“As winter approaches, it’s like this undeniable excitement and energy, because we know that’s where our deepest passions lie, in skiing and snowboarding,” says professional snowboarder Kimmy Fasani. “It always gets us really excited to load up the van and go on that first trip.”
Kimmy Fasani and Chris Benchetler have both made successful careers in snow sports. Chris is a professional freeskier, who (after a career competing in slopestlye events) now travels the globe with various film crews in search of epic locations to produce mind-blowing edits. And Kimmy is a professional snowboarder who was the first female to ever land a double backflip (both in the park and in the powder), she scored a TransWorld SNOWboarding Magazine cover in 2012, as well as “Women’s Rider of the Year” nominee at the 13th annual Riders’ Poll … among many other impressive accomplishments.
When they’re not at their home base of Mammoth Lakes, California, the couple (along with their son, Koa) lives out of their fully retro-fitted home on wheels: the Stealthy Marmot.
The Stealthy Marmot is a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 Van, and has been completely customized inside and out. It was originally put together for a winter trip with GoPro, and with intense winter conditions in mind, was constructed in a way that tried to mitigate those as much as possible. Marine-grade plywood and insulation help keep things warm and cozy.
The back of the van functions as the garage, and features three large drawers that are on ambulance slides, making their contents easily accessible. There’s also a ski and snowboard locker, which is fully waterproof. The boot section houses an outlet, so the couple can plug in boot warmers if need be. Chris’s brother, an environmental engineer, designed a UV filtration system so water could be filled from rivers, and other sources on the go. There’s also an outdoor shower for rinsing off with ease.
The couple have also gotten into other passions besides snow sports, including rock climbing and surfing, and being able to hit the road at any time has only strengthened their love of being outdoors.
Living on the road part-time isn’t just great for Chris and Kimmy’s careers and hobbies, it’s beneficial for their growing family, as well.
“One of the advantages for us as a family, and also as a new mom, for having a van was just being able to get outside,” says Fasani. “I think one of the hardest parts for me, after having Koa, was leaving the house … The van has allowed us to go camping, and be under the stars, and show Koa all the things that we love. It also replenishes our spirits.”
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