The Rise of #Vanlife and Winter Camping Communities at PNW Ski Resorts

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The Rise of #Vanlife and Winter Camping Communities at PNW Ski Resorts

Welcome to the great outdoors, where the cold wind blows, snowflakes dance and van life meets ski bum. Winter is the time of year when snow enthusiasts head to the mountains to indulge in their favorite winter sports, and for many, the ultimate way to do so is to camp overnight in their trusty van or RV. In this blog post, we'll explore the #vanlife trend and the overnight camping communities at ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest.

#Vanlife has become a cultural phenomenon over the past few years. It's a movement that involves trading in traditional homes for life on the road in a van or RV. People from all walks of life are embracing #vanlife, from young millennials to families to retirees. One of the main reasons for the popularity is the freedom it offers to explore the great outdoors. It’s a perfect fit for those who want to ski or snowboard, as it allows them to park up at a resort and wake up to fresh powder right outside their van or RV doors.

The Pacific Northwest is a region that's known for its abundance of snow and diverse ski resorts. Resorts in the Pacific Northwest have created welcoming communities for overnight camping, allowing skiers and snowboarders to stay in their vehicles overnight, giving them quick access to the slopes in the morning.

The following excerpt from the NY Times article "Where #Vanlife Meets #Skibum" explores this trend and highlights the unique communities that have emerged in places like Mount Bachelor, Hoodoo Ski Area, and Mount. Hood Meadows:

When you spend the night in a ski area parking lot during a snowstorm, there’s a point in the early morning hours when the soundscape inside the van shifts. The quiet huff of snow and wind is broken by the distant thunder of avalanche bombs, and the beep and scrape of snowplows.

Those were the sounds that woke us one morning in the Sunrise lot at Oregon’s Mount Hood Meadows, the ski resort on the southeastern flank of the snowy volcano, an hour and a half from Portland. For the price of a $4 Sno-park permit, we had snagged one of the 18 overnight vehicle camping spots and participated in a great northwestern ski tradition, one that’s existed since the 1960s and become even more popular in pandemic years: van camping in the ski area parking lot.

You can sleep in your vehicle in nearly every major ski area in Oregon and Washington, thanks to a combination of Forest Service regulations that restrict the building of lodging on the mountains, and a history of camping-friendly resort ownership.
There are downsides. Lack of nightlife, for one, and winter van life is probably not for people who are particular about where they go to the bathroom. But camping, with its mellow, first-chair mornings, easy access to the lifts and long evenings of parking lot après, can be an affordable, accessible lodging option, and a taste of the vanlife hashtag.

Pros and Cons

Winter camping at ski resorts offers many benefits, such as affordability and convenience. Skiers and snowboarders can save on accommodation costs by camping overnight, which means more money to spend on lift tickets and equipment. Camping at a ski resort offers a prime location, with direct access to the slopes, as well as stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

However, there are some downsides to winter camping at ski resorts. The cold temperatures, snow, and ice make camping more challenging than during other seasons. It's important to be prepared with the right cold weather camping gear, such as a four-season tent, sleeping bag rated for winter temperatures, and warm clothing. It's also essential to be familiar with winter camping safety protocols, such as staying dry, avoiding hypothermia, and avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning.

Quick Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Winter Camping Experience at Ski Resorts:

  • Choose a campsite close to the resort's amenities, such as bathrooms, showers, and food options.
  • Bring a shovel to clear snow away from your van and make a clear area around it for safety.
  • Check weather and avalanche conditions before heading out.
  • Bring a reliable heat source and fuel but ensure proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Stay dry and avoid hypothermia by bringing extra warm and dry clothing, as well as waterproof boots.
  • Invest in the right camping equipment

Camping Equipment for Winter Camping

When it comes to camping gear, having the right equipment is crucial for a successful winter camping trip at ski resorts. A few key items can make all the difference in keeping you warm and comfortable in cold weather. Two great products that can enhance your winter camping experience are the Out-In-About Box and Portable Fire Pit.

The Out-In-About Box is a highly versatile piece of camping equipment that provides a convenient and organized way to store all of your camping gear. The box is made of sturdy aluminum and features various compartments for your tent, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, and more. The Out-In-About Box is designed to fit in the trunk or cargo space of most vehicles, making it a great option for those who want to maximize their storage space in a van or RV.

The Portable Fire Pit is another great addition to any camping trip, both for adding warmth after a long day on the slopes and encouraging camaraderie with other campers. This compact and lightweight fire pit is perfect for relaxing and unwinding, as well as an invitation to fellow campers to come and have a conversation. The fire pit is made of high-quality stainless steel and can be set up in minutes, making it a great option for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without having to spend hours building a fire.

The right camping equipment can make all the difference in your winter camping experience at ski resorts. The Out-In-About Box and Portable Fire Pit are just two examples of products that can enhance your trip and help you make the most of your outdoor adventures.

The #vanlife trend has brought a new dimension to winter camping at ski resorts in the Pacific Northwest, offering skiers and snowboarders an affordable and convenient way to explore the region's ski resorts. While winter camping does have its challenges, being prepared and following safety protocols will ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience. So, pack up your van and head to the snowy mountains for a winter adventure that you won't forget!


portable fire pit