Beaver Creek Gets Dog-Friendly

June 13 2012, 9:30 AM

Beaver Creek is known for luxe skiing, exclusivity (it's a gated resort) and dog prohibition. Canines weren't allowed at village events, and greeters at the gates actually sniffed out stowaways and prevented them from getting carted across the "border.”

“People used to talk about hiding their dogs under blankets in the car on the way in,” says Robert Purdy, general manager of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. So when he took the helm at the Hyatt a year and a half ago, he sought to change the anti-dog policy not just at the Hyatt, but village-wide.

Part of his motivation was to keep up with the Joneses. Aspen, for example, “is very pet-friendly,” Purdy acknowledges. And when the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch opened in 2002, it welcomed dogs with “pampered pup” doggie massages and a resident Saint Bernard.

“We were getting tons of requests to allow dogs,” says Purdy, who repeatedly heard complaints that other destinations were more accommodating to pets than his own. When negotiating with town managers, he claimed that banning dogs was costing the resort traffic and tourist dollars.

When Purdy campaigned to soften some of the rules, he was surprised to discover that dogs weren’t (technically) as verboten as everyone believed. “Beaver Creek has permitted dogs within the community dating back to the resort’s opening in 1981,” says Tim Baker, executive director of Beaver Creek Resort Company. But to protect local wildlife—and maybe just to keep poop off the bike paths—dogs were discouraged. Homeowners had to purchase a $15 license, and visitors paid $25 (assuming they could find dog-friendly lodging, which was scarce). 

But last fall saw a change at Beaver Creek. “We softened our dog policy as a result of recognizing that nowadays families consider pets to be a part of the family and travel with their pets to destinations,” says Baker.

Dog-owners must still register Fido at the gate (for free) and learn about safe wildlife practices. But now, says Baker, “Beaver Creek Resort offers a warm welcome to all members of the family, including the furry, four-legged type.” Several Beaver Creek properties are considering a reversal of their no-dog policies.

And this is the first summer that the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek will offer the same dog-friendly amenities common at other Hyatt properties: Visiting canines can enjoy plush dog beds, house-baked treats, and Frisbee games on the lawn bordering the lifts. “For the first time,” says Purdy, “Dogs will be welcome at the Fridays at the Park events,” which offer live music, pony rides, and other family-friendly activities. He adds, “Having dogs here adds a unique and fun vibe to a great destination.”