If the weather outside is frightful … get outdoors! We’ve rounded up three activities around the country that cold weather-loving pups and their people will love.
Snowshoeing is a great low-impact workout — and a perfect way to spend time with your dog. Unlike other cold-weather sports like skijoring, it doesn’t require any special skills from your dog.
While you’ll want to consider your dog’s stamina and cold tolerance, dogs of all shapes and sizes will happily snowshoe for hours alongside their owners. Make sure that your dog is protected from the elements before you head out, and keep an eye out for signs of fatigue, as walking and running through snow can be physically taxing.
Most groomed snow parks and hiking trails that are open to dogs are available for snowshoers and their pups. At Idaho’s Tamarack Resort, more than 9 miles of groomed trails are accessible to snowshoers seven days a week during the resort’s winter season, which runs from mid-December through the end of March.
Tip: A good harness or running leash can be invaluable for snowshoeing. If you don’t want to carry a leash with your mittened hands, try a hands-free leash that wraps around your waist
From Buck to Balto, there’s something magical about a sled dog. In this well-known winter sport, a team of six or more dogs, usually Alaskan Huskies, pull a sled carrying people or supplies over long distances. (In rural communities in Alaska, Canada and Greenland, the dogs are still used for everyday transportation!)
For your own taste of the sledding life, head to Whitefield, New Hampshire’s, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa where experienced musher Becki Tucker of Outlaw Ridge Sled Dogs brings her team of dogs for one-hour rides that include meet-and-greets and a primer on the sport.
Becki’s dogs are hardened competitors, having participated in events like the 250-mile Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Race, but you’d never know it the moment one gives you a friendly lick on the face!
Tip: You’ll want to wear proper winter gear, including waterproof snow pants, a jacket, hat and sturdy boots. The resort provides riders with goggles.
What was once a mode of transportation in Scandinavia is now a competitive sport that you can try with your dog, too! This rough-and-ready winter sport involves a person on skis pulled by a horse or a dog. While skijoring behind a horse can require pricey equipment (downhill skis and full boots and bindings are a must), skijoring with your dog requires nothing more than classic cross-country or touring skis, along with a specialized harness and towline. You’ll be strapped into a belt connected to your dog.
At Tabernash, Colorado’s, 6,000-acre Devil’s Thumb Ranch, you can get a taste of the sport with your own dog. The resort has a Nordic Center and numerous dog-friendly ski trails that are open daily during ski season, typically from December through April. The ranch also has cross-country ski equipment ($25) and skijoring rigs ($15) available for rental.
Tip: Basic knowledge of cross-country skiing is a must, and your pup should be healthy and weigh at least 35 pounds. Traditional cold-weather breeds like Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes excel at the sport, but one skijorer has seen everything from Poodles to Border Collies get in on the action.
Thumbnail: Photography ©lightpix | Getty Images.
Laura Ratliff is a writer specializing in travel, lifestyle and food. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, GQ, Bon Appétit and Condé Nast Traveler. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two dogs — Iggy, an 11-year-old Brussels Griffon, and Kate, a rescued 2-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!