Successful Winter Trip to Colorado


Well-known member
My thanks to forum members for comments, previous posts, and suggestions on handling cold weather. We just got back from a 6 week trip to Colorado. 1 week of travel and 5 weeks of skiing.

The locals said this was the coldest winter in 40-50 years. Overnight temps were rarely above zero and several times hit -20 or -30. Dual pane windows REALLY are worthwhile.

I had planned to supplement the furnace with Ceramic Disc Electric Heaters, but I found that the only way to effectively heat the underbelly was via the furnace. A heater in the basement, pointed toward the rear, was not nearly as effective as heating via the furnace (so said the remote thermometer). So I rented a 100# propane tank and connected it on the doorside, using the regular doorside 40# tank as backup.

I can say that at -30, it's hard to keep the underbelly warm enough, although it was easy to keep the interior space comfortable. So we had intermittent water problems and had to keep several gallons of water available throughout the trip, as a backup.

At -20 and -30 we got a little frost in the corners at the head of the bed - pulled the bed out an inch to leave an air gap - the frost would evaporate as the temps rose. Using a humidifier to deal with the very dry air put frost on a couple of nearby windows at night, but again, allowing air circulation around the windows allowed the frost to evaporate during the day.

Had various failures getting water into the rig, including a heated Pirit hose that quit heating. But generally the heated hose, heat tape on the fittings coming into the UDC, and a lamp in the UDC kept water running. (And Pirit shipped a replacement hose overnight air.)

One enhancement I'm working on is to add a manifold with short hoses to better manage water distribution and to make it easier to keep the distribution gear warm. Not my idea - copying it from somewhere in the forum.

Had some problems with frozen drain valves that may get fixed by adding a skirt next year. After finding Gray#1 valve frozen, and defrosting it, I decided to put in a pvc sewer line with heat tape and insulation and leave Gray 1 & 2 open. That worked without any problems. Gray 1 and 2 valves continued to freeze and thaw, but being open, we had no problems.

Managing freezes of the Black holding tank valve required me to drain and flush on days when the temp was high and the valve was operating. Couldn't afford to wait for the tank to be 2/3 full if that would occur during an arctic air blast.

Slideout awnings were getting a lot of snow, which required a quick fix to avoid damage. Walmart had pillow batting (2 or 3 cu feet in plastic?) for $2 each. Put each in a plastic trash bag and tied them together, then spaced them out to support the awnings, in turn supporting the snow. Worked great. I know some people use beachballs, but they're hard to find in Colorado in January.

Getting on the roof sometimes 2x per day to clear snow, I had to modify the ladder. I weigh 250 and the ladder is rated at 300 (per the label), but the plastic supports crack. Heartland had sent me 4 replacements. After installing the 4th, I decided to strengthen the rung supports. Added a 3/4 - 1 1/4" hose clamp under each rung support. The guy at the hardware store suggested using $2 worth of "cut your own gasket" material in between the clamp and the ladder. Great idea! The hose clamps hold tight, providing great support for the rungs. No more cracked plastic - the ladder is rock solid now.

All in all a challenging experience, but how else do you get to ski for 5 weeks? Next year I think we'll get a skirt in the hope of keeping the underbelly warmer and maybe using less propane.


Well-known member
Wow! What an adventure. Thanks for sharing. I used to have a lot of fun skiing in Colorado when growing up. I don't know how you had time to ski with all you had to do to keep your accommodations from freezing!


Founding Texas-West Chapter Leaders-Retired
Thanks for sharing! This is exactly the experience we needed to hear about. We love to ski and had a similar challenging week-long experience in Durango this winter... -26 was a record low one night. I hope to learn from your post and our own experience to be better prepared for the NEXT ski trip!!!
Hello Dan and Ruth

Well, that sounds like a lot of fun, RVing and Skiing at the same time. We live just outside of Toronto, Ontario and Leona and I purchased a new 2011 Grand Canyon so we could start full timing just before she retires. With you detailed outline of your experience, I am now sure we can do it. In our area, it rarely gets below -20 degrees C or -4 degrees F.

Thanks again,

Pat & Leona Skanes
Member Number: 1833
Region: Canada
Chapter: Ontario

2011 Landmark
Grand Canyon
2006 GMC Sierra 2500 HD, Duramax with Allison Trans., 4X4,