What would you do to enable a life in the mountains? The following skiers and snowboarders decided to adopt the tiny lifestyle. Here are three stories from Teton Gravity Research about people who self-built houses in remote locations, went mobile or off-grid, and reduced their cost of living to almost zero… all in the name of powder.
Near Truckee, California, former pro snowboarder Mike Basich spent four years building his 300-square-foot dream home on a 40-acre property. Inaccessible by road, the off-grid stone house has many innovations of Basich’s design, including a solar/wind orientation for passive heating/cooling and a pipe-free hot tub filled by a running brook. Basich attracted attention last year when he upgraded his private rope tow on the property (because, you know, everybody has one of those) to a private chairlift. This story includes a video.
In northwest Montana, Mollie and Sean Busbee live in 420-square-foot house and a yurt, at the end of a steep dirt road. Mollie directs a nonprofit that promotes action sports for children with diabetes; Sean is a pro snowboarder who films around the world. The property is off-grid and built largely with salvaged materials; a vegetable garden and chicken coop help the couple to be largely self-sufficient. With few bills to pay, Sean, who has type 1 diabetes as well as the autoimmune disease lupus, can afford to take time for himself when needed.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Dan and Brittany Gibeau built a 172-square-foot house on wheels to cope with the ski-town affordability crisis. (See this post for a similar story about Aspen, Colorado.) As Brittany writes in the article, “Stitching together a supportable existence while leaving time for adventure is every mountain dweller’s task.” Brittany walks through the challenges of building a house on wheels suitable for a cold climate, and making it legal. They used some nifty building materials like ReWall, a structural insulated panel made largely from recycled cardboard. After researching possibilities with the town, the couple parked their house for good in an RV campground.