Ask an Expert: Travelling With Pets to Big White Ski Resort
We chatted with Mark, a travel blogger from Melbourne, Australia, about how he prepares for holidays with his bestie, Mya. Together, they form Mark and Mya’s Adventures, a blog and social profile dedicated to navigating international travel and outdoor escapades with a furry sidekick – while at the same time raising awareness and support for rescue organisations around the world.
Mya, a five-year-old purebred white shepherd, has been Mark’s sidekick on adventures to Hollywood, Las Vegas and Niagra Falls, to name a few. They first visited Big White last winter, and came back again this January because, as Mark says, they “love Big White.”
Opinions Sought What do you think makes a good family and pet friendly resort? ... Over the past three days, we have been exploring Big White. In our opinion, Big White is one of the most pet and family friendly resorts we have come across in North America. ... During our time here, we have gotten Mya a Big White Pet Pass, gone snow shoeing, ice skating, ice climbing (Mya stayed on the ground and supervised), skied the resort terrain, ridden the pet friendly gondola and Mya joined me for ski laps of Happy Valley Way (the only place in North America that has allowed this). ... If we have sparked your curiosity about Big White, we have previously written a blog on our website, about our last visit and will update it with new information shortly. ... Big White Meetup If you'd like to meet Mya and I, we will be at The Woods in The Big White Village at 7pm tonight (Wednesday 16th January 2019) for an hour. I'm told there will be heating and Mya tells me she would love to give away some free doggy hugs and kisses to anyone in Big White missing their own pups. I'll also be happy to tell you about any of our adventures and share any pet friendly travel tips that you might you be interested in. #NoPawGetsLeftBehind ... @SkiBigWhite #PetFriendly #DogsOfBigWhite #SkiBigWhite #Sponsored
“Mya experienced her first ride on a gondola there, it was the first time we ever skied together (along Happy Valley Way) and the first time I ever went ice climbing,” Mark says. “It is these memories that have us believing that Big White is the most pet-friendly ski resort in all of North America.”
Read the Q&A below to find out more about travelling to Big White with your pet:
Q: How do you choose a place to visit when you're considering bringing Mya?
A: There isn’t really anything special about this. I simply choose a place I would like to explore and then research how we are going to make it work.
Q: What are 5 essential items to pack when bringing a pet on a trip?
A: This really depends on where we are going and what we are doing, but in general:
Leash, poop bags (need to be respectful), dog food (always have an extra day in case something comes up), food and water bowl (we use a Ruffwear and Kurgo collapsible travel bowl), harness (this depends on where we are going – for city adventures I use an Atlas Pet Lifetime Harness which is designed to discourage Mya from pulling, whilst for more active adventures we use a Ruffwear Webmaster Pro Harness that has pockets for poop bags, water, Avalanche beacon etc.)
Q: Who do you need to speak to/where do you need to look to find out what vaccinations, paperwork, etc. your pet needs before visiting a new country?
A: This is different for every country. In Canada, it is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; the USA is the Centre For Disease Control; Mexico is the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores; and, in Australia, it is the Department of Agriculture. One of the easiest ways to find out is to contact your local pet transport company like Jet Pets and seek advice from them.
Q: Any tips on making the flight less stressful for your pet?
A: For the majority of cases, unless your pet is a service animal, they will have to fly in the animal hold. This is an area below the passenger cabin that is climate controlled (I’m told set to 18°C and has dim lighting to still allow your pet to see, but not be over stimulating and allow them to sleep). If this is the case they will need to be in a crate. Mya actually had more room in her crate than I did in economy class. My biggest tip would be to get this crate as early as possible and to get them comfortable spending time in it. That way when they do fly, it won’t be as stressful.
Q: How do you find dog sitters if you need to leave your pet at your hotel for an extended length of time?
A: This really depends on where we are. Some hotels and accommodation providers don’t mind you leaving your pet unattended. In saying this, people need to be responsible. A bored pet who is full of energy is likely to be destructive and people need to ensure that this is not the case. I find the internet an amazing resource. We share pet-friendly travel tips on our social media pages all the time and offer recommendations on pet-minding services when we find them.
Check out BigWhiteSitters.com for pet-sitting services at Big White Ski Resort.
Q: Is there anything pet owners should watch out for to make sure their animal is not sick/overwhelmed/overstimulated because they’re in a new place with new people?
A: Like people, this is going to be different for every dog. For Mya, if she isn’t feeling right, her ears are tilted back and her tail is between her legs. I think prevention is probably more important, though. I’m a huge advocate for socialising your pet in as many different environments as possible and believe we have better-behaved pets as a result. For the most part, Mya isn’t fazed if we are out in the mountains on an adventure, on a boat, in a city, at a hotel, shopping centre, museum, restaurant or at a school. This is because she has been exposed to these situations over and over again. It isn’t exciting for her to be in one of these places, because we regularly visit them and she regularly interacts with all kinds of people in these places. I think introducing them to these situations with positive reinforcement for positive behaviour will produce well-mannered and confident pets.
Q: What about Big White makes it easy for you to bring Mya on vacation with you?
This is easy. It’s so family friendly and has so many different opportunities. Chalets at Big White offer a variety of pet-friendly accommodation options. The resort has activities like Nordic Skiing and snowshoeing that Mya can join me on. Even going ice climbing was easy as I just tethered Mya’s lead to a sign next to the climbing tower and she was able to watch me. I’ve seen people also do this with the ice skating in Happy Valley. Big White’s pet-friendly gondola is a huge plus for us – ensuring there is easy access to the Big White Village from Happy Valley. Big White is also the only resort in Canada that has a trail that dogs can join you skiing and snowboarding down. In short, it’s the fact that Big White is so family friendly and, more than any other resort we have been to, understands that pets are members of the family, too.
Bringing your four-legged buddy to Big White Ski Resort? Check with Central Reservations to see if we have any pet-friendly accommodation available. If not, contact one of the other booking services on the mountain about their pet-friendly options:
- Chalets at Big White
- Rent Chalets
- Owner Direct
- Vacation at Big White Mountain
- Luxury Mountain Vacation Rentals
And, be sure to share the cuteness by tagging #DogsOfBigWhite on Instagram – your fur baby may just be featured in our Insta-Stories!