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I left my job, please help me RV/Motorhome Skiing

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am sure this has been asked before but my search resulted in disperse information and some apparently out of date

I left my job, I'd like to at least use this time to make this work !! It's a short notice but I wanna make it happen before the season ends

Information about me

1- Never operated or driven a motorhome
2- Gonna be going Solo

Information about what I am looking for

1 - Motorhome operation information (I searched high and low but I am looking to draw upon experience to see if what i found out s accurate) . Basically what I understand is that :

                  a- I need a site with power to plug and charge the battery ?
                  b- Is heating powered through Battery or propane ? Where do I fill propane ?
                  c- There are two waste tanks only right ? How and where Do i clean them ?

2- European (France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria) Ski resorts which I can park at the base or something for like a week, ski there, then move elsewhere. Preferably park within walking distance of the slopes


Please help me make this happen :) Thanks
post #2 of 13
 You are doing this is Europe and not the US? 
post #3 of 13
Where do you currently live?

There are some camping grounds near ski resorts in Europe, but you might well end up staying in a town then getting a bus to several resorts near by.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah doing this in Europe

I live in Saudi Arabia, so definitiely no skiing here :)
post #5 of 13
I have been staying in a 5th wheel trailer at or near Sun Peaks Resort, B.C. for most of 18 winters. If you are staying at a location that is at or near the freezing level, then there are several things to be concerned about.

My trailer has the fresh water, grey water, and sewer water holding tanks in an insulated belly pan beneath the frame with a duct from the propane furnace to keep the tanks from freezing. The dump valves for sewer and grey water are in the belly pan and located about a foot in from the side wall of the belly pan so they don't freeze. There are small access doors in the belly pan to allow you to pull the dump valve handle when the tanks are full. If you are RVing in winter conditions then you need a set up similar to mine or you won't be able to use your water system.

When it gets really cold say minus 10 celsius, your RV fridge will get fooled by the very cold temp and it will not turn on when it needs to. The solution is to block off the lower fridge vent with a piece of cardboard. NEVER block  or plug the upper fridge vent.

There are lots of other things about winter RV camping that I will tell you when I have more time.
post #6 of 13
I RV/Ski and have for the past 5 years.  You can learn alot more from RV forums than from Ski Forums.
http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/forums/

First need to know what type of Motorhome you will be purchasing and how new/old it is?  Diesel/Gas?  My recommendation is a Diesel pusher 2002 or newer, 36' long max.  Anything longer than 36' is hard to manuver and will not go the places a shorter Motorhome will.

Anything from late 1990's to present should be set up for cold weather, but check first.  Some come with winter packages.
You will want a good set of chains just in case.
Heat is anything from Propane only to heat pumps that run electric down to 38 deg, then propane assists or takes over.  You can also set them for just electric or just Propane.  The heating system should vent into the belly and keep your tanks and water above freezing.  Do your research before you purchase.

Your Motorhome will have a onboard generator for electricity.  You are fine of plugged in to 30 or 50 amp in an RV park but if you stand alone or are traveling you will have to learn about the generator.  Most systems will run on battery and the generator is just for high power usage or charging the batteries.  You need a generator on for use of Air Conditioner, Microwave, and extended use of TV.  The furnace on propane only will only need a bit of battery power to run the fans, if you are using Electric heat pump furnace you will have to run the generator.  You will need shore power or run the generator for at least 3 hours prior to starting the engine in order to run the block heater.
You will learn by watching your amp meter how much battery you are using or how much power you need for the different systems.  Rule of thumb is if it creates heat it uses high amps.  The more heat the more amps.

Check for RV parks in the area you will be staying.  Are they open all year round?  You can boondock or live stand alone using only your generator to keep batteries charged and run major electrical systems.  But you will need to pull into an RV park every 4 to 5 days to refill your fresh water and dump your Grey and Black tanks.  You will also have to refill your propane tank anywhere from weekly to every couple of weeks.  I fill mine every chance I get because if you run out you are in a frozen world of hurt.

Many parts and accessories on a motor home are fiberglass or plastic.  Always keep in mind that at freezing tempatures plastic becomes brittle and shatters or breaks easily.  Take out a hose to fill your water in freezing weather and if you are not careful it will crack or break.

Even if you have a water supply present you will use your internal water supply (holding tank) and only hook up to external water for a short time to refill.  If you park at the resort and boondock (dry camp) you will learn to shower by turning the water on and off, get wet, turn it off, lather, then rinse.  This will extend your stay for a couple of days.  If you like long hot showers then you will have to go to a RV park.

I love using my RV to go on ski trips but you have to take care, think ahead, and learn the tricks to having a Motorhome in freezing tempatures.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kash View Post

Yeah doing this in Europe

I live in Saudi Arabia, so definitiely no skiing here :)
OK, so next question:
Are you planning to buy or rent the motorhome?
Follow up (if the answer is "buy")... where will you get it taxed and insured?
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarzan View Post

I RV/Ski and have for the past 5 years.  You can learn alot more from RV forums than from Ski Forums.
http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/forums/

First need to know what type of Motorhome you will be purchasing and how new/old it is?  Diesel/Gas?  My recommendation is a Diesel pusher 2002 or newer, 36' long max.  Anything longer than 36' is hard to manuver and will not go the places a shorter Motorhome will.

Anything from late 1990's to present should be set up for cold weather, but check first.  Some come with winter packages.
You will want a good set of chains just in case.
Heat is anything from Propane only to heat pumps that run electric down to 38 deg, then propane assists or takes over.  You can also set them for just electric or just Propane.  The heating system should vent into the belly and keep your tanks and water above freezing.  Do your research before you purchase.

Your Motorhome will have a onboard generator for electricity.  You are fine of plugged in to 30 or 50 amp in an RV park but if you stand alone or are traveling you will have to learn about the generator.  Most systems will run on battery and the generator is just for high power usage or charging the batteries.  You need a generator on for use of Air Conditioner, Microwave, and extended use of TV.  The furnace on propane only will only need a bit of battery power to run the fans, if you are using Electric heat pump furnace you will have to run the generator.  You will need shore power or run the generator for at least 3 hours prior to starting the engine in order to run the block heater.
You will learn by watching your amp meter how much battery you are using or how much power you need for the different systems.  Rule of thumb is if it creates heat it uses high amps.  The more heat the more amps.

Check for RV parks in the area you will be staying.  Are they open all year round?  You can boondock or live stand alone using only your generator to keep batteries charged and run major electrical systems.  But you will need to pull into an RV park every 4 to 5 days to refill your fresh water and dump your Grey and Black tanks.  You will also have to refill your propane tank anywhere from weekly to every couple of weeks.  I fill mine every chance I get because if you run out you are in a frozen world of hurt.

Many parts and accessories on a motor home are fiberglass or plastic.  Always keep in mind that at freezing tempatures plastic becomes brittle and shatters or breaks easily.  Take out a hose to fill your water in freezing weather and if you are not careful it will crack or break.

Even if you have a water supply present you will use your internal water supply (holding tank) and only hook up to external water for a short time to refill.  If you park at the resort and boondock (dry camp) you will learn to shower by turning the water on and off, get wet, turn it off, lather, then rinse.  This will extend your stay for a couple of days.  If you like long hot showers then you will have to go to a RV park.

I love using my RV to go on ski trips but you have to take care, think ahead, and learn the tricks to having a Motorhome in freezing tempatures.

Great info, but...I'm pretty sure Class A's are not the norm in Europe. If the TdF is any indication, most seem to be Class Cs and a good deal shorter than 36' long. Better for him tho-Class Cs are just like driving a truck or a van. Class As....on the other hand....Yikes!
I have a travel trailer. I like it because I can park the trailer somewhere, like a campground, load the kiddies in the truck and go exploring.
post #9 of 13
There should be some fun to be had here. I have about 34 years in the RV (mostly motor home) sales industry, but all North American. 

If you are just planning to use the motor home this winter and then dispose of it, would suggest renting.  If you intend to keep it and use for longer a period buy it.  For Europe, stay smaller, for NA the 36' suggestion is on the money.  Would suggest something based on the Sprinter chassis from MB/Chrysler; it is the most dependable and economic to operate.  For going solo class B (built inside the van) or class C (larger box built on back of the cab) would work well.  You do want something that you can leave the bed down in, putting that away everyday gets old fast.

You want something with a generator (will probably be powered by LP gas on a smaller rig like this) If you are not hooked up to utilities you can recharge batteries, or run a microwave.  BE SURE that the holding tanks for both gray (sink water) and black (sewer tank) are heated and insulated.  To help insure against freezing the tanks carry some rock salt and drop a couple of handfuls down the drain and flush down the toilet after draining the tanks (tuns the liquid into something with a much lower freezing point like the ocean). 

Keep your LP on the top half if you can.  Running out of LP means no heat, hot water, cooking, generator, or refrigerator; critical.  Bad thing to run out of in the middle of the night.

If you are buying, there is nothing wrong with used, it will drop the price a lot.  Do not go too old the technology has changed a lot here too.  DO NOT buy used with INCREDIBLY LOW MILES; motor home systems are like a human body, they require regular exercise to function well.

That is a very short course, but hope that it helps.  1 more point, RVs work on O'Malleys law which states; Murphy was an optimist.
post #10 of 13
Hey Stranger, some great information.  First time I have heard of the rock salt idea in the tanks.  My first thought was won't the salt cause corrosion?  My second was the tanks are plastic stupid no corrosion.  The only freezing in my tanks was in the outlet valve due to its proximity to the outside this would fix that.  I usually just pour in a pint of the pink stuff but the salt would be cheaper.
Also if you plan on only having it a year think on finding a really good deal on a used unit.  The older it is the more its price will hold up over a year.  My last Motorhome was a 1996 model I bought in 2006.  I sold it in 2009 for $1,500.00 more than I paid for it.  All I had to do was add some TLC, a lot of wax and polish, and good maintenance.  Only major problem I had was a fuel pump @1200.00, and rear axle seals for about the same.  And some minor fixes like a circuit board in the Generator and in the furnace @300.00 ea.  The older the unit the more maintenance costs you can expect.  And maintenance costs are something you have to factor in, anytime you put a house on wheels and drive it down the hwy things are going to break and wear out.  Add in tires every 5 years, 4 to 6@ 200.00 ea.  2 to 6 deep cell batteries every 2-3 years at $125.00 each.  New awnings $300 to $500 every 5 to 8 years, and numerous hours tracing down blown fuses. 

Before you get into the RV game think about what you have in mind.  It is inexpensive to live in an RV if you do not factor in the initial cost.  In other words you do not buy an RV just to save rent.  If you plan on a lot of travel to different resorts it may be a good idea but if you plan on having a steady base it would probally be cheaper to just rent an apartment.  Those of us who RV mostly do it because we love the lifestyle and mobility not for any cost savings.  We brag that rent at an RV park is just 20 to 35 a night or 300 a month while we happily pay a 1,200 a month loan payment.  The cost of a $50,000.00 to 100,000.00 motorhome will buy a bunch of motel rooms.

Remember the definition of an RV'r is a guy driving a $300,000.00 Motorhome pulling a $40,000.00 car and looking for a free place to park.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Guys, a million thanks for being this generous with your information, you've informed me about a lot !

I am starting to think I might be a bit over my head with this, water, energy, heating .... etc, still though I am sure I could manage it but I am having another idea in mind which might fair out better

Regarding buying or renting, I was definitely thinking renting, I don't even know if it's possible for me to buy one in europe, given that I am not an EU citizen and I am a tourist, I am sure there are a lot of papers/tax issues to deal with

BTW Tarzan, on this

"Remember the definition of an RV'r is a guy driving a $300,000.00 Motorhome pulling a $40,000.00 car and looking for a free place to park."

looooool, spot on man, that is what it is hahahah

Ok So now I am thinking of adding some non ski portions in the trip as well, and for all different reasons I am now more keen on renting a normal car (Van/MPV style) and just travel the resorts with that. The question here becomes :

1- What is the cheapest kind of accomodation I can find (resorts like St.Anton, Verbier, Cortina, Cham) . There is supposedly B&B or Chalets ? 

2- Since I am travelling alone, it would be really nice to be in an accomodation where there would be a lot of people to meet, who may or may not be travelling alone as well. I really would love to meet people along the way instead of skiing alone or with a payed guide all the time. Group Lessons are an idea too ?
post #12 of 13
i spent some time solo in europe skiing and the language barrier is tough. On one trip i winged it and went to the tourist office in chamonix and was able to rent a flat for a week for a good rate.Great town,relatively affordable lots of ski options, ie verbier for the day or cortina. Other times it was really hard to find a place to stay without a reservation. I would book something in advance cuz if there are holidays europeans like to ski.We stayed in a b&b in stanton that ok,. If you get a car, a week in france at a higher elevation area and a week in austria would be amazing, so jealous
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by natrat View Post

i spent some time solo in europe skiing and the language barrier is tough. On one trip i winged it and went to the tourist office in chamonix and was able to rent a flat for a week for a good rate.Great town,relatively affordable lots of ski options, ie verbier for the day or cortina. Other times it was really hard to find a place to stay without a reservation. I would book something in advance cuz if there are holidays europeans like to ski.We stayed in a b&b in stanton that ok,. If you get a car, a week in france at a higher elevation area and a week in austria would be amazing, so jealous

as long as you can speak english and french, then skiing in europe usually does not pose a language barrier unless in Italy. most accomodations in france and swiss are chalets and usually rented by the week at the minimum. breakfast dinner and unlimited wine are standard as well as cleaning and such so its a bit better than any b&B's you might find in my opinion. costs depends on how far the location is from the center of town, pubs, and the lift stations
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