Some pro athletes, when they tire of jet-setting around the world in search of the next big adventure, retire to huge, multimillion-dollar mansions (there are even snowboarders who do it). But for 40-year-old snowboarder Mike Basich, he thought having less would allow him to enjoy life more. That's why his dream home is a tiny, 228-square-foot cabin that cost him about $20,000 in materials, plus five years of sweat equity to build.
"I decided I don't need to go out and chase the best snow," Basich says. "I can stay at home and wait for it." So, in 2004, he bought up 40 acres of undeveloped land near Donner Summit, California (just a few miles outside of Truckee) for $225,000, and set about designing and building the cabin he calls "Area 241."
The cabin is perched at 7,000 feet elevation, and boasts sweeping vews of the Sierra Nevada. It's three miles from the nearest road, which means that come winter it's only accessible by snowmobile, snowcat, snowshoe or ski touring. It's completely off-grid, too, relying on a woodstove and passive solar (through massive glass walls) for heat, a nearby snowmelt creek for water (he collects it in storage tanks before it runs dry in late summer) and a solar panel for electricity.
As small and spare as it sounds, though, Basich's tiny cabin isn't entirely without creature comforts. He's nearly finished building a rope tow that will rise 600 feet up a nearby hill, allowing him to ride laps all day with literally no lift line. And, as he coyly mentions in the video tour below, "I've got a wood-fire hot tub for, uh, when the ladies are around." Now that's luxe living.