Words: Graham Mueller
Photos: Aaron Gotthardt
At Flow Tailgate Alaska the down day parties are known to go long. Alaskan Brewing Company provides the beer and Black Bear energy drinks keep riders alive. Eventually, though, sleep will win and where you sleep is a matter of choice. The big three being camp, RV and hotel – now let the argument begin.
The cushiest option is clearly a hotel room. You get a clean warm bed every night. Hot showers are at your command along with pool and hot tub access, a continental breakfast, laundry and internet; all features of the Mountain Sky Hotel and Suites. The only problem is the commute to base camp every day. It's 30 miles each way; not exactly driving from the suburbs for a nine-to-five, but ice and wildlife will keep you awake. Then again if you have the money to splurge on a hotel room and a rental car you’ll probably be driving, and what’s another tank of gas?
One alternative is to drive your home and park your RV right at base camp. Every morning you’ll wake up to the goods. Wondering how the weather is? Take a look outside. You can cook up breakfast on the stove, sleep in a decent bed and have a relatively controlled climate. Running water is generally a no-go in the winter, so that hot shower will have to wait. One unexpected downfall of RV-ing comes up after the nightly parties. Try finding your rig in a sea of clones at 4am while stumbling through the swampy camp. You’d have an easier time getting a moose to tow you up The Tusk. One suggestion would be to bring a flag so you don’t break down the wrong door.
For the hardest of the hard, camping in a tent, car or snow cave is a budget option that leaves you with plenty of money to get to the goods. Given a shovel and a pile of snow, a handy camper can carve out a legit dwelling over the course of a couple hours. Ambitious campers this year dug out a house somewhere between hobbit hole and gerbil-tube-mansion, adding new rooms daily. Jordan, a tent camper, remarked at how much easier it was than expected. He's in a giant wall tent with pallet floors.
No matter where you sleep, just be sure that you do. There’s plenty of snow out there, but you have to be awake enough to slay it.
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