While our antipodean winter culture can barely compete with that of North America or the Swiss Alps per se, we can still admire these stunning, contemporary reinterpretations of the traditional chalet. Drawing upon the practicality of gabled rooftops, a quintessential use of pine and pared back approach to the interior, here are a few elevated ski lodges that we’ve found particularly enticing.
Maison Glissade — Ontario, Canada
Set on a narrow lot in a private ski club development in Collingwood, Ontario, Maison Glissade is a two storey, cantilevered residence by Atelier Kastelic Buffey. The simple, single-gable structure engages an adjacent ski hill on the same axis as the chalet while the imbalanced upper volume embodies a kinetic energy similar to that of a skier on his/her forward trajectory. The lower level counter-balances this movement with a rhythmic pattern of both solid and spacious volumes resulting in a light-filled holiday home.
Split View Mountain House — Norway
Accessed via the lower level, an ascending staircase leads up to the soothing minimalist living quarters of this multi-faceted house. The split living and dining rooms boast incredible mountain views in every direction through their glass walls. The open plan kitchen, meanwhile, links these two spaces — a clever aspect of the design that facilitates contact instead of cutting off members of the family from one another when in different areas of the home.
Concrete Cabin — Switzerland
Located in Flims, Switzerland, this 40sqm house, known as Concrete Cabin, takes the form of an aged log cabin. Designed by Nickisch Sano Walder Architekten as a holiday home for up to two people, the award-winning abode, Refugi Liepthaus, was once home to a historic all-wood barn. Replaced by this the all-concrete creation last year — a far less costly alternative to restoring the historic wood structure — the effect is a beautiful brutalist exterior that gives way to a fittingly austere interior too.
Sirdalen Winter Cottage — Norway
Hugging the mountain near the Ålsheia ski area in Norway, this 165sqm monolithic residence is intended to become almost invisible over time. Set into the mountainside and aided in its camouflage by plants and vegetation, the building reiterates the shapes of the mountain slopes. In time, it will stain with water that runs naturally over the un-guttered side walls and roof, decreasing bit by bit in visibility.
Chalet Anzere — Switzerland
This Swiss chalet-style vacation home brings to mind traditional wooden buildings with high gabled roofs, decorative carvings, rows of balconies and exposed wood beams. However, it’s anything but a cookie-cut reiteration. Inspired by one of the oldest chalets in Switzerland, the Grand Chalet Balthus in Rossinière, they fitted the entire villa under one solid, clear wrapper. The new chalet is at once compact and spacious.
Laurentian Ski Chalet — Quebec, Canada
Designed as a weekend retreat for a family with school children, its site one of very high elevation. Surrounded by a dense forest of spruce, maple, beech and birch trees. Elevated on posts to allow snow and spring run-off to flow freely beneath the structure, an open plan kitchen that faces out toward the expansive view and nine-metre-long bay window so all that’s left to do after a day on the slopes is to focus on the remarkable landscape.
Charlevoix Chalet — Quebec, Canada
Canadian firm Bourgeois Lechasseur Architectes puts a fresh spin on the traditional clapboard chalets with this 2014 dwelling in Charlevoix, a lofty winter sports area. Sitting on two alpine acres, the cantilevered home is clad in white cedar planks outside and warm natural ones inside. The interiors boast polished concrete floors, exposed structural steel beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows that afford stunning views of the St. Lawrence River Valley, but it’s hard to look past the gorgeous heated outdoor pool.
Nook Residence — Quebec, Canada
Clinging to the steep mountainside, this white-painted holiday home MU Architecture in rural Quebec is comprised of two stacked volumes. Encompassing 278sqm, the house is clad in white-painted pine which helps to blend the building with its surrounding snowy landscape in winter. A wooden staircase leads to the lower level, which contains two bedrooms, a bathroom and a family-friendly dormitory-style sleeping area with bunk beds. A restrained material palette creates a bright and warm ambience.