Every dog has its day

Every dog has its day

We’ve all heard the horror stories, or maybe experienced the horror ourselves.

You’re out, galavanting in the backcountry with your two and four-legged best friends, when disaster strikes. While enjoying the spoils of a well-earned hike, an errant ski tip clips the leg or paw of your powder hound. Or maybe it’s not quite as grisly, and Fido just poops out before you can make it back to the trailhead.

Aside from the weight of all that guilt, you’re forced to shoulder 40 pounds of wet fur while navigating treacherous terrain. It’s enough to put anyone in the doghouse.

But now, Carbondale resident Paul Hoskinson has a solution: the Fido Pro Airlift. Hoskinson, a former pro skier and avid backcountryist, came up with the idea after his own beloved pooch, Remi, was clipped by a ski during a spring tour on Independence Pass in the spring of 2017.

"The inevitable finally happened. It was a real nightmare," Hoskinson told Powder magazine.

Fortunately, Hoskinson was able to fit 3-year-old Remi in his pack and get her to the vet in time. But, he was determined to create a solution for if and when the unthinkable happens to our furry friends in the backcountry.

When an internet search turned up no options, he tapped into his own ingenuity. He spent about six months tinkering with various designs and prototypes, before the Fido Pro Airlift was born. The lightweight dog sling (think doggy lifevest with straps) can be worn much like a backpack to carry dogs out of bad situations. Weighing a mere 10.5 ounces, Hoskinson believes it’s light enough for anyone who adventures with their dog into the backcountry to stuff into their emergency kit.

"Whether you're hiking in the summer or skiing in the winter with your dog, it's the owner's responsibility to be prepared for the worst," he says.

Of course, the other option is just to leave Fido home on the couch. Hokinson acknowledges this, but argues no matter how controversial, people will continue to give into those puppy dog eyes and adventure with their dogs.

"People are going to ski with their dogs. I'm going to ski with my dog. You can object to it, but dogs live for skiing,” he told Powder.

The pack, which is made in Colorado using U.S. made materials, retails for $69.95 and is available at www.fidoprotection.com. In coming months, Hoskinson hopes to expand sales to stores in Colorado, Utah, Montana and Wyoming.