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RV Travel through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado & California

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone,

 

I have two months off from Mid November to mid Jan and I was thinking about flying over to LA (from Sydney) and hiring an RV and then travelling through Utah, Wyoming and Colorado sampling some of the ski resorts.

 

If I do this I will probably get either the Mountain collective pass or the monarch "one planet one pass" pass (Or any other suggestions welcome).

 

My main concern is will I be able to park the RV near the slopes/towns or will I get fined? Has anyone done anything similar previously?

 

I am an advanced skier with all my own gear. Any suggestions very much welcome...

 

Thanks heaps in advance,

 

Charlie

post #2 of 26

Well, if you're flying into LA, you'd better check out Mammoth on your way out of the state! They do have an RV park in town there, so you can avoid getting a ticket rolleyes.gif. Can't speak for any of the other places.

 

Mammoth is part of the mountain collective for next season.

post #3 of 26

Welcome to EpicSki!

 

I'm not familiar with the Monarch pass, but I've heard good things about Monarch. 

 

As for RV'ing, I think there are good options to stay in most ski towns, but I'm not a RV type ski bum so I'm not familiar with those locations. 

post #4 of 26

I am a long time RVer-Skier and i am currently staying in my built for the Canadian winter truck camper and skiing Lake Louise. Once the ski season is over I will be starting a RVer-Skier thread offering tips and tales.

 

I also plan on starting a thread listing ski resorts and their compatibility for RVs. So for now for the OP:

Mammoth Lakes has a year round camp ground, kinda pricey at $50/night and they do not allow the use of electric space heaters. They do have a hot tub and are on or near the shuttle bus route to the skiing.

 

The 24 hour Walmart in Sandy Utah allows overnight RVs and is about  20 min. from Snowbird. A tire store up the road fills propane tanks.

 

Generally speaking, overnight parking at auto repair places, some bars or pulling into a small business lot after they close and leave before they open usually works for me.

post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

I am a long time RVer-Skier and i am currently staying in my built for the Canadian winter truck camper and skiing Lake Louise. Once the ski season is over I will be starting a RVer-Skier thread offering tips and tales.

 

I also plan on starting a thread listing ski resorts and their compatibility for RVs. So for now for the OP:

Mammoth Lakes has a year round camp ground, kinda pricey at $50/night and they do not allow the use of electric space heaters. They do have a hot tub and are on or near the shuttle bus route to the skiing.

 

The 24 hour Walmart in Sandy Utah allows overnight RVs and is about  20 min. from Snowbird. A tire store up the road fills propane tanks.

 

Generally speaking, overnight parking at auto repair places, some bars or pulling into a small business lot after they close and leave before they open usually works for me.

Many Wal Marts still have this available. In many smaller towns you are allowed to stay in their parks overnight when traveling through.  A number of RV dealers have overnight spots too; talk to them.  Many Elks and Eagles lodges have RV facilities if you are a member (and often a cheap friendly bar).  

 

DanoT, having spent 30+ years in the RV industry and winter traveled more than a little, I am looking forward to your new thread.  Will be very interested to see what you have learned.  Did you learn the flower pot trick?

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Many Wal Marts still have this available. In many smaller towns you are allowed to stay in their parks overnight when traveling through.  A number of RV dealers have overnight spots too; talk to them.  Many Elks and Eagles lodges have RV facilities if you are a member (and often a cheap friendly bar).  

 

DanoT, having spent 30+ years in the RV industry and winter traveled more than a little, I am looking forward to your new thread.  Will be very interested to see what you have learned.  Did you learn the flower pot trick?

I'm not sure what a flower pot trick is, but I have used a clay flower pot, turned upside down on a stove burner as a make shift heater.

 

How about the Pam trick? Anyone know what that is?

post #7 of 26

Be sure to investigate the price of renting (hiring) an RV. My husband and I were going to do a couple of months and were dismayed at the expense. Actually more than nightly hotel stays. You'd have to figure a car rental into that, but you may be surprised at how much it is.

post #8 of 26

Only place I know of in terms of RVSs is Breck. The only place to stay in town there is the satellite lot and pay for a 5 dollar a night permit. If you move over to Frisco and just utilize the buses you have more options. My friend had his camper van break down in a parking lot he was staying in for about 2 months and as long as he occasionally checked in with the people so they new it wasn't abandoned they were fine with it.  

post #9 of 26
I would just buy a used camper van with heat and sell it when you leave. I wouldn't try to use water or the head.
Lot's of hot tubs to poach in Aspen and I think you could crash in some residential areas for night or to.
Definitely get the Mt. Collective and follow the snow.
post #10 of 26

Are you familiar with winter camping? Most RV's do not have usable water systems in the winter, as the pipes are not within the heated cabin and will freeze and burst.  Even in RV units where the piping is within the heated space, it is still a LARGE risk to use RV plumbing in winter- Keep in mind that you will only have cab heat during your drive, which may not be enough to keep water lines from freezing in the back of the RV during mountain winters.

 

A forced air furnace will also take a toll on battery life if not plugged in- you can drain your coach battery easily overnight on a cold night just from running the furnace, leaving you with no heat at 5 AM... Walmart may let you park, but they may also have issue with you running a generator while parked.

 

Being truly self- contained in Winter is a difficult prospect.

 

We do the ski camping thing, in an old HI-LOW trailer. Its an older one with a hand-pump sink, which works well for winter as the fresh water jug stays under the sink (heated), and the sink drains straight to the outside- no tank.

 

We stay in RV parks that stay open through the winter, and use their shower and bathroom facilities. The costs are reasonable, usually $30-$40 per night.  Our trailer has a stout furnace, and we also bring some plug in portable heaters to run off mains power.  

 

I've also done the ski camping thing in a 25' C-class. The C-Class would burn a LOT of propane to stay heated- a 3 day weekend would burn through most of the propane in the tank (Note- it can be a real pain to find somebody to fill an RV propane tank out on the road- the process is different than a standard 40 lb bottle, and many people that sell propane won't be able to fill an RV.) Another reason to bring alone portable heaters- You pay for your propane, but if you are at an RV park, the electricity you use is included, and electric heaters will help fill in the drafty areas of your RV.

 

One nice thing about doing this in a motorhome- many ski areas don't allow overnight camping. The solution is to stay in the nearest RV park, get up at 7:00, unplug and fire up the RV, drive up to the front row of the ski area lot, park and go grab another hour's sleep while having secured rockstar parking.

post #11 of 26

It's possible if the RV has been winterized or weatherproofed - the water system and waste systems are the two most prone to freeze. There is an RV park just outside the town of Breckenridge that provides full hookups for motorhomes in winter IIRC. (Tiger Run RV Resort). The free bus system around Breck is convenient to get to and from the lifts.

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by asp125 View Post

It's possible if the RV has been winterized or weatherproofed - the water system and waste systems are the two most prone to freeze.

 

My post got long, so I didn't spell out one solution to this- Get a couple of the big blue 7 gallon (or whatever they are water jugs). Put one on the kitchen counter, and another by the toilet, and use this for drinking/cooking water and water to flush the toilet.  Pour a gallon or so of RV antifreeze into the waste tank (or each tank if you have a black and grey water tank). Even if the waste tank freezes, it shouldn't damage anything.

 

The only issue with doing this is you need to have the waste tank warm enough to be unfrozen to drain it- hopefully you put enough antifreeze in, or you go down enough in elevation to get warm enough.

 

Of course, this is still a pretty large pain, which is why I lean towards an RV park and just not dealing with water in the winter.

post #13 of 26

The list is endless Aussie, for ways to make this work.  Bottom line is that winter RVing can be a PITA!  It can also be a lot of fun.  At the best of times carry a lot of tools cause it is a participation way to travel.  If you have not RV'ed try it in your region first before you commit to it for next winter; not saying don't do it, just saying try it first.

How the water system is constructed makes all of the difference.  An internal fresh water tank essential, with a heat duct going to it is extremely desirable.  Basement construction with the holding tanks enclosed (and heated) is great, but still recommend rock salt or RV antifreeze into them to help avoid the probable.  PEX water systems, the red and blue lines, is great stuff; they can take amazing freeze ups and not break.  

 

Batteries are like money, imposable to have too much of that stuff.  Check them often for water, most battery lives are cut short by charging with a low water level.  Gels if you can afford them are very nice.  Ceramic heaters work very well in an RV for auxiliary heat, safe and small. ....................  Lots of things you can do if you need to. Good luck.

post #14 of 26
post #15 of 26

Anachronism covered most of the bases on the difficulty of RV'ing in the winter.  The RV's you see parked in RV camps in the winter usually have been heavily winterized, skirted, heat-taped, and are not set up to move quickly.  I just upgraded to a newer class C, and it has heated holding tanks.  Still, I wouldn't chance having it out on the road in the middle of winter in sub-zero conditions.  Heated is not the same as insulated.  If the temp drops below about 30 F, bad things can happen.  Winter camping is very hard on batteries, and you'd be running the generator all the time.  These things are pigs on slippery roads, and I'm sure the OP probably doesn't have much experience driving big rigs on snow if he's from OZ.

 

If it were practical, you'd see parking lots full of RV's, but other than a few nice spring weekends, I've never seen too many of them in the ski lots.  I've had motorhomes since 2001, and have never taken one to a ski area.

 

Rent a car, stay in hotels, jump in the hot tub and have fun.  Don't haul your ski gear all the way here either (just your boots), but that's another subject.

post #16 of 26

Here's a copy of a post I wrote a couple of years ago.

 

I am a ski RV veteran with many years experience. I have also seen many unhappy RV renters frozen solid in ski resort parking lots.

It seems like a wonderful idea to wake up, walk across the parking lot and get on the lift but

- Unless you have 4 or more people it isn't cheaper if you add up rental charges, insurance and fuel (8 imperial MPG would be typical)

- You better be really good friends because after a few days in a tiny RV you may want to kill each other

- Most RVs (ie the ones made in the USA) are not made for winter. Their plumbing freezes solid meaning no water, shower or toilet, condensation soaks the interior and they are just generally miserable. Three Canadian built RVs can handle the cold - Triple E, Citation, and Travelaire. My Triple E has been in -25c with no problems. If you want something that works fly to Calgary or Vancouver and rent a Triple E from Go West RV.

- Once you get the RV you have to drive it on snowy and icy mountainous roads. They aren't like driving a car. A 24 foot Class C weighs in at almost 15,000 lbs., it doesn't have real snow tires and is like driving a bill board down the road. The first time you have a 30 km side wind on a white ice road you will see God.

- Yes they have a furnace but it draws at least 7 amps and you batteries are much less efficient due to cold meaning you have to be plugged into 110 volts at least every second day or you kill your batteries. No heat = everything frozen solid. Most ski area don't have plugins and most RV resorts are closed in winter.

- Even if the plumbing in the RV works where do you dump the tanks? Most sanidumps are buried under snow and frozen. Getting water is even more difficult as all outside taps are shut off and you can't drive the RV into a typical heated garage.

 

Having my own RV means I know where to go and how to avoid problems but for a newbie it is a recipe for ruining a perfectly good ski vacation. Renting an RV in winter is certainly an adventure but so is a root canal. 

 

post #17 of 26

^ This guy is a Road Warrior.biggrin.gif Don't forget the GVW chain restrictions.

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

^ This guy is a Road Warrior.biggrin.gif Don't forget the GVW chain restrictions.

 

I can say for certainty if a road is in the type of condition where trucks are required to chain up, you won't get me driving a motorhome up that road if you put a gun to my head. After all, the gun misfires sometimes.

 

Maybe I am exaggerating slightly, but only slightly.

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your responses.

 

I think I will revisit my trip plans to allow for a different method of accommodation/Transport. I would love to try it one day but considering I am only free for 2 months I want to spend as much time as possible on the slopes not lying in a carpark trying to fix a broken waterpipe etc.

 

Once again thanks for all your advice, its greatly appreciated.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieSkiBum87 View Post

Thanks everyone for your responses.

 

I think I will revisit my trip plans to allow for a different method of accommodation/Transport. I would love to try it one day but considering I am only free for 2 months I want to spend as much time as possible on the slopes not lying in a carpark trying to fix a broken waterpipe etc.

 

Once again thanks for all your advice, its greatly appreciated.

 

If you don't fill the RV with water, it can't freeze.  The only part that would really need to be addressed in your plan is more saying at RV parks as opposed to finding parking lots- many of which will not allow overnight parking in ski country anyways.

 

I've done this gig lots in Colorado, and can say that there are RV parks open in winter in the following places in Colorado:

 

Steamboat Springs- its even on the free bus route.

Summit County/Breck- Stayed at Tiger Run several times, they even have an indoor pool.

Salida (Monarch)- Stayed at 4 Seasons several times, Heart of the Rockies opens early in Spring, Monarch Spur is open in winter but we had a very bad experience here and would not recommend.

Glenwood Springs (Sunlight)- Stayed at the Hideout, it was adequate, but not great.

Basalt (Aspen areas)- I believe there is an RV park that is open in Winter in the Carbondale/Basalt area.

Pagosa Springs (Wolf Creek)- there are a ton of RV parks around Pagosa, and many stay open in Winter.

 

There are many more, these are just the ones I am directly familiar with. The only ski area I know with no RV park nearby is Telluride.

post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieSkiBum87 View Post

 

I think I will revisit my trip plans to allow for a different method of accommodation/Transport.

 

It's a great plan, just modify it a little.  Get a van, a warm sleeping bag and a ceramic heater.   Stay in hotels every few days when they're cheap and stealth camp in the van when it's not.

The Mountain Collective resorts are some of the best in North America.  It could be the trip of a lifetime.

post #22 of 26

Get in a van and park it down

by

the RIVER!

 

Don't forget the polyester plaid and combover.

post #23 of 26

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by contesstant View Post

Get in a van and park it down

by

the RIVER!

 

Don't forget the polyester plaid and combover.

 

(Maybe this belongs in that vintage WaistSteering thread....)

post #25 of 26

Yes! I love it! One of the funniest guys EVER!

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by contesstant View Post

Get in a van and park it down

by

the RIVER!

 

Actually... our friend from another thread is living out of his Honda Element in Summit Count, and has been for two weeks.   He found someone on airbnb that lets him park, shower and use wifi for $10/day.   If you don't mind winter camping and have a warm sleeping bag it might be something to consider.   

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/119747/just-got-to-colorado-skiing-here-for-the-fist-time-at-the-vail-mountains-advice-needed

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