Dog doing all the work. Photo Credit: Randi Hausken (CC)
Easy access to places you can hike, sled, ski and snowshoe without paying a fee can be hard to come by in snowy weather—unless you take advantage of the California Sno-Parks program, which provides access to plowed parking areas in 18 locations in the Sierra Nevada, most in the Tahoe Basin. Daily permits, $5, or seasonal permits, $25, are available online or from vendors in the Bay Area, at Tahoe and along the Interstate 80 and Highway 50 corridors. Rosey is allowed to romp at any Sno-Park area, although officially, she must be on a leash.
Many leashed dogs have a tendency to pull, which can make walking on icy paths, roads or sidewalks a precarious endeavor. Avoid slips and falls by equipping your boots with a traction device like Stabil Icers, which slip over the soles of your footwear and act like studded tires for your feet. They come in two versions, with the highly rated “Lite” model priced at $21.95 at REI.
It’s difficult to comply with leash laws when you have hiking or snowshoe poles in your hands, but these days, there are all sorts of way to stay tethered to your dog hands-free. We’re partial to the Umbilical Belt, a sturdy, Velcro-adjusted waistband with a swivel loop to which one or more dog leashes can be attached. You retain full use of your arms (and avoid shoulder strain) while your pup walks in front or to the side of you. Users say the device feels supportive to the lower back and makes walking or running with a dog a more pleasant experience.