It’s been several years since pro snowboarder Austin Smith decided to convert his brother’s 1953 GMC Firetruck into the perfect mobile tiny home and camp out in the parking lot of ski resorts to maximize his time on the hill. We were envious when that journey began and we’re envious now.
That living in a van can be a transformative experience is a well-worn idea by now. And not always for the better when daily tasks like peeing and pooping become much more difficult. But if it works, hey, more power to you.
Before calling his firetruck home, and after a few injuries, Smith says he was jaded with the pro snowboarding life. Posting up in the parking lot and becoming chummy with the denizens, though, helped him to reconnect with what about the sport he fell in love with in the first place.
“I had a run of bad luck with 4 knee surgeries in 6 years,” he explains. “It changed my relationship with snowboarding, made me question if it was worth it, pain, surgery, rehab vs. powder with friends. But the powder wasn’t even fun anymore, I was scared of snowboarding, of getting hurt, stressed I wasn’t good enough and anxious of becoming a washed-up pro with a broken body. I was here mentally for years. Then this obnoxious, cheesy, dorky firetruck came into my life. And while living in the truck, in ski resort parking lots and snowboarding everyday, I found the fun again.”
This winter, Smith took his firetruck on a journey from Oregon to Alaska and by the looks of it, he scored along the way.