There are many ways to spend the night in the great outdoors far from home, everything from a basic sleeping bag under the stars, to a big-tired military truck-turned-RV, to a massive megayacht anchored at sea. Now there might be yet another: the Snowsuite. A cross between a motorhome, yacht and ski-in/ski-out hotel room, this all-new mobile shelter concept invites you to find a scenic spot on a snow-covered mountain or meadow and spend the night.
The first target demographic we think of in considering the idea of a snow-tracked motorhome is the backcountry skier. But looking over the exterior and interior design of the Giano concept, Snowsuite's first design, it seems it is less for the duct-taped Gore-Tex-clad ski bum and more for the fur-and-Bogner jet sets of Gstaad and Aspen. The idea of "spending a night high on a mountain under the stars, without giving up on anything a five-star hotel could offer" probably better suits a luxury resort business than a private owner.
In fact, if the Italian staff members of Snowsuite are reading this, they're probably unhappy with the description of it as a "motorhome" because they want people to imagine it more as a yacht on the snow. But we still think it's really more of a snow motorhome.
The stylish Giano living module compacts to fit neatly on the snow cat driving it and expands in width at camp to create a more spacious multi-room living space with a large picture window and transparent ceiling. It has a cozy, studio-style interior for two with a queen bed. The bed isn't pictured in Snowsuite's renderings, so we're left to assume that it's a pullout in the couch – not the most luxurious option, but the bed needs to fold away or compact in some way in order to allow the module to compact for transit.
The Giano's main room also includes a whirlpool tub sized for two, its location offering views out of both the adjacent side window and the large, triple-panel picture window. A separate bathroom includes the toilet, sink and shower.
Designed more like a hotel room than a fully functional RV or apartment, the Giano includes a mini-fridge and small, two-person bar top but no stove or food preparation equipment. There's also a flat-panel 3D TV and a remote control system for the lights, electronics and heating.
With the Giano, you can tread up to a high point with a scenic panorama, to a quiet, isolated part of a snow-covered forest, to the edge of an iced-over lake – perhaps even on it – or to anywhere else you might want to enjoy a snowy, romantic evening with a significant other. Or, going back to the backcountry skier example, park around a nice skiing area, spend nights watching TV and drinking beers with your buddy and days skiing, climbing and exploring the snowy landscape. Depending on the terrain and the vehicle's capabilities with a living module on back, the Snowsuite might even serve as a shuttle for ski runs.
We like Snowsuite's idea and the Giano layout, but have one gripe: it's desperately crying out for a fireplace of some kind, even if just a small electric one mounted to the wall. But since the Giano is still in the concept stages, perhaps Snowsuite will add such a feature or option before launching it.
Another feature we'd love to see is a user-friendly detachment interface. Spending the night out on the snow is a fun novelty, but it'd make more sense to have a year-round, all-weather design. If you could transfer the module from snow cat to truck or trailer chassis, you might interfere with the image of a luxury "snow yacht," but you'd make the Giano much more useful, both for private owners and for businesses. A set of legs for standing alone would also be valuable – a small, picturesque bungalow atop a lush, green mountain in the summer could be every bit as attractive as one on the snow.
We originally found the Snowsuite through its Indiegogo campaign, but that page shows as "being updated" now. Either way, the concept is clearly not ready for the snow just yet, but we do hope to cover a more developed prototype or market-ready version in the future, as the Giano would be a pretty cool option for overnighting outdoors.