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Thinking about getting a small camper to use during the ski season.

asnowmobiler

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I was wonder if anyone on here has done this and also wondering how if you had any issue parking overnight at or near the ski areas. I used to have a travel trailer in upstate NY for snowmobiling, so I know the in and out of winter camping at a campground but not outside of one.
 

gittist

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I don't remember where I read it, but some Walmarts will let you park overnight. We were considering a Class C camper and one of my thoughts was to use it when skiing. It's a much better option than using a car as a 'base lodge'; I hope Vail doesn't do that BS again this year!
 

asnowmobiler

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I believe you need to get permission at Walmarts before hand. Also most ski areas don’t have either anywhere near them.
Not sure if you need permission but don’t think so. But yea, not many close to ski areas.
My parents just traveled from Florida to Maine and back in their motorhome I know they stayed at some Walmarts I’ll ask them.
 

cdskier

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Not sure if you need permission but don’t think so. But yea, not many close to ski areas.
My parents just traveled from Florida to Maine and back in their motorhome I know they stayed at some Walmarts I’ll ask them.
According to Walmart's corporate FAQ, you do need permission from the individual store managers to park an RV.
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ss20

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I've successfully overnight parked in-

Both SB proper/Mt.Ellen lots (consecutive nights)
Sugarloaf lot (consecutive nights)
Jay Peak Stateside (consecutive nights)
Saddleback (consecutive nights)
Killington Park n Ride (welcome center at the base of the access road) (consecutive nights)
Probably more resorts, this is all just recent!

I've only been told to move once, in the Killington Skyeship lot. Officer was extremely nice and apologized for waking me up, then told me I could park at the Welcome Center (now my Killington go-to).

And this is just stuff at the ski areas. I've parked in plenty of pull-offs roadside a few miles from the ski area...trailheads are the best for this kind of stuff. For example, Crystal, WA, is supposedly strict about overnight parking, but there's a trailhead I used a mile before the ski area.


HOWEVER.... this was all done with a large SUV. The "stranger" the vehicle the more attention you'll draw. SUV- super easy you can blend into anywhere no one cares. Security/cops think you're skiing early, skiing late, a guest at a condo, night hiking/skiing, etc. Cargo Van- maybe you'll get some looks from over-eager resort security? They know what's going on, doubt they'd really care unless their overnight parking is stupid strict. Blatant RV- definitely have a plan B for sure. You're clearly overnight parking and ski area parking lots are private land.

Example.... Crystal, WA has paid RV parking for overnight. I parked my SUV at the trailhead for the national forest a couple miles before the ski area. No one batted an eye. If I had an RV would I have been bothered? Probably. I would love to deck-out a cargo van one day for skiing. You're giving yourself some "plausible deniability" that a car/SUV would bring, and not blatantly overnight camping like an RV screams. To me, sleeping in a car/van says, "I'm a dedicated skier who can't afford lodging at the moment so I'll park in this corner look the other way I'll be respectful please don't bother me". Sleeping in an RV says, "I have enough disposable income to afford this thing, I just don't want to pay for your expensive mountain hotels. Oh and I'm going to dump my greywater here, dump used charcoal, and throw a few beer cans outta this thing as I'll be here all week."

For around here your best option is using roadside pull-offs/plow turn-arounds, in my experience. I've also had good luck parking in church parking lots (any website on overnight car camping will recommend this one...but again....not sure about how this would work with an RV).


So to summarize, I've got PLENTY of success and many many nights spent sleeping in my unsuspecting SUV in the back lot of many resorts. I'm sure if I had an RV I'd of been told to move more, but I'll never know. 99/100 times the worst the officer can do is ask you to move. Be lenient when it's snowing. You're a big inconvenience to the plow man at 6am trying to get the lot ready for resort guests.


Also I'm sure you know this from winter vehicle camping already, but when it's snowing....DO NOT RUN THE ENGINE...say it's 3am and it's been snowing and you idle the engine for 10 minutes to get warm...that fresh snow could be up to the exhaust pipe of the vehicle and be blocking the exhaust from getting out. No bueno.
 
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Sunday River has a boondocking lot at the White Cap lot. I have never done it, but I have rented a seasonal site to park my large camper and it works great for a cheap ski house.
 

machski

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Sunday River has a boondocking lot at the White Cap lot. I have never done it, but I have rented a seasonal site to park my large camper and it works great for a cheap ski house.
Yeah, I also see several in the upper White Cap lots (behind Brookside) and occasionally a camper van even pulled into the walkway between Lot 5 and White Cap Lodge stairs. I wouldn't recommend parking there.
 

KustyTheKlown

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there is a facebook group for ski the east car camping people.

they're generally super annoying, but they have some good intel on where you can spend a night.

some of their build-outs are cool, but some (most) of their build-outs look fucking miserable and I have no idea why someone would ever chose a dark, cold, tight, uncomfortable coffin on the bed of their pickup truck to spend a long cold night in the mountains. motels in rutland are $80.

but some of the built out vans and rvs where you can actually stand up mostly straight and prep some food and have a warm hang, those look pretty sweet.

 

JimG.

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I am considering an RV as a winter base of operations. My concern is the availability of seasonal RV sites with hookups.

I would want to drive the RV to a location and then leave it there for the season. Or move it once or twice at most. Tow my car as a support vehicle/transportation.
 

asnowmobiler

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I am considering an RV as a winter base of operations. My concern is the availability of seasonal RV sites with hookups.

I would want to drive the RV to a location and then leave it there for the season. Or move it once or twice at most. Tow my car as a support vehicle/transportation.
Largest RV show in America is at Hershey next weekend.
www.largestrvshow.com
 

thetrailboss

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You are in good company. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas loves to camp in WalMart parking lots. In fact, it is one of his favorite things to do:

 

ss20

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I am considering an RV as a winter base of operations. My concern is the availability of seasonal RV sites with hookups.

I would want to drive the RV to a location and then leave it there for the season. Or move it once or twice at most. Tow my car as a support vehicle/transportation.

I used to have a small camper. Did a lotttt of camping. To my knowledge, there's very minimal (if any) winter camping near skiing in VT at least.

I also don't know about moving it during the winter. At a minimum you're shovelling a crapload of snow to get the RV out of the spot you've had it parked in. And Driving a class A motorhome with a car being towed behind it would be absolutely awful with just a flurry of snow.

In my humblest of opinions you're better off doing a seasonal rental at whatever place you want to ski at for a season.


RV's/campers were never cheap but they were certainly viable for the middle class. We would use our pop-up camper 2-3 weeks a year. Shit starting getting ridiculously expensive about a decade ago and the boom hasn't ended. We towed our cheap pop-up with a low-cost, used SUV (an Aztek in fact!). The Aztek died around 2014 and by then the small truck/SUV boom was in full-swing and you couldn't get a cheap tow vehicle anymore.

I just looked up pop-ups on Camping World.... used, 10 year old models going for over $10k. I think we paid $2.5k for ours in the early 00s. I love camping but unless you're doing it at least once a month anything beyond a nice tent set-up is pretty out of range for the average family now. It's no longer the wallet-friendly vacation my family made of it.
 

asnowmobiler

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Definitely don’t want a pop-up for winter use. I‘ve seen some decent new small trailers for around 20k. it will get more use during the summer on mountain biking trips. Some come an off-road package that make them sit higher, so that should help when it snows.
 

JimG.

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I used to have a small camper. Did a lotttt of camping. To my knowledge, there's very minimal (if any) winter camping near skiing in VT at least.

I also don't know about moving it during the winter. At a minimum you're shovelling a crapload of snow to get the RV out of the spot you've had it parked in. And Driving a class A motorhome with a car being towed behind it would be absolutely awful with just a flurry of snow.

In my humblest of opinions you're better off doing a seasonal rental at whatever place you want to ski at for a season.


RV's/campers were never cheap but they were certainly viable for the middle class. We would use our pop-up camper 2-3 weeks a year. Shit starting getting ridiculously expensive about a decade ago and the boom hasn't ended. We towed our cheap pop-up with a low-cost, used SUV (an Aztek in fact!). The Aztek died around 2014 and by then the small truck/SUV boom was in full-swing and you couldn't get a cheap tow vehicle anymore.

I just looked up pop-ups on Camping World.... used, 10 year old models going for over $10k. I think we paid $2.5k for ours in the early 00s. I love camping but unless you're doing it at least once a month anything beyond a nice tent set-up is pretty out of range for the average family now. It's no longer the wallet-friendly vacation my family made of it.
The idea would be to set the RV up before winter weather arrives. Use the car to go to and from the RV, wouldn't even need to tow the car with a support driver on the first trip to set up.

And yes, I'm thinking more along the lines of a 33' class A, not a pop up camper. I'd much rather spend money on owning an RV than pay the hyper expensive rents I'm seeing everywhere. To me, rent = waste.
 
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