Mike Basich on AREA-241
Mr. Basich is a badass. We should all aspire to strike out on our own like he has. Below is the quote that appeared in the October issue of TransWorld and the full-length interview that it was pulled from. Mike is currently working on a movie about his life as a snowboarder. It’s called Open Space: The Untold Stories of Mike Basich and will be released this fall on his Web site www.241-USA.com.
What is area 241?
AREA-241 is a playground for me and my clothing company Two For One (241-USA.com) to explore new ideas. Living in the mountains like this has been a child hood dream for me. I am finally doing it after traveling the world I have landed in Donner Summit, on 40 acres at 7,100 feet. Over the last 24 years I have been traveling to find places to explore, I finally decided to bring those things to my home instead of going out and chasing them. This is really what I was after. Now I get to do this in my own yard, from photos to coming up with new product ideas, I really get to test this stuff out in a real snow world. As a child I wanted to live off the land so my cabin has been a learning experience of how to build with what you have to work with. My land is mostly granite so my cabin became a granite cabin, and from the electrical to learning how to build a tow rope, it has made me more aware of things at home and where ever I go now. For sure makes you do things different when you get out there and do it yourself.
I never learned much when I was in school, I learned what I know from going out there and doing it.
When did you decide to carve out this little corner of the earth for yourself? And why? It was just time. When I look back now when I bought this place I realized I was in a place in my life that I was feeling it was time to stand on my own two feet.
Break down your daily routine at Area-241?
Man, every day is different. Well. Yesterday I woke up to a bear trying to get into my grease tank on my truck, mixed 25 bags of cement to do some rock work around my hot tub. Drove my little solar golf cart to the lake by my house for a swim. Worked on my snowcat, had some mice chew up some wires. And went on an hour hike down my creek to find the perfect smooth rock to finish one of the steps into my hot tub. Hope to finish the hot tub in the next couple days. Now winter at Area-241 is a different world. And yes it has been very different every day. Sometimes it takes me ten minutes to sled to my house, sometimes it has taken me five hours. On the big storms of course that is when I make sure I am there, they are the funniest but you can’t be in a hurry. Sometimes I will sled to Sugarbowl to go ride on the big days. Sledding to the bar is always fun to, I added a full resort groomer to Area-241 this last fall, and that has made my world up here a lot easier to get around and building jumps will never be the same.
Over the last 24 years I have been traveling to find places to explore, I finally decided to bring those things to my home instead of going out and chasing them.
How do you power the place? Right now I have solar panels. My cabin is pretty simple. I wired it a lot like my van, it’s all 12 volts with inverters when I need them. Most of the things in daily life are 12 volt, cell phone, computer. Cameras. It’s nice to not have utility bills anymore.
How much time do you spend up there?
Right now I am spending 50 percent of my time there. I hope by next winter I will be there full time. I have internet now which helps take care of stuff without leaving, but with my clothing company I go to my warehouse at times to ship stuff out. I still do all that stuff myself so it’s a bit of time, it’s only 45 minutes from my house but snowmobiling three miles to my car to drive to my warehouse is always a task in the middle of a snow storm. So if you’re going to order a 241 product, please don’t order it during a snow storm. Or if you do, you now know that is took a snowmobile or a split board, to car to ship your order.
I don’t get lonely really. My days are normally pretty full of stuff to do.
How often do you have visitors?
I actually have quite a bit. Seems everyone is always excited to go experience something new, so people seem to want to make the truck up on their split board, sled, snowshoes whatever it may be, to come up and ride the homemade tow rope, or just hang out in the hot tub. In the summer there is a bike trail near my house so I get friends stopping by often during their ride.
Do you get lonely? What do you do to pass the time, besides snowboarding?
I don’t get lonely really. My days are normally pretty full of stuff to do. So it takes a lot for me to get lonely. I can be in Truckee within 20 minutes though if I feel the need to connect more with people. But I get a lot of people coming up here.
How did you build this home? How long did it take? Who helped?
Two weeks before I started to build my place I decided to build it out of rocks instead of wood. Simply cause I realized rocks survive a lot better in the weather I deal with here. But it added a couple years of extra work. This next October I will be done with my cabin and it will be four years. My house has been built with approximately 175 ton of granite moved by hand, my mom has been my number one worker. I tried to hire friends to go find rocks on my property and bring them back, but there is nothing like family. My cabin is built under the golden ratio and if you want to know more about what I am up to here, I am making a movie to share the world this coming fall. I be listing it on my website 241-usa.com. It’s still taking shape but it will be a bit of my younger life and finding snowboarding and what it has done for me in life.
List off all the “toys” you’ve got up there?
My latest is a 1997 275 Bombardier snow cat. Got a nice tiller on the back, snowmobiles, my moms old Passport with homemade snow tracks, saw mill to mill wood for my snowboards, my split board and some nice good old four-foot snowshoes when all else fails.
My house has been built with approximately 175 ton of granite moved by hand, my mom has been my number one worker.
It seems like you embrace the DIY approach more than a lot of other snowboarders, or humans for that matter. Why do you choose to do-it-yourself with almost everything you do in life?
It’s a simple reason of wanting to feel like I moved through life being me. I like knowing what and how things work that I use in my life. So it leads me almost every time to doing it myself to explore and understand what it is that I am doing as well at the same time it gives me knowledge to help make a choice for something better fitting for the next thing. I never learned much when I was in school, I learned what I know from going out there and doing it. So I really haven’t stopped, not about to anytime soon either, life is just way too exciting.