In October of 2011, Molly Baker and fellow Outdoor Research Ski Ambassador, Zack Giffin, started building their dream home on wheels. Inspired by an introduction to Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, the purpose was to tow their cozy cabin around to North America’s most coveted mountain passes and ski areas. Much like Zack’s years of ski bumming from his van, which included a converted wood stove fireplace, the tiny house was built on the vision of the mountains being your backyard, wherever the house may roam, and home being a place that exists wherever the snow is falling.

Now in their third year of living tiny, our group of winter gypsies shares the experience of living vagrantly from one ski destination to the next, making memories one powder turn at a time. We’re fortunate that Molly has agreed to write about many aspects of living tiny and living her dreams for Tumbleweed. She’s an inspiration to all of us.

Tumbleweed as a cozy refuge, in the cosmos (photo by Ian Provo)


Living in a tiny home innately frees your time, energy, and space. So, what is it that all of us will choose with this new-found freedom? What experiences will we prioritize given our new autonomy? What skills shall we master when the obligations of life’s to-dos are suddenly undone?

We decided to simply go play in the snow. We went skiing.

Skiers have been working at living small for a long time — vans, campers, RV’s — every living space has been tried, tested, and accepted. As a community, the wandering skier has acknowledged that a beautifully comfortable living space is a necessary sacrifice for your life’s pursuit of profound experiences in the mountains of the world. These experiences give us something to talk about with others. They deepen our own identities. They provide an eternal satisfaction.

By discovering tiny homes, I’ve found a life previously believed impossible. Next to the warmth of our tiny house wood stove, reading a book after a long day of skiing, we often meet and invite in our neighbors of the ski world—cold, a bit dejected, and ready to get out of their van. The tiny house is an epic solution for a longtime dilemma. How do you prioritize skiing and live in a space cozier than a Westfalia with a space heater?


Free to play: Molly practices yoga in her backyard (photo by Patrick Orton)


Because all of us after all, desire a space, some kind of place, where we can retreat and nurture ourselves and the piece of the world that we can call our own. If you’re a skier that can be a van, an expensive home at the base of the mountain, or a cabin where you have to drive to and from your skiing for the day. Instead of driving to and from the mountain, or working to pay for the house at the base of the ski area, we’re living in a tiny home. Free to play. Free to create. Free to be bored and cozy. Free to ski. Free to find purpose.