Photos: Ben Ritter

03/07/17

Captn_Julz

Julien has been traveling/living in camper vans about 3 years now, from Montreal to Florida and from New York to Mexico!

Well known snowboarder and Drink Water co-founder Austin Smith made lots of noise this winter with his vintage GMC fire truck converted in an one-of-a-kind adventure mobile allowing him to be the first to hit the slopes! Read a quick interview here. 

Where did you find that truck? How challenging was it to build it? 

Found the truck where all great things live, eBay. Someone in Wisconsin started the project and then called it quits and my brother flew out and drove it back to Oregon with the intention of finishing it.  But it sat in my parents driveway for 4 years and then I took it over and finished it up. It is a 1953 GMC Firetruck, most of the exterior was completed when I got it but the inside was bare. Figuring out the floor plan and what materials to use takes time and I guess that's why it sat for 4 years while I could think about it.  When it came time for action I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and it only took a few months to finish the project.



You could of built a 4 x 4 Sprinter or a get a Sportsmobile, why a fire truck?

The Firetruck was pawned off on me by my brother so I was working with what I had. I wanted something that was more livable than drivable with enough space to easily dry wet snowboard gear.  And simple as possible with nothing to break, Goal Zero solar system for lights, wood stove for heating and cooking, a big insulated jug for water and a Himalayan survival suit.  Also it cost 5k, vans are expensive.



How many people can sleep in it? 

There is the master bedroom upstairs and the couch downstairs folds into a bed plus a lot of floor space. You could sleep six but two is the magic number for still being able to cook and move around comfortably. 





Does the truck allow you to ride fresh tracks every day?

I moved into the truck on New Years Eve in the Mt. Bachelor parking lot and stayed there for six weeks.  It snowed almost everyday and I snowboarded everyday so lots of powder was had.  But I need to install the weather seeding attachment to really guarantee it.





Are you planning longer road trips or projects with the truck?

It is not the type of vehicle you zip around the country in. It is more of a mobile home that I can take somewhere and be set up for an extended period of time.  I’ll take it to Mt. Hood this summer for the summer snowboard season, maybe the Oregon coast for Fall and whatever ski resort I want to spend my early season at next winter, that allows camping…



What’s coming for the Drink Water project?

More of the same.  Make movies, create events, remind people snowboarding and snowboarders don’t need energy drinks.  

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