs a lot.)
Expensive? Yes and yes. This is Switzerland and a primo resort. Expect to bleed money.
Can you save money doing this? Yes, perhaps, if you shop for flights, and take a zillion friends with whom to share the condo- and if you cook humble food for yourselves. Which would be cool.
Remember, economic downturn or not, life goes on, human striving goes on and you can save up for what you want. Don’t diminish your expectations because of scary news reportage.
Is it even worth it? Oh a million times over, it is. The doggy is a full citizen who is respected, appreciated and served in restaurants. The slopes are steep and powdery and the scenery is glorious. You are in the crystal snow fields of the Alps.
Do dogs like going on journeys like this. Hmm. Did Raja like leaping in Alpine snow fields, snacking on gorgeous fattening fondue, and running safely in the ultra-clean, soft packed snow of the car-less streets of the village. And did he enjoy being petted by Olympians of the world in the ice cave beneath the peak of the Gornergrat? Oh yes he did.
Courrage mes amis, life is for adventures!