I have had 5 rigs
sleeper slide in
cab over slide in
westy pop top
Current SMB with Cruiser hard top
lived in a ski area at 8,000 feet for 10 years
lived in mexico for 10 years, traveled coast to coast (car not camping)
Just spent two weeks in Southern Utah in my hard top SMB
over christmas, lots of rain and snow
Pop top - loose heat / will not retain heat / can insulate, but not effective
but hey, get a mummy bag ...
- putting up with a snow load, possible problimatic
- putting down with snow/ice on canvas...not ideal
Hard top - we have the stock suburban furnace
warm and toasty at all times for my wife who needs it hot
IMHO - hard top is the way to go
Roadblock- daily driver
HOWEVER, 3 miles daily driver with less mpg vs Family Comfort?
I am pretty sure if wife and kids are warm, dry and happy, you will get them into the rig more often........
SMB '01 Cruiser, V-10, E350 EB, Quigley
XL storage, Bushwackers, BFG skins, Mojave Teflons, Fiamma 45i
410 amp batts, 360 watts Solar, Blue Sky contoler
4cf Truck Fridge, Coleman A/C, Yam 2400
Deaver rear, Bilstein, Garmen 1490t, Viper & Kenwood
Roof rack, 2 ladders, Ft & Rr Bump w/ Gen box & Bike rack
Full Custom int. w/ Real Wood cabinets & built in Pith Helmet rack
Just asking, but how are you gonna get all the prerequisite ski gear in there. 4 pairs of skis, ski boots, regular boots, all-weather gear etc.. I would think four people would be tight in temperate, let alone, winter climate. On the other hand, very cool rigs and I guess you could rent a locker as soon as you get there.
I have camped many times at the ski mountain with my family of 4 and a dog. I put the skis in the ski rack on top or in the cargo carrier. We put all bags in the front seats and hang the gear from the ceiling to dry overnight. I personally wouldn't want any bigger except maybe an EB van rather than our RB. Make sure it has a built in heater is the best recommendation!
06 E350 Sportsmobile 4x4 RB50 V-10
We have had a few nights down to -17f. We have a diesel fired furnace that put out plenty of heat, but even with that running and keeping the core air about 70f the issues we found were:
-Around 10-15f or so the floor still gets to be pretty chill, (easily solved with insulated carpet & down booties), but can freeze interior waterlines on the floor.
-With the canvas pop-top, the cool air coming off the canvas walls can make quite a curtain of cold breeze that would prompt us to close the top at ~0f. Much colder and the plasticized canvas and vinyl windows become too stiff to fold up anyway (and perhaps might crack?).
-If the dash vent is left open, a breeze from the front can blow in and cool things down quite a bit in just a few minutes. Some ventilation is good, but with windows you can control it a bit better.
With the pop-top down and furnace on even the coldest nights were quite comfy though.
You may want to look at a Voyager top.
my diesel furnace in my RB50 SMB with penthouse top has no problem keeping the truck warm and comfortable in very cold conditions.
however also keep in mind that you will need your plumbing to be winterized "drained" as the standard SMB plumbing install includes some piping and flat plate below the truck in unheated area. It is possible to move those items into the truck and then run the diesel furnance when away from the truck skiing to keep the plumbing warm. of course this is a commitment you would need to maintain in freezing temps (or drain out)..
just wanted to add this to help you think the process thru...
James - KC2SYG
2005 Jeep LJ Rubicon 4BT Cummins
1988 Toyota Land Cruiser 62
2012 Jeep Cherokee SRT8
2010 BMW R1200GSA
2006 KTM 640 Adventure
2012 KTM 350EXC-R