Exposure

How to Live Well on the Road, According to Pro Skier Kalen Thorien

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Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

Professional skier Kalen Thorien has been living out of her 1993 Bigfoot trailer and 60-series Land Cruiser for two years. This past winter, she used the setup to chase powder all over British Columbia, and then posted up at Brundage Mountain Resort in Idaho.

“The snow was just too good, plus they have free camper parking,” Thorien says. Right now, she’s filming with Warren Miller on Beartooth Pass in Montana, and she’ll be headed to Escalante National Monument in Utah later this month for canyoneering and backpacking. For Thorien, the ability to chase snow, or any good adventure, has been freeing. “It’s been great to just move with the seasons and go where I want to go,” says Thorien. “It allows me to go to all the places I really love and not have to sacrifice being stuck owning a home or renting a place.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I’ve had [Francis the Land Cruiser] long before the trailer. She’s an old ’86 diesel with about 250,000 miles. She’s been the best purchase of my life.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“Francis is a rust bucket, but she goes.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

Thorien’s trailer has an attached awning that pulls out to create a patio hangout space.

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“The nice thing about this trailer is that I’m definitely not roughing it. I love the fact that the outdoors are right at my front door. It’s pretty rare to get that unless you have a million dollars—or a camper.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

The Bigfoot trailer kitchen has a sink, gas stove, fridge, and even an oven. “I splurged on nonbreakable cookware so you can, like, whack people with a plate and it won’t shatter.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I didn’t want to deal with a septic system, so I changed my ‘wet bath’ to a ‘wet-gear room.’ It holds all my climbing gear, mountaineering gear, canyoneering gear, outerwear, tents, backpacks, ice axes, yoga mats, and laundry.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“My favorite part about sleeping in here is knowing that where I’m waking up is just the best place I could possibly be. It’s somewhere I actually want to be, and it usually means there’s an adventure ahead and something to do.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I’ve been putting photos and everything from my travels up here—places that make me happy.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I’ve got my library of sophistication, so it looks like I study things!”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

Thorien picked up a Gretsch hollow-body bass guitar last summer. “I’ve been playing her as much as possible. It’s been a nice way to pass the time,” she says

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I usually cook with red wine. Not in the food. I like to drink it while I cook.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“I do tons of salads and cold foods when I’m down in the desert or when it’s summertime. In the winter, I’m a big ramen person. Honestly, I eat a lot healthier because I have to eat simply.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“The nomadic lifestyle has given me a confidence. It forces you to really rely on yourself and to keep a calm head. It’s taught me the importance of the friendships you make and the people you meet along the way and not to just shake someone off. Lastly, it’s given me a real appreciation for the here and now. You can’t predict tomorrow. Just step out your front door and look around and just take in your surroundings, because it’s really about this moment, who you are, and loving that and being okay with that, and just really being grateful.”

Photo: Will Saunders/The Locals Project

“If I had to describe the setup—Francis the Land Cruiser and Bigfoot the trailer—they would definitely be the ‘Dreammaker,’ because they’ve totally made dreams come true, as cheesy as that sounds.” Thorien plans to thru-hike Glacier National Park and the Wind River Range this year. But when the snow starts falling, it’s back to chasing powder in Francis and Bigfoot.

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