Trip Report: The Big Van Trip 1

Three days ago we left home with all of our favorite gear loaded up into our van and hit the road. Today we arrived in Crested Butte, Colorado. When we got out of the van today, a blue bird classic day surrounded by mountains, it was almost hard to believe we’d actually made this happen. We’re at the start of a two month trip on the road with the hope of ski-touring Colorado, Montana and up into BC.

Why is it hard to believe? Because it’s about 2 years in the making.  Before knowing much about van life culture, one day I said-we should get a Sprinter van and live in it and travel and become ski bums. As with most of my far-fetched fantasies- Jebb was like-yeah lets! We started obsessively reading about vans and scoping them out. We quickly realized that Sprinter conversion vans are a pretty expensive endeavor, so we started looking at other options.

The Dodge Ram van was our first venture (van-ture). It was big and awesome. We got a little too quick on the band wagon and ended up buying a van with some frame rust that made Jebb nervous. We got to try out that van for a year and see what we thought and only spent about $3000 on it. A lot smaller investment than the Sprinter. We really liked the idea of it and taking small New England trips, but we didn’t want it for the winter travel we had in mind.

Last summer we decided to sell the van before the rust became a problem and began researching the next van. We even considered getting a Previa. (After seeing this video you would too!) Mid-engine all wheel dive and super charged! Who-hoo!

We decided on a smaller van with all-wheel drive the Chevy Astro. Having all wheel drive for mountain passes made us really excited. We spent about $2500 and with a minimal expense, took out the seats and put in a bed and topped it with some roof racks. We knew we didn’t want a full build out and so far it’s been the perfect size for us, more of a minimalist van trip. The tiny houses of vans.

We didn’t see a lot of van people telling stories of winter travel in vans. So many were surf and climbing trips, but we’re on a ski trip. We’ll be mixing living out of the van and visits with friends. My next post, I’ll share how we stay warm, we’ve gotten a lot of quite a lot of questions on that.

Our ski plans are based on our Max Pass. The Max Pass is a ski pass that was wicked affordable with 5 days at about 40 mountains. Here’s our hit list we are hoping for on this trip- Crested Butte, Copper, Winter Park, Steamboat, Eldora, Big Sky, Fernie, and Kicking Horse.

We’ve already skied Brighton and Solitude in Utah. Jebb hit Mountain High in CA. Of course we skied the Vermont mountains too before leaving. It’s really a ski bumette’s dream come true to plan a trip like this! We’re doing it!!!

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