by Kristen Lummis, braveskimom.com
Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, there were a lot of important men in professional skier Zack Giffins life.There was his father, whom he describes as a wild inventor, a man who was constantly developing new ideas and marketing them.There was his grandfather, who loved to drive in the mountains. We lived about 40 minutes from Eldora, explains Zack. And my grandfather would take me skiing because he wanted an excuse to drive.
While the family mostly skied Eldora, occasionally theyd head up to Arapahoe Basin.
Colorado is a great place, there are so many options for mountains. When wed ski new mountains, it created a desire for exploration at the same time as it created a desire to ski.
And then, there were his brothers. Zack is the middle of three boys and credits his bros, as well as his family position, with his success as a professional skier.My inspiration came from my brothers. My older brother led the way and showed us what was possible. He gave me something to work toward. My little brother was phenomenally gifted and was trying to overtake my position as his older brother involved in skiing. Together, and with our friends, we built our skill sets.
Chasing Pow In Style
Today, Zack Giffin is known for skiing in films, as well as for being one of the hosts (and the skilled builder) on FYIs Tiny House Nation.In late 2011, Zack and his partner professional skier Molly Baker, drove out of Boulder with their newly built 112-square foot tiny house. Their eventual destination? Opening day at Silverton.
Our idea was to go on the road and film. Id owned a van that had a wood stove, but we decided that was too ski bum. Renting an RV was too pricey, so we decided to do something really rad, at the opposite end of the spectrum, and build a tiny house.
One of his sponsors (and Mollys too), Outdoor Research, funded the house, and Zack, together with friends and family, built it, over seven weeks, in Boulder.They documented their trip to Silverton, as well as the rest of that traveling season, in a 20 minute film, Livin Tiny: A Quest for Powder.
At times during that season, there were five people living in the tiny house. Thats 22.4 square feet per person, not including room for endless ski and snowboard gear.After that first season, the tiny house became Zack and Mollys residence and from then on, its mostly been the two of them.Anything less than five people in the house feels like total luxury, laughs Zack.
Hammers and Skis
Living in a tiny house himself, Zack was the perfect choice to co-host FYIs reality show, Tiny House Nation.During the first season, he helped finish a tiny home for a Conifer, Colorado couple whod lost their much larger home in the 2012 Lower North Fork Fire.During this episode, he created a desk that lowered without needing to be cleared or cleaned up into the base of a murphy bed, quickly turning a home office into a comfortable guest room.
When I asked him about this specific innovation, Zack was modest about his creativity.I was brought up in an environment where I was encouraged to try anything. If we believe in ourselves, we can all create these things. Creativity is just like athletics. The more you do, the more you feel like doing and the better you get at it.
One of the things I like about Zack and his tiny house lifestyle is how it so effectively enlarges the ski bum stereotype of skiing all winter and building houses all summer. Im also totally enamored with the idea of tiny ski houses instead of gigantic ski homes.So I asked Zack if he sees a place for tiny house living at major ski resorts.Tiny houses dont have to be like mine, on a trailer. If youve lived in a 6,000 square foot home, then a tiny house might be a 2,000 or 1,500 square foot home.
Because tiny houses take less land, Zack believes they make good sense any place where real estate is at a premium.I think tiny houses could include a lot more people in the sport of skiing and help the life of skiing into the future.