Snow Dog: Powder Skiing with Paws

Bernese Mountain Dog Snow Mt. Baker

My dog loves to go to the mountain. She knows where we’re headed the night before as I lay out the gear. 6:15 AM rolls around and her paws dance across the hardwood floors, excited to hit the hour and twenty-minute drive.

We stop for breakfast at Maple Fuels before proceeding deeper into the North Cascades. Arriving at the mountain Lola jumps from her crate onto the growing snowbanks, hopping through pillows that surround the parking lot and chasing snowballs. The beauty of being about 3 feet tall is that most storms bring powder days for my friend. It doesn’t take much to tire her out so she recoups in the truck while I hit the slopes.

On a typical resort day, we repeat this process at lunch and after last chair then she sleeps during the drive home.

A video posted by @aaroncareaga on Nov 11, 2013 at 12:13pm PST

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Lola’s goal is to venture beyond the resort area this season. She’s warmed the paws on hikes throughout the fall and seems ready to step up her winter game. I’ve been apprehensive to bring her with the past few seasons because ski touring is tough. Planning, assessing risks, packing the right gear, and managing a group is very rewarding but not an easy task.

Do you ski with your dog? Any advice on gear, training, or personal experiences is much appreciated.

Her enthusiasm reminds me of my early days skiing. The anticipation, enthusiasm, adrenaline, and exhaustion that comes with a day in the mountains is universal. It’s easy to lose sight of these feelings as we age and obligations arise. But I am thankful I have Lola to keep me grounded.

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