Last updated on March 23 2021
A guest article by Jane Frith of AbFab Travels
My mother-in-law, now in her 80s, often looks back fondly to when she and her partner went RV skiing all across Europe in the 1990s. The RV of choice at the time was a second hand, fairly basic VW campervan. She recalls reaching for a drink of water at the side of her bed in the middle of the night only to find it had frozen solid!
Our turn to try RV skiing came more recently. We had moved temporarily to Canada and whilst there, bought our own RV – a 28 foot Class C motorhome. It has double glazed windows, an enormous, built-in propane tank, a very effective furnace, heated tanks, excellent insulation and every mod con you could wish for in a motorhome. We have since used it to tour ski resorts in North America for whole seasons. We absolutely love it.
Despite the fact that our RV is rated “four-season” and very well equipped for winter, we still have to trick the hell out of it to make it stand up to the temperatures in places like Whistler and Colorado. We have experienced overnight temperatures of -30 C on several occasions and in our first season made all manner of mistakes. We decided to use the cab area, closed off from the habitation area for insulation, as storage. The beer froze and the potatoes turned to solid blocks of ice. We also endured frozen water pipes more than once, but fortunately, managed to avoid the dreaded poopsicles!
We have since learned how to avoid these pitfalls, but it requires planning and work. We close off the cab with insulating foam boards, put extra insulation on the windows both inside and out, have an electric radiator on a thermostat and about a mile of heat tape strategically placed around all the water pipes. Every possible draught area is plugged. I can honestly say that the inside of our RV is very cozy and warm.
We always search out winterized campsites so that we have access to water and an electric hook up. It is possible to manage without these for a couple of nights, but I like my home comforts. On our travels, we have met many like-minded people who love RV skiing and we always share experiences and tips for getting the best out of the RV in arctic conditions.
I love RV skiing. It allows us to tour several ski resorts in a season and experience all different kinds of terrain. With multi-resort ski passes readily available now, using an RV allows us to make maximum use of them. In our last season, we visited 14 different ski resorts across three states over a period of about 10 weeks.
And my mother-in-law? She still has that same VW Campervan and still skis (yes, really!) but she prefers to stay in a mountain chalet these days. She loves to hear about our RV skiing, but I think she is secretly proud of those nighttime cups of ice!