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  1. Default Winter Road Trip/ January & February, 2008

    We are a group of British firends who are looking to come over to the US - flying to Las Vagas and then drive up to various ski resorts - Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Mammoth etc. flying back from San Fransico. We will be over for 14days end of Jan - beg Feb.

    Our plan is to hire RV's and go from resort to resort - as none of us have been over before I'm wondering if this is a feasible plan? Are there camp spots to park the RV's in the resorts or close by? Would we be able to get the RV's up the mountains?

    Any comments/feedback on journey routes and the feasibility of this plan would be greatly appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    There are a few things to be concerned with here - first off - have you rented an RV before? If not, you will want to check out our tips for renting an RV and planning an RV vacation.

    I would suspect that, weather permitting, you shouldn't have too much trouble getting to those locations via RV - after all, most of the other people there most likely drove in as well.

    I did find a page that lists many campgrounds in the Lake Tahoe area. Not being familiar with that region of the country, I'll defer you to our experts on that area who will undoubtedly be able to inform you if there are open RV parks at that time of the year.

  3. Default

    Thanks for your reply and the links.. Have had a read through and don't think that hiring the RV is going to be a problem..

    Have you got any recommended routes for us to take? Or would you know which of the ski resorts are going to be our best bet for accommodating the RV's? I've had a look over the list you sent which looks like there should be plenty of options if it is open. Any further advice or recommendations are greatly received.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default This makes no sense to me

    Quote Originally Posted by SarahSnow View Post
    Or would you know which of the ski resorts are going to be our best bet for accommodating the RV's?
    Winter camping and rental RVs is not a good combination. I have traveled in a custom-built RVs that were fully equipped for below freezing travel and still had burst water lines.

    For the money -- I would urge you to consider some seasonal house/condo rentals and a good all-weather rental car.


  5. Default Most RVs not equipped for cold weather...

    I've sort of been hesitating on responding on this one.

    Most RVs aren't well equipped for cold weather. Their heating systems are so-so, they aren't well insulated, and the systems aren't designed to take freezing weather. But most of the stories I've heard are 2nd hand, so I don't have first hand experience with RVs and snow.

    I've had friends go skiing and take their RVs with mixed results. One family just about froze on the trip -- they'd come back cold and wet from skiing (wet when the snow on their clothes warmed up a bit), and the highest they could get the temperature in the RV was in the 40's. The RV never dried out, and they told me they were always cold -- particularly at night, when the RV on the inside got down below freezing. They had some very cold nights, since the heater on the RV wasn't running when the engine wasn't running. They still made it through a week of skiing, but didn't have a lot of good things to say about the RV and snow, though.

    Another family I know takes theirs to local ski areas, but only for overnight. They're OK with using an RV, and just accept the conditions, but they're usually only using the RV for 1 or 2 nights.

    If you do take an RV, give some thought to how you're going to handle cold and wet -- it could be quite cold. I did a quick look at Mammoth, for example, for the last week of January and note the nightly low temp ranges historically from 16-28 F (-8 to -2 C). Lake Tahoe could be even colder -- night time temperatures there historically run around 10-19 F (-12 to -7 C) for the same period.

    If you're sleeping in a parked RV, particularly on a clear night, it could be quite cold inside. Warm dry clothes, good sleeping bags, etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default 32 Degrees below zero

    During one particularly frigid February in Wyoming, I lived in my rig for six weeks when day-time temps rarely reached zero and most nightime temps dropped to minus 32 degrees. I have also stayed at Colorado Ski resorts with other hardy RV'ers and so here are some tips if you decide to chance it with a rental RV:

    1) Keep some anti-freeze in your black tank and never let it go less than 1/4 empty.

    2) If possible wrap heating wire around as much of the tanks as possible (the type that you can plug into A/C outlets.

    3) When you get ready to dump -- make sure you pour warm water into both the Gray and Black tanks.

    4) Fill your fresh water tank in mid-afternoon and then put all the hoses away

    5) Find the location of the freshwater electric pump and put an electric heating pad as close to it as possible to keep it warm.

    6) Keep the propane tank topped (every night) so that you can run the furnace all night and all day,

    7) Open every cabinet door at night to ensure all areas of the cabin are warm -- protecting the water lines is critical.

    8) Cover all windows with insulation covers (sun screens)

    Well, this is a first-blush list...

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-11-2007 at 02:19 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Check with a few resorts before deciding

    Quote Originally Posted by SarahSnow View Post
    Our plan is to hire RV's and go from resort to resort - as none of us have been over before I'm wondering if this is a feasible plan? Are there camp spots to park the RV's in the resorts or close by? Would we be able to get the RV's up the mountains?
    As Larrison noted, most RVs are not built for very cold weather. I spent a miserable week in a motorhome style RV in Vermont once. Yes, it had a propane furnace, but we could not run the furnace during the daytime while we were skiing (insufficient propane supply available) so were left with running it at night only. Some of our group were staying in a condo and we just parked the RV in the lot and used it for a bunkhouse, showering and hanging out in the condo until bedtime and such, and it was still miserable. I doubt we ever got the interior over the low 40s (F), and it was in the teens to single digits (F) outside, and windy.

    And little of that may matter inasmuch as there could be difficulty finding an approved place to park the RV at higher-end ski resorts to begin with. In recent years, I've had the pleasure of skiing all of the resorts within an hour's drive of Salt Lake City/Park City, in Utah, once or twice each season, and I do not recall once seeing an RV of any sort parked at any of them. That said, about 2 years ago I followed along with glee a blog written by a young couple who quit their jobs and traveled the US, Canada, and Mexico for a year in a truck camper RV, one of the few available built for cold weather, and they were able to find RV parking at some smaller ski resorts. If I recall correctly, what they found, however, was only a place to park--no hookups, so their freshwater and sewage holding tanks had to tide them over for several days on end--far more possible for a couple than a larger group. As to campgrounds close by to ski resorts, I'd be very surprised to find many, or any, open in winter. Their water lines and sewer hookups freeze up too easily and there would seem to be a very limited clientele out and about to pay the fees.

    Still, it's certainly worth checking with the resort people where you plan to go just to see if the predictions and cautions herein are on target, isn't it? I hope you'll post the results of your inquiries. I find myself daydreaming about spending a winter in the Western US going from small ski area to small ski area in my 4WD pickup truck with a winter-style truck camper. It'd be neat to hear what you learn.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 10-11-2007 at 02:39 PM. Reason: fixed the format

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