Bruce the bus on it's way to Tailgate, Alaska

Words By: Brock Butterfeld / Photos By: Ben Girardi    
   
 

The sound of avalanche bombs wake me up as I lay in the bed of my truck. It’s below freezing and I have very little free space. The thought of getting out of my sleeping bag to put on my cold boots is painful, yet I know the reward will be worth it. I catch first tram, and try not to think about drying out my wet gear in my cold, cramped truck after a full day of shredding. At the time, I remember thinking, "there must be a better way to chase snow."


After many hours of research, I was able to find a turbo diesel, 4x4, short bus located in New York. The idea to convert a vehicle like this into an adventure-mobile capable of hauling sleds seemed like the answer. A one-way plane ticket preceded a road trip back to Utah in the beast. Before I knew it, I was neck-deep in building what would be my first real home.

Brock welding on the sled deck

Colin Spencer spreads some tasty pow butter.


 

 


According to the U.S Census Bureau, the average cost of a home was over $300,000 in 2014. That same year, Business Insider reported that if you wanted to live in Denver, you’d need to make at least $48,123 per year to support a mortgage. More money means more hours in the office, which means less time spent in the outdoors. I bought my bus for an initial cost of $8,500. After investing about $4,000 in renovations, I own a mobile tiny home for under $13,000.


The limited space is teaching me to get rid of material items that I don’t need--to stick to the basics. The bus has a bathroom with a shower, a kitchen, a dining area that converts into sleeping quarters for four people, and a small wood stove for heating and cooking. For power, I have two solar panels up top and a backup generator stored under the sled deck. BaseCamp makes a compact washing machine that I bring out when the socks get funky, an on-demand hot water shower for scrubbing down, and a two-burner propane cooker that I use.   

 

After investing about $4,000 in renovations, I own a mobile tiny home for under $13,000.

Brock hits the perfect late night light.

Jacob Carey shows off for the peanut gallery

Colin and Jacob scope "The Books"


 

 


However fancy this all may sound, living out of a bus has its pitfalls. For example: it’s not easy to park a 30’ bus with a trailer in a parking lot, let alone leave once you get in. Also, with four guys crashing in it, the 76-square-foot living space can quickly become a Febreze commercial gone wrong. And of course, there’s being “that guy who lives in a bus down by the river”.


On the plus side, I am rent and mortgage-free, and have the ability to go wherever, whenever. It’s dumping in Jackson Hole? See you in 5 hours! Home is where you park it. Living out of a bus, working less, and playing more, can be very rewarding. Much better than being tied down by a mortgage, in my opinion. My back porch view always changes, and trailhead access is that much easier. In the end, if snowboarding doesn’t work out, the bus has a resale value of around $25k! -Brock Butterfield


 

 

Brock still lives out of his 76-square foot bus he calls "Bruce" and will be chasing storms again all winter. To follow his wherabouts check out: buslifeadventure.com and stay tuned to Bomb Snow for 5 more episodes this season.

 

Ben Girardi took these photos in AK during "Bruce the Bus's" first pilgramige to Tailgate Alaska last April. Check him out at: bengirardiphotography.com

A typical day in the Chugach for Mr. Butterfield.

Austin Gibney keeps the fire stoked on the summit of Haines Highway, AK.


Words BY: Brock Butterfeld


Photos BY: Ben Girardi

   
   
 

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