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Old 11-23-2005, 04:46 PM   #1
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ski house

I want to convert an Airstream (contemporaize it with custom interior) and use it as a ski house in werstern USA.
I'd like to get insights from others who have tried this and also to find out how close I can hook up near Taos, Telluride, Crested Butte and Durango ...for starters.
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:10 PM   #2
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welcome to the airsteam forums.....

i don't think you understand the real value and utility of these trailers....

that is.......

they are meant for TRAVEL....

they aren't insulated well enough for full time winter living and the plumbing/sewage and electrical systems are "compromises" that work well during travel but not when planted.

sure they look cool on the out side and perhaps that is what motivates you...

the locations you suggest are all likely zoned in such a way that the you'd need to purchase a very large chunk of land....and even then the zoning near those trendy areas may still forbid planting a trailer....colorado is pretty well zoned everywhere, with many restrictions....for example i think collecting rainwater/snowmelt for usage is restricted or forbidden.

really it'd be less expensive to build a one room cabin with an out house and use a wood stove and solar and have water delivered......than to try using an airstream for this application.

besides you could built a steel/aluminum hut that would be just as unique looking and far more suited to the location. ever seen a quonset hut? here's a link to get you started........

alternatively any of the makers of prebuilt cabins can haul one into your chosen location....they is a booming business in these small contemporary prebuilt delivered thingies....but any remote location still has the issue of utilities.....

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Old 11-23-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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I fully agree with previous poster. Think about it Highly conductive aluminum shell with aluminum ribs conecting to highly conductive aluminum interior. Some fiberglas insulation in many areas. Single pane windows. Interior humidity condensing on the walls and windows. Using power all the time trying to keep the incoming and outgoing water as a liquid rather than freezing. Well it is better than a tent. Ski houses are constructed differently because they are servicing a different need. Airstreams are built "light" and areodynamic to be pulled down the highway. Other uses are a compromise.
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:10 PM   #4
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hello bookvalue,welcome to the forums. here is a link for you that i hope helps your pe ratio...

Illegitimous noncarborundum(dont let the bastards wear you down)

The only true nobility is found through giving good food to your friends- Anton Careme

beauty is in the eye of the beerholder-cosmo fishhawk

if something is too good to be true, its usually gone before i get there-mister boffo
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:34 PM   #5
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Lightbulb Sign on executive's desk: 'Thimk'

Welcome bookvalue -- I usually like what comes out of 2air's keyboard and this is no exception. A number of Airstream models no longer have the zolotone crinkle-paint interiors, being bare metal instead. Whether or not you put any credence in 2" of fiberglass batt I will remind you that the ribs between the outer and inner skin are solid conductive aluminum ... and there are quite a number of them!

The bare aluminum interior finish of some trailers today shows all sorts of condensation caused by cold spots inside my trailer. Anything below 45 degrees outdoor temperature will begin to show this contrast. When does this happen you ask? When two of us are sitting quietly reading. If we put on a teapot without putting the N-O-I-S-Y exhaust fan on, the amount of condensation doubles and the windows cloud up. And this is all before 8:00 or 9:00PM.

Guess what happens when you sleep inside and you sleep the full night and it is 40, 35 or 30 degrees out? A couple soaked towels later you still can't see out the windows. It's a good thing all those moonshiners of bygone years didn't have airstreams first or we wouldn't have had our rolling homes, they being converted instead into the biggest stills you could ever imagine!

Airstreams might be appealing for Arizona RV park rental units (consider the demographics and traveling experiences of snowbirds). 2air' is right -- these dandy Airstreams have compromises galore to make them good rolling stock. Just for reliable water service alone you might have to take one off the axles and install it on a permanent foundation. If you throw cold, insulation inefficiency, condensation, propane safety, and meager bathrooms into the equation -- I don't know that you'd consider this fun unless you've spent a lot of nights in one and decided this is for you. By the time you re-engineer around these issues (and local codes notwithstanding), do you still have the Airstream experience? Or cachet?

You decide.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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Old 11-23-2005, 08:11 PM   #6
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Ski hut ? But......

Book Value - Good question, as a new owner I learned some things about the limitations with our trailers that I had not fully considered. I mean I knew water pressure was not the same, and that being conservative was necessary but did not think about the temperature issue. I really had not planned on using the coach in extreme cold any way but I know now that the challenges are too much for it to be worth the trouble.

One more discouraging thing to consider before you go forward if you decide to. I have seen snow build-up crush the roof of some airstreams. I don't have the sites to refer you to, but there are pictures out there showing the damage heavy snow build up can cause. 3-4 feet of snow gets to weighing a lot over a large area and buckles panels and can even bend structural ribbing

"It takes a village to raise a silver twinkie."

-Jim Phillips
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Old 01-18-2006, 08:18 PM   #7
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There goes my trip to Mammoth...

As a new owner I was sddened to hear the realities of cold weather camping. I had wondered about the fluids freezing but now I'm not sure I would even attempt a weekend in the snow.

My 22' CCD had Gray and Balck water tank heaters. My new 25' Safari SE FB does not. One more reason I'll stick to warm climates.

Stay Warm,

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Old 01-18-2006, 08:53 PM   #8
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For sale in Aspen CO

Here is an Airstream that is for sale in Aspen CO
"Abe" & Melissa Lincoln
1976 Overlander "Spirit"
2020 GMC Denali Duramax
Hensley Hitch
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:19 PM   #9
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That would make a cool (and cheap) office!!!
Chris and Christina- Boerne, TX / Evergreen, CO - TAC TX-7
2008 27'FB Int'l Signature CCD
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Old 01-18-2006, 10:46 PM   #10
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Nigerian scammers high in the Himalayas......

Nigerian scammers that operate on ebay from high in the Himalayan mountains could sure use that Oxygen bar Airstream trailer on ebay.....
Think of the savings on Sherpa costs alone!
I bet you could fit about 39 scammers with their computers in that trailer quite comfortably.........
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:06 PM   #11
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mod streamer

i fully encourage you to use the tube for winter camping....and i think they work nicely for short trips into snow country. a few days or weeks is fun and its a treat to have your own condo near the slopes...

my first airstream was used regularly for skiing trips into british columbia, montana, washington and oregon. many ski lodges allowed boondocking in the parking lots and some within walking distance of the main lifts and lodges. now they usually have a parking lot designated for rvs and folks have great evening fun grilling outdoors!

yes you will use lots of lp gas and may need to take a trip down the mountain every 2-3 days for tank refills....just unhook the tank and go.

yes you will need to regularly vent moisture from inside with windows/exhaust fans and so on but if you are in a high/dry locale this is quick and easy. just be sure to do it mid day when the most sun and lowest humidity can help...

yes you may need a gen set to charge batteries but many ski resorts now have electrical power in the rv zones for a plug in. this also allow for using electric/ceramic or oil space heaters for extra warmth. make sure your extension cords are properly rated and as short as needed.

yes you need extra blankets and may want to sleep with woolie socks and a skullcap but that just adds to the fun.

be careful using the big awning if snow is falling as it can quickly become overweighted and collopse......ask me how i know.

take a big wisk/ship broom covered with an old think towel for knocking off big snow.....and be sure the door and window seals are silicon lubed so they don't freeze/stick closed or open....

yes since you are boondocking you'll need to be frugal with onboard fresh water.....but champagne and beer are meant for drinking anyway.

as long as you keep the heat on your water lines are safe as are the tanks....i didn't realize the waste water tanks weren't in the warm zone on the safari....are you sure? regardless the waste in the tank actually lowers the freezing point and you can always add some rv antifreeze to the tank which will further lower freezing point even when diluted some by gray/black things......

my only experience with a freezing line while ski camping.....apparently the shower trap in my older unit was exposed/ at 5 degrees or so the trap froze while i was showering.....that was exciting.

pulling a trailer on snowy roads is problematic but most resorts keep the roads very driveable for all the other crazies anyway....

so the reality of winter camping is a little extra prep and supplies for an otherwise fantastic trip in the silver palace......

go for it!!


check out these snow photos......
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Old 01-18-2006, 11:24 PM   #12
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Mammoth is back on!


Thanks for the encouragement. My wife and I both the adventurous type. A little cold doesn't scare us. As long as the systems continue to function, I'm up for the fun. Not having heat or water can really change the whole experience. Then again, it's not as if we couldn't check into the nearest chalet if things got too rough.

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Old 01-18-2006, 11:40 PM   #13
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good for you! it will be a blast! just looking at the rv park in town/near the lakes looks very exciting. mammoth is such a big ski area, i'm sure they have an rv zone....have you checked on the ski area website?

couple of other each will produce a liter or two of vaporized water each day inside the trailer.....that condenses on walls windows and fabric always use the stove vent for everything...even making coffee. close the door for showers and use the exhaust fan, the mattress will get wet on the bottom so add another layer under a sleeping bag or thick blanket...this will absorb most of the moisture and can be air dried during the day. you will need to use the exhaust fans for an hour or 2 daily....while the furnace is vent all the condensation...but it's not a big deal and you may still need to flip the bed daily and dry out the trailer back home from all the human water inside....the trailer is pretty well sealed up.

take pics and report back!!

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Old 01-22-2006, 09:25 AM   #14
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Hi from Montana, I live in a 1977 31' rear bath Airstream Land Yacht that I bought from a lady in Duluth MN In April of 05, and pulled it to Kalispell MT in June of 05. I do missions work for a christian group known as YWAM ( Youth With a Mission) here in Kalispell & on the Flathead Indian Reservation. I live at a RV Park in Kalispell MT, I have trailers on both sides of my site one is a new 06 Coachman and the other is a 04 Jayco that have had there tanks and traps frozen up, the Coachman also had a main water line break inside. We had a very cold streach here for awhile the coldest was -20, I have had no troubles with my Aistream at all. Befor I bought My Airstream I did many HRS of research on what to buy. I chose to buy Airstream because of there qaulity in workmanship and there resell value far excedes any other travel trailer on the market. I am very Proud of my vintage Airstream it was very well taken care of, and also have had many comments on how nice it looks for its age. Have safe trips and happy roads to you all this summer and if you are planing a trip to Montana and you get up to Kalispell look me up I am staying at Rocky Mountain Hi RV Park its a nice park to stay at. Keep polishing those vintage Airstreams and GOD BLESS...
- Give karma
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:27 AM   #15
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Yes I have the water line heat taped and insulated also took 1" styrofoam and skirted the trailer. I leave the grey tank valve open and the black closed,I also have a small electric heater under the table that helps to keep the chill out in the living room. I have not had any problems with humidity, the trailer I bought has Heated tanks and also dual pane windows. I'm Up in the northwest corner of MT westside of Glacier National Park.
1977 31' landyacht Sovereign
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Old 01-22-2006, 09:52 AM   #16
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The average Temp here is around 30 degrees during the day and the low's are in the 20's too in the teen's Go for it you will have a ball. I have two 30lb propane tanks that hold 7 to 8 gallons of propane in each tank, one tank will last up to five days with the use of a small electric heater in the living room otherwise without the electric heater four days useing just propane. That also includes my hot water heater and cooking on stove daily. as far as indoor temp I am very comfortible sleep in my shorts and do not get a cold nose, have fun and use it that what you bought it for. I'm also a biker and there is a saying among bikers( your eaither a biker or a fair weather biker) I guess that can applies to living in a Airstream also. GOD BLESS.
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