Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seinfeld's Telluride Estate

The Ski House of the Day is the eye-popping, jaw-dropping Telluride estate owned by comedian Jerry Seinfeld:
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The estate features 11 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms in a 14,000+ sq. ft. house.  There's a 4-car heated garage, hot tub, steam shower, and various balconies, decks, and patios for outdoor enjoyment.  According to Telluride Resort Properties, the Seinfeld's created the estate from two properties that they bought about three years ago (for about $10 million).  The 26-acre estate was listed for sale last summer (2011) for $18.3 million. speculates that Jerry Seinfeld simply tired of ritzy Telluride ski vacations.  Whatever the reason for selling it, here's a look at what kind of ski house being really funny gets you:
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This is a huge and gorgeous house...but it's funny that I don't see a ski room, ski gear, ski decor or anything else that indicates a connection with skiing....(maybe that's why he wanted to sell it)....but on the other hand, maybe all he really needs is a place to hang his hat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sugarhouse

This weekend (April 27-29, 2012) is the 46th annual Vermont Maple Festival, an event that celebrates Vermont maple syrup with a parade, "Sap Run", sugarhouse tours, maple syrup competitions (who has the sweet job of judging that?), crafts and antiques fairs, and more. Visitors to this festival will learn that a sugarhouse is a central part of maple syrup production...after the sap has been collected from the trees in the early spring, it requires hours of boiling in order to reduce the watery sap into sweet syrup...and this process (as it has been for generations) is done in a sugarhouse.  Maple syrup production is a fascinating process...from the "tapping" of the 40-to-one (sap to syrup) the precise timing of the sap flow and the immediate boiling required for the best flavor...and the wonderful tradition that says that steam escaping from a sugarhouse's rooftop cupola is a welcome signal for visitors (since someone is inside keeping watch over the lengthy, solitary boiling process).

The long history of the Vermont sugarhouse, like the long history of Vermont skiing, is pretty sweet indeed.  And while many visitors can tour a Vermont sugarhouse, here's one you can actually sleep in!   The Ski House of the Day is the sweet, adorable Sugarhouse at Sheady Acres, just five miles down the road from Jay Peak, (which is open this weekend!)Vermont:

The Sugarhouse was designed and constructed (lovingly by the owners of Sheady Acres themselves) to resemble a real Vermont Sugarhouse, in which the cupola on top would open to let the steam escape if sap were actually boiling inside. (Even though there is no sap boiling here, I'm told that this Sugarhouse can get steamy it is considered the "honeymoon sweet" here).

Built in 2009, the Sugarhouse is 14 ft X 18 ft (plus a private covered porch), made almost entirely of authentic Vermont timber products including recycled maple and pine plank flooring, as well as locally harvested and gorgeously finished white cedar and pine.  Although new, the Sugarhouse connects to Vermont heritage since it was built utilizing mostly local, recycled, and re-purposed materials such as the marble corner sink in the bathroom originally from the owner's childhood home (in Enosburg, VT), the wood in the bathroom from a wooden toy factory (in Montgomery, VT), and the exterior pine from a local mill.  Under all that snow, the roof is metal, as on most working sugarhouses.

The Sugarhouse at Sheady Acres greets visitors with the smell of local Vermont white pine and cedar...if you want to add the scent of maple you can enjoy some Vermont maple syrup in the sweet miniature kitchen area.  The kitchen even includes a pine-slab counter-top which was given to the owners as a wedding present from a local ski-shop owner (who got it from a gigantic pine tree on his property!):

The spalted maple interior trim in the Sugarhouse is from trees cut down and milled on-site.  The woodwork inside this Sugarhouse creates a beautiful, warm and inviting interior.  But even more than that, I think that the way this house was constructed with so many meaningful items, each bringing a story of its own, is what really creates an absolutely beautiful, warm, uniquely inviting and special place.

The rooftop cupola is a unique detail (specific to sugarhouses) which expands the ceiling and lets natural sunlight flow into this Sugarhouse.   The Sugarhouse also has a romantic antique claw-foot tub...perfect to soak in after a day of spring skiing on Vermont sugar-snow.

The owners tell me that even though the other four cottages are special in their own way, the romantic Sugarhouse (far left below) is the sweetest of all of their five uniquely themed houses that comprise the 25-acre Sheady Acres:

And an unexpected bonus...there's even an outdoor hot tub in an open but protective lean-to structure (about 150 ft from the Sugarhouse) where you can relax apres-ski and gaze at the acres of snow-covered trees:

Enjoying some freshly made Vermont maple syrup....spring skiing at Jay....apres-ski relaxation in this hot-tub...sweet dreams in the doesn't get much sweeter than this!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Silverton Solar Ski House

In honor of Earth Day, the Ski House of the Day is a beautiful solar house in historic Silverton, Colorado:

I love all the interesting details like the vaulted ceiling, exposed beams, arched windows, and the very unique, custom fireplace:

The house is a 3-bedroom...

...2 bathroom house...

...on a 4-acre property with the sounds of a babbling brook and mountain views in all directions (I don't think there is any other view in fact, when I was there I remember thinking that the sun must seem to set awfully early because it is surrounded by such huge mountains).   As of this writing it's listed for sale ($1.95 million) by who describes this house as a custom artisan solar house with luxury, old world charm and earth-friendliness all in one.  Among its earth-friendly features are:  passive and active solar heat, solar hot water, hydronic radiant floor heat, reclaimed wood beams, 10-inch thick walls and recycled denim batt insulation.  Some of the other features in this house are its hand-crafted tiles, mahogany window-sills, antique stained-glass window, over-sized steam shower, and an outdoor cabin-sauna for 12!

This energy-efficient solar ski house is 6 miles from Silverton Mountain (highest ski area in the country at 13,487 ft) where you can hike up to ski the awesome backcountry -- check out these backcountry skiers!

It's nice to see such a beautiful luxury ski house that's designed to do its part to protect the gorgeous environment that it enjoys....Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shooting Star Cabin

Tonight we, in North America, will be treated to the Lyrid meteor shower (one of seven meteor showers in 2012).....and what better place to watch it than from the Shooting Star Cabin in Teton Village near Jackson Hole Wyoming?

NASA says that the conditions are very favorable for this year's Lyrid meteor shower...and the night sky over the Shooting Star Cabin looks just right to me!

The Shooting Star Cabin is a traditional Wyoming homestead style house in a beautiful setting with views of the mountains and open ranch land all around.  The beautiful, rustic front door sets the tone for this house which is made from reclaimed barn wood...

One of the two fireplaces is in the great-room and is situated on a full wall of stonework..

The spacious "cabin" is 3,900 sq ft in size and has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms:

Nice to have a window in the bathtub to keep an eye out for those shooting stars...

(Are those shooting stars or snow cats?).  This house and its scenic location are absolutely beautiful...

...but I think that best of all is this fabulous stone terrace with spectacular built-in stone hot tub (and really cool snow bench)...what a perfect spot to watch tonight's shooting stars:

The Shooting Star Cabin is today's perfect Ski House of the Day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Austrian Ski Chalet, Nina

The Ski House of the Day is an Austrian chalet named...Nina.

This house is in the picturesque Austrian alps.  I love the traditional Tyrolean / Austrian appearance of the chalet Nina, with its terraces, woodwork and yes, those beautiful flower boxes brimming with flowers.  Even when the spring flowers are in bloom, you can still ski here, as the nearby Hintertux Glacier has year-round skiing!  It's part of Ski Zillertal 3000 which includes four additional ski areas linked together;  and the ski bus to get there stops right in front of this house.  Among the highlights of this group of ski areas is its "150 Tux", one of the largest aerial tramways in Austria (check out the view from the ride to the top)  -- this could be the view from heaven.

The house includes a living room and kitchen,

plus terraces with sweeping mountain views, three spacious bedrooms and a ski-storage room with boot warmer....and I really like its charming front door with arched top, gorgeous carved woodwork, and surrounded by lush colorful flowers:

I'm drawn to this cute house because of its charm, proximity to spectacular skiing, and last but not least because it shares a name with someone who was special to me.  Nina, like the spring flowers...beautiful, indeed.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Uncle Bud's Hut

The Ski House of the Day is Uncle Bud's Hut, one of the 10th Mountain Division Huts in the backcountry of Colorado.  My research of this house has introduced me to the story of one courageous soldier, and how there came to be a ski hut named for him.  It reminds me of the incredible sacrifices that were made by those heroic soldiers, as well as the inspiration that can be found in a soldier's story, and the honor and respect we skiers owe to the memory of one particular skier-soldier.

Burdell "Bud" Winter was one of the elite 10th Mountain Division soldiers who fought WWII on skis.  Bud Winter was from the Adirondacks in NY, and according to  he was an expert skier, mountain climber and ski-patroller before he signed up for the "ski troops" in 1943 (at age 18).  The training for skier-soldiers included time at Camp Hale in Colorado, and for one group of the particularly skilled (including Bud) it also included their own project, the "trooper traverse" -- their remarkable 40-mile ski mountaineering expedition across the mountains from Leadville to Aspen.
Bud skiing
In 1944, Bud and his fellow soldier-skiers went into combat in Europe.  And then, on this date sixty-seven years ago (April 14, 1945), 20-year old Bud Winter was killed in action in the mountains of northern Italy...this was just two weeks before the end of the war (German forces in Italy surrendered on May 1st leading up to V-E Day, May 8th).   The courageous combat of these soldiers in (Castel d'Aiano) Italy surely was among the efforts that led to the end of the war there that came only two weeks after Bud was killed.  But, while the world was celebrating the end of the war (V-E Day), Bud's family must have been struggling to make sense of the timing of their overwhelming loss.

Uncle Bud's Hut winter

Uncle Bud's Hut is as much a memorial as it is a ski house;  it was built and dedicated to the memory of the courageous, expert skier and WW II hero, Bud Winter:

The house sits at an altitude of 11,370 in a beautiful setting:

Inside are two private bedrooms upstairs, plus a dorm-style sleeping room.

The first floor includes a living area where displayed on the wall is a pair of the white-painted wooden skis that were made specifically for use by the 10th Mountain Division, as well as various other mementos of Bud's life:

Photos of the hut are courtesy of Brittany...a skier / ski-mountaineer who (unlike me) has actually been in Uncle Bud's Hut.  Brittany is one of a very elite group of skiers who has skied all of Colorado's 14ers!  Check out her amazing adventures on 14erskiers.

Back to the hut...there's a large kitchen that contains a vintage wood stove for heat, plus gas stove burners for cooking.   Also in the kitchen is a bright red well pump mounted on the wooden counter next to the sink:

Bathroom facilities are out in the out-house (connected by a convenient boardwalk):

In the house visitors will find Uncle Bud's Hut dedication book, (what Claire Walter of Culinary-Colorado called) an immensely moving book which includes photocopies of letters Bud wrote to his family during his military training, photos, touching handwritten memories by Bud's fellow skier-soldiers, and the Army's heartbreaking telegram of regret.

Bud's brother (and sister) donated the funds to construct Uncle Bud's Hut as a memorial to their heroic brother; and the hut was dedicated in 1989.

The trail head to ski/hike to the hut is at Turquoise Lake.  The nearest town to the hut is Leadville,  the starting point of Bud's legendary "trooper traverse" in 1943.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Historic German Farmhouse

The Ski House of the Day is a Sauerland mansion called the Becker-Hendricks house in Germany:

This historic farmhouse was built in 1798...!  Check out the arched barn-like front entrance:

Inside there are furnishings from generations spanning the centuries:

The kitchen is compact, and rather ordinary...until you notice those massive log beams and the ceiling that has probably seen centuries of cooking (!):

Here's a one-of-a-kind stairway...

The historic house has four bedrooms that look quaint and cheerful...

This ski house is in the town of Brilon (Hoppecke), and is only about 10 minutes from skiing at the small (good for beginners) Willingen Ski Resort.  Not your typical rental ski house...but what a way to experience some real German history. Wunderbar!