Keystone's Avy Dogs aren't just cute. They also keep you safe.
Jackson, a golden retriever–German shorthaired pointer mix and a canine member of Keystone Resort’s ski patrol. —Photo courtesy of Ben Lindbloom
As most any single man will tell you, dogs are awesome conversation starters. That’s why, in part, Keystone Resort employs Annie, Zoey, Jackson, and Penny (who’s still training) on its ski patrol. “Families, kids, adults—who doesn’t enjoy interacting with a dog?” asks Mike Daly, assistant director of the Keystone Resort Ski Patrol. And when those adorable faces lure in unsuspecting resort visitors…boom! The dogs’ handlers—ski patrol members—hit them with Keystone’s safety and responsibility checklist. The message is always important, but especially in January, the National Ski Areas Association’s National Safety Month. Of course, Keystone’s dogs are more than just spokespups. Avy dogs are trained to ride in Flight For Life helicopters and find avalanche victims. (Depending on the breed, canine noses are 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than humans’.) After 15 years on the job, Keystone’s dogs have yet to be needed for a rescue. Still, Daly says, they have important roles—like being their lovable selves every Tuesday at 4 p.m., when Keystone holds its weekly Meet the Avy Dogs events inside the resort’s Kidtopia headquarters. Guests are more than welcome to ask questions of the handlers or, if they’d rather, provide vigorous belly scratches. (To the dogs, not the handlers.)