Dream home on wheels
By Molly Baker | Photos by Ian Provo
Watch all four episodes of the Tiny House Tour and see more photos below the article.
In October 2011, fellow Outdoor Research ski ambassador Zack Giffin and I started building our dream home on wheels. The purpose was to tow this cozy 112-square-foot cabin around to North America’s most famed mountain passes and ski areas. Much like Zack’s years of ski bumming from his van, the tiny house was built on the vision of the mountains being our backyard and home being a place that exists wherever the snow is falling.
Being ski bums, our financial resources were as unpredictable as the snowfall. Mini houses don’t necessarily use mini budgets and for two people living out of ski bags, money for bamboo floors, a tiny antique stove and cherry trim seemed unattainable, even for such a small space. We did what dreamers do. We asked for help. Our shared outerwear sponsor, Outdoor Research, loved the tiny house idea and thus, the house became the Outdoor Research Tiny House.
With a group of friends and a film crew, we’ve traveled from Silverton, Colorado to Revelstoke, British Columbia and everywhere in between, spending weeks in Jackson Hole, skiing Alta backcountry, crossing the border into Canada and exploring the mountain gems found in Nelson, Revelstoke, and Banff. We have a blossoming bouquet of new ski friends around North America and even started a tiny house band (I am on the melodeon following two guitarists).
Last year we were snowed in at North America’s snow mecca (Mt. Baker, obviously) and had to gift a friendly snowplow driver beer to spend the afternoon digging the tiny house out so we could make it to Lummi Island for Christmas dinner. We’ve had trucks catch on fire, skied at 3 a.m. in the moonlight from the tiny house in the Whitewater parking lot, and hosted tiny house parties of more than 20 festival enthusiasts at the Banff Film Festival.
The house has endured breakdowns, near break-ups and life-altering ski days. The whole world of skiing has been invited into the house, its door open to any travelers going into the mountains looking to find a home. Living tiny has been an exercise in downsizing our lives in order to upscale experiences. The trade-off for no bathroom, one suitcase and a small space has been more ski days, more friends and better stories.
Now in our third year of living tiny, we’ve thoroughly researched the vagrant life; dabbling in the art of living from one ski destination to the next and making memories one powder turn at a time. The tiny house has provided purpose. We’ve slowly become those ski gypsies we always dreamed about. We’re still mastering life on the road. From here, the road seems to go on forever, with the tiny house steadily bringing us to the paramount experiences of life. A small idea about a tiny house has turned into a grand adventure, and that’s something we’ll never change. x