Last minute desire or just the need for a new adventure in the mountains? It is possible, going on a ski trip in a van is not incompatible.
In fact, this type of ski vacation is becoming more and more popular because it offers many advantages. But to leave in good conditions, it is necessary to anticipate some essentials to have a pleasant stay.
Here are a few tips for an unforgettable experience in the snow with your family or with your travel partner!
Must-haves not to forget
Whether you are a winter mountain person or a winter sports beginner, all you need is some common sense to prepare your bag before going on a ski trip in a van or a motorhome!
Winter activities are generally sporty, so it is recommended to pack practical, comfortable and especially warm stuff to face the cold. Be careful not to overload your bag because you need to keep some space to live in your van!
We will never insist enough, prefer soft bags to suitcases, much more practical to store in a van or camper. Moreover, there are many light but warm “thermal” clothes that will not take up space in your bag and that will dry quickly if you have to wash them.
Be ready to face the cold and the snow with the essentials to bring for your ski roadtrip in a van:
Your identity papers;
Some change because some ATMs in the resort take a high commission;
Ski / snow / hiking equipment (your own or rented on site);
Ski clothes: thick socks, ski suit and thin thermal clothes;
Comfortable clothes for the evening or off days;
Gloves, hats, scarves;
Sunglasses and mask;
Snow shoes to be able to walk at the end of the day;
Headlamp for the night if needed;
Rope to dry your clothes;
The list is not exhaustive and will also depend on your activities but remember: go light but useful!
Take 5 minutes to read our article The check list to prepare your trip in a van in order to leave in optimal conditions.
Essential precautions for a successful holiday in the mountains
Getting equipped to face the cold and the snow is not enough when you go to winter sports in a van or a campervan. It is also necessary to prepare your vehicle and to have in mind some important parameters before leaving!
We have listed the important points, and be aware that they are not only specific to winter holidays in the mountains and can also be useful during your next trips in a van or a camper van.
Quality tires and adapted equipment
If you have decided to go on a ski trip in a van, capervan or motorhome, it is important to have good tires. Check their condition before your departure (whether it is your vehicle or a rental van).
At Vanbreak, our tires are new, maintained and we offer anti-slip socks to put on your wheels without difficulty when approaching the ski resort. Having trouble putting them on? Don’t hesitate to ask for help from other travelers in vans!
Some resorts with a lot of snow and difficult access have made certain equipment mandatory for access such as chains or socks.
No risk is allowed on the road, and this is even more true in the mountains! If you don’t have the necessary equipment to reach the winter sports resort, don’t venture out, it could ruin your stay in your van.
Regularly remove snow from the vehicle
Although it’s not always so, it happens that the snow falls continuously and sometimes in thick layers in the ski resort! This is not a problem when you want to go on a ski trip in a van or camper, it makes the environment even more magical.
However, it is important to take care of your van and to remove as much snow as possible to preserve it. Letting snow get into the sunroof systems for example could damage it. Even worse, some vans, like Vanbreak’s, recharge their auxiliary battery partly with solar panels.
As you can imagine, snow on this equipment would prevent you from enjoying the comfort of your van and would damage your vehicle!
So be careful and take care of it!
Anticipate your autonomy
Granted, sweaters and socks will help you face the cold, but it’s also nice to have a stationary heater when you go to the mountains in a camper van or van!
Equipped with electric stationary heaters, our vehicles ensure you have continuous heating. You still have to anticipate your battery autonomy so that it works all night long.
If you park in a place with access to electricity, connect the vehicle to the sector with the cable (via the 220V socket). This will ensure you an unlimited autonomy!
If necessary, remember to recharge your batteries before dark to make sure you don’t wake up cold! To do this, recharge it on the sector in advance or use the function “maximum load” which will recharge the battery quickly thanks to the engine.
If your heating system runs on gas, it is obvious that you must always have a spare bottle or two!
Save your energy and don’t heat the van unnecessarily when you are not there!
AN-TI-CI-PA-TION, nothing else 😊.
Temperatures in the mountains during winter are often much lower than elsewhere, so it is essential to preserve the piping system of your van or motorhome. Indeed, it can happen that an ice blockage occurs in the pipes. If this happens, gently run a little warm water until the drain resumes.
To prevent this from happening, remember to open your wastewater valve to allow for a continuous flow. Of course, be sure to have a receptacle to catch the dirty water.
As you can see, caution and anticipation are the key words for a successful stay in the mountains with your camper van. Arm yourself with common sense and patience and your vacation will be unforgettable!
Where to park in the mountains in winter?
More and more travelers choose to go on vacation in the mountains in a van or camper van. That’s why ski stations have adapted and now offer facilities for winter adventurers!
Several options are available to you, here they are.
Parking lots adapted to converted vans and motor homes
The democratization of van road trip in the mountains has encouraged ski resorts to set up parking lots and service areas for vans, motorhomes and converted vans.
Although some of them are free, most of them offer a daily rate of no more than 10€ per day. These parking lots are only for parking and do not offer any specific services, unlike service areas, for example, which offer access to electricity and drinking water.
Alternating between the two options can be a good solution if you run out of autonomy.
If you are heading for an adventure in the Sierra Nevada, here is the address and phone number of the Las Sabinas parking , which is open to vans and campers:
Parking Las Sabinas
18196 Monachil, Granada
With no access to water nor electricity, this parking is only 5€ per day, a very low price. Open from 8am to 6pm in high season, this parking lot offers a breathtaking view of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada valley… Moreover, a telecabin accessible from the parking will bring you directly to the foot of the slopes!
The caravanning campsites
The advantages of ski trips in a van
Still hesitating to try the adventure of winter sports in a campervan?
We have listed a few arguments that will make you change your mind, we let you discover the others by yourself!
Indeed, vacations in the mountains in a van offer many advantages:
– The privilege to fall asleep and wake up in a calm and peaceful environment, facing great landscapes and amazing lights;
– Being mobile and without constraints! You won’t have any obligation of length of stay or ski resort, adjust your stay according to your desires!
– An economical trip: renting a van and staying in it will be cheaper than staying an hotel at the foot of the slopes, plus the trip to the ski resort. Thanks to your savings, you can offer yourself more restaurants and outings to change your habits!
– Being at the foot of the slopes and close to the ski lifts is priceless! Parking lots and spots for motorhomes and vans are often located close to the slopes.