The Rise of The Ski Van

The Rise of The Ski Van

Skiing is the ultimate winter adventure sport. Skiers crave more freedom and flexibility to chase the perfect powder, so the “Ski Van” concept has emerged as a game-changer. If you love skiing, you’ve probably imagined having a chalet right by the slopes where you can park and ski for the day or even the weekend.

What is a “Ski Van”? 

A Ski Van isn’t just a way to get around; it’s a specially designed mobile base camp made for passionate skiers and snowboarders with all their needs in mind. These vans blend adventure, comfort, and functionality, providing the ultimate backcountry experience. Imagine having a warm and cozy space to return to after a long day of shredding the slopes, where every inch is optimized for your convenience. 

“Quote from a customer about our ski can conversion – What do they love about their adventure van when it comes to skiing.”  – Dave & Mary | Check out their campervan

people next to their van with skis

Designed with the Skier in Mind: 

Ski Vans vary in features and offerings, but they typically cater to the specific needs of skiers and snowboarders. Let’s explore what makes them distinctive:

  • Spacious Interior: A prerequisite for a ski van is the expansive interior with ample space for ski gear and personal items. You want an interior that allows skiers and snowboarders to comfortably change into their gear, store equipment, and relax before and after hitting the slopes.
  • Storage Galore: Skiers typically have tons of gear, including skis, poles, boots, helmets, and clothing. So, these vans are equipped with endless drawers and overhead storage compartments, ensuring every piece of equipment has its designated place. Exterior storage solutions like the Owl Vans ski locker offer lockable storage solutions for wet gear that you might not want inside your cozy van.
  • Garage Space: Unlike collapsible kayaks or inflatable paddle boards, skis and snowboards cannot be disassembled for storage. Therefore, skiers need ample garage space to store their equipment. To keep them organized and secure, it’s essential to have a hanging ski rack or a fully extended storage drawer in the garage.
  • Versatility: Ski Vans are designed to be multi-functional. They can house skiing equipment, mountain or road bikes, air compressors, and even a water hookup for post-adventure cleanups.
  • Insulation: When skiing, you’ll almost certainly encounter cold climates, whether you’re spending the day or overnight in your van. Therefore, insulating your Mercedes Benz Sprinter van is essential, and the choice of insulation depends on the specific ski locations, impacting not only your van’s insulation but also your water systems.
  • Heater: There is no investment better realized than a fuel fired heater when it’s below freezing outside. Think about it, when has anybody complained about returning to a warm vehicle with their frozen fingertips and toes after a few hours on the mountain? Pro Tip: use a hydronic style heater that provides heat to a coolant reservoir and lines below the van. These hot coolant lines can be used for many things, besides just cabin heat. By looping the heater lines around water lines, tanks, pumps, and drains, your entire system can be winterized while the heater is running. Some extreme users will go the extra step and use the hydronic system to pre-heat the engine coolant as well, allowing for easier cold weather starts and boosted performance of the vehicle’s heater and defrost system.
  • Refuge from a busy ski lodge: Anybody who has been out on a busy ski day can sympathize with the sheer lack of space to sit, disbelief over $10 hot chocolate, endless lines, and people who are inherently inconsiderate of others. Having your Ski Van parked nearby offers an invaluable refuge from the hustle and bustle of the lodge and provides much-needed home-like comforts. The money saved on drinks and food alone will nearly fund your entire trip!

* The concept of a “ski van” is incredibly versatile and can differ significantly from one skier to another. While there are typical features like storage for gear, heaters for comfort, and other essential amenities, designing a ski van is a deeply personal endeavor that depends on your unique lifestyle and skiing preferences. 

two sprinter vans in the snow

Ski Van Accessories for Camping

While not everyone desires a dedicated “Ski Van,” many seek vehicles for their trips to the slopes. These accessories can be added to any vehicle, be it a car, truck, or SUV, and they can significantly enhance your skiing adventures in terms of functionality and overall experience.

SeaSucker – SeaSucker is a renowned company known for its innovative vacuum-mounted racks that securely hold gear like skis and snowboards to your vehicle without needing permanent roof rails or crossbars.

Ski and Snowboard Roof Boxes – Roof boxes are essential for efficiently transporting skis and snowboards, protecting them from the elements, and providing additional storage space for your camping gear. Thule and Yakima are two well-known brands. Since your gear is likely to be wet and covered in snow, these exterior roof boxes and storage solutions keep that out of the interior of the van, allowing you to maintain a dry and cozy environment inside.

Snow Chains and Traction Aids – Snow chains and traction aids are crucial for maintaining control and safety when driving in snowy or icy conditions, ensuring you can reach your skiing destinations safely. Chains are legally required to be carried on board for most snow conditions. Make sure to understand and monitor the chain requirement levels issued in your area of travel. 

Winter Tires – Driving in snow and ice is nerve-wracking, but doing so without winter tires is scary and unsafe. Good tires provide the grip you need to stay safe on slippery roads. Pro Tip: look for the 3 peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) *photo of symbol here* on an array of all terrain tires. If your vehicle is 4 wheel drive, 3PMSF tires will even allow you to avoid installing chains in R2 conditions. 

Insulated Window Covers – Insulated window covers help keep your ski van warm and cozy during cold nights while providing privacy and reducing condensation inside the vehicle. Check out DIY Adventure Van Co. 

Safety Gear – Safety gear such as first aid kits, emergency blankets, and roadside assistance kits are crucial for ensuring safety during ski adventures, especially in remote areas. Adventure Medical Kits is a trusted brand.

Where to Find a Ski Van for Sale 

If you’re interested in the ski van life, there are numerous van conversion builders available. However, it’s crucial to prioritize experience and customization because your van will face demanding conditions. You want to ensure your builder has the necessary expertise. 

Whether you like to backcountry ski in the Rockies, explore the Alps, or venture into remote areas, your ski van will be a personalized reflection of your skiing adventures. If you’re ready to start building yours, contact us; we’ve crafted many ski vans for our clients and would be happy to assist you.

two sprinter campervans people are standing on

Using a Ski Van Conversion Kit

You can opt for a conversion kit for those who are handy and love a DIY project. These kits provide you with the essentials to transform into what you want. While it requires some work and expertise, creating a personalized ski adventure vehicle can be a rewarding way.

About Us

As a Mercedes-Benz Certified Expert Upfitter, ADF Sprinters has been perfecting the craft of van conversions since 2009.