Saturday, June 30, 2012

Celebrity Ski House

The Ski House of the Day is Tony Danza's Utah ski chalet.  Actor Tony Danza is best known for his starring roles in the TV shows Taxi, and Who's the Boss, but is also active in charity work for cancer research, education and other worthy causes.  According to, his chalet was listed for sale for $2.7 million last year, and last month the listing was removed;  so this chalet may now have a new "boss".  Whomever the owner (celebrity or not)  it's a nice place.  The ski house is a classic stone and cedar, ski-in/ski-out chalet in Park City.

The first thing you'd see as you pull into the heated driveway of this house is the large garage which the house towers above.  I also notice that the house seems to follow the steep slope of the ski hill... and so it consists of a full four stories... 

...but upstairs you can walk out back to access the snow (as well as an in-ground hot-tub).
Fortunately, there's an elevator to help get all your gear from the lower levels upstairs:

...and surely that elevator was a welcome feature for Tony Danza while he was recovering from his serious skiing accident in 1993.  According to Danza has a reputation for skiing hard;  and he hit a tree on a December day when the trails were unusually icy here.

The house has a nice large great room with a cathedral ceiling, very tall stone fireplace, windows all around, and ski artwork above the mantle:

...and something about that toboggan in the corner of great room looks pleasantly familiar to me.

Within view of the great room and fireplace is the kitchen:

The ski house has four bedrooms, and here's one of its four bathrooms:

To top it all off, the view from this ski house is wonderful from any of its four floors.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Montana Copper in Moonlight

Montana is one of those special states...with spectacular national parks, vast national forests, and really fantastic ski areas.  Even though I've only spent about ten days there, I (like many other Americans) feel a kind of kinship connection with Montana;  I guess that's because of the all of the beautiful public land there.  That's why, after this week's US Supreme Court decision regarding corporate campaign financing in Montana, I had to turn my attention to that state...for a history lesson as well as a ski house.  I learned about the corruption of the "Copper Kings" who used their vast fortunes to control lives, livelihoods, and politics in Montana's copper mining heyday, and about the (recently-rendered powerless) Montana state law wherein Montanans reined-in that corruption for the past 100 years.  Montana copper was the stuff of many things--among them wealth, power, and corruption.  Whatever you think of the recent court decision, there's no denying that copper is a rich part of Montana history.

So, where's the Montana copper of today?  Check out the ski houses!  Numerous Montana ski houses are adorned with beautiful copper features....many with hammered copper sinks, and a few with copper counters, but here's one I couldn't resist:  a Montana ski house with a copper claw-foot stlye soaking tub!

I've heard of the health benefits of wearing copper jewelry...and whether or not copper has that magical power, I think there would definitely be an emotional health benefit of an apres-ski soak in this unique, stunning tub!  The copper tub is part of the gorgeous Reed Lodge, today's Ski House of the Day.  The house is located directly on a ski trail in Montana's beautiful Moonlight Basin:

This lodge seems to me to be a wonderful combination where the old West meets modern ski style, and where lavish luxury meets the rustic great outdoors:
(Hey, is that actually a copper down-spout from the rain-gutter?).

The average annual snowfall at Moonlight is 400 inches, so this ski house is blanketed in snow much of the time:

When I skied at Moonlight a few years ago, I thought it was a spectacular place (and it was dumping snow!), with many wonderful trails.  This ski house is situated along one of those trails so it has a great ski-in /ski-out location.  (This lodge is available for rent...but, according to the rental listing, you'll need 4-WD to get to it!).  The views all around this great lodge are gorgeous:
It's hard to describe the vastness of the skiing opportunities here...since Moonlight connects to its neighboring ski area, Big Sky, the number of trails and size of the terrain is staggering (not to mention all those chutes up top for you daring experts).  The skiing choices here are unbelievable.

This luxury ski house also has a bit of a rustic feel...with features like a large stone fireplace outside on a covered deck, and the beautiful and very large stone fireplace in the living room:
(Hey, are those copper accents on the hearth?)

The kitchen looks like a perfect place to whip up some comfort food after a full ski-day!  The many natural elements in this kitchen (like the rough edges of the granite counters) enhance the rustic luxury feel:
(Hey... is that a copper hood over the red stove?...And, are those copper sinks?)

Look at the beautiful view and the luxurious furnishings in the master the beautiful brass bed:
(By the way, brass consists mostly copper!)

The lodge has 4+ bedrooms, including this lavishly furnished one:

...and this bunk room for the kids:

And as you might expect, there's plenty for apres-ski fun in this ski house...from its nicely equipped game-room... its well-situated outdoor hot the snow!

There's luxury in this lodge alright, some of which leads to tough choices:  like whether to soak your tired skiers legs under the warm snow-reflected sunshine or in Montana moonlight...and more importantly, whether to soak  in the snowy hot tub...or in the unique copper tub?...I think my first choice would have to be:  Montana copper in moonlight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Luxury Mountain Chalet in Argentina

The Ski House of the Day is the ski-in / ski-out Patagonia Ski Chalet in the Andes of Argentina.  The chalet is located 20-minutes from San Martin de Los Andes, and is perched on a mountain where you can ski directly down to Las Pendientes ski area, and from there connect through the woods to the Cerro Chapelco ski area.   With the ski season now open there, it's a good time to have a look inside this modern and very nice ski chalet.

The first thing I noticed about the chalet was the soaring 20 ft ceilings in the wide-open living room area:

All of the beautiful natural wood used in this house ("every wall of every room") makes for a nice, warm environment;  and the tall stone fireplace in the living room looks like a perfect spot to warm up after a day on the slopes.

The chalet has plenty of windows in its modern and spacious kitchen...

...and in its open dining area:

And here's the unbelievable view out of the living room windows:

With a spectacular view like that, no wonder there are so many windows!

The chalet has four bedrooms and four+ bathrooms.  I noticed all the beautifully tiled floors...and they're all toasty warm with radiant heat.  The few times I've stayed in a ski house with heated tile floors was a delightful treat for my tired and frozen feet.

The chalet also has a family room on the lower level.  There's an outdoor ski closet to keep the snowy skis from accumulating in here:

And for apres-ski entertainment, it also has a game room:

With its direct connections to skiing at two Argentinean ski areas...I hope the deck of the Patagonia Ski Chalet  looks like this -- right now!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Holiday House Down Under

One thing I've learned from perusing Australian ski houses is that the majority of them have sleek and  modern styling.  This down-under ski house however, while sleek in some ways (especially the bedroom/bathrooms) is one that offers a few more cozy and comfortable features than many others in the area. The Ski House of the Day is a mountain chalet called Wareen Holiday House in (Crackenback) Jindabyne, New South Wales,  Australia.  Near the Snowy Mountain Range, it's on the Alpine Way with nearby access to skiing at Perisher (and Thredbo a little farther away).

The open-concept ski house has a massive stone fireplace centered on a wall of windows in the living room (or "lounge" as it's called down-under);  this combined with the skier-friendly furniture creates a warm and comfortable gathering spot:

Interestingly, there's another fireplace, actually a cozy wood-stove (or "slow-combustion fireplace" as the  rental agent calls it) on the opposite wall, near the kitchen...making this a truly warm room in more ways than one:

The nicely vaulted ceilings continue into the kitchen which is bright and open to the "lounge" (living room):

This house is set up for apres-ski fun with a pool table within view of that large fireplace:

Sleek but comfortable-looking, this bedroom (one of the four+ bedrooms in the house) seems so very tranquil:

The nearest skiing is at Australia's (self-proclaimed) most popular snow-holiday destination, Perisher. On national park land, Perisher is huge with seven peaks (summit elevation 2054 m), 47 lifts, several base villages, and more trails than they wish to count.  But what really intrigues me is the method of access to the ski area from here.

The preferred way to get to Perisher is not to drive up the access road (which apparently is extremely limited), but rather to take the Ski Tube, an electric "rack" (cog) railway that travels mostly underground!  (So, I guess you could say that you get to ride "down-under" the mountain before you get to ride up on it).  Anyway, this ski house is just 5 minutes from the Ski Tube.  Opened in the late 1980's, the Swiss-designed Ski Tube whisks skiers from the valley up to the ski area in just about 15 minutes or so.  I find this to be an interesting and most unique way to start a ski day!  Here's a look at the trip from the valley to Perisher on the Ski Tube. The Ski Tube runs from 5 am til 1 am, so skiers can get there for first tracks, and stay for apres-ski on the mountain.  And here's a mesmerizing close-up of the inside of the Ski Tube tunnel on the downhill return trip.  Now that's down-under.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Magical Patagonia Chalet

As the temperature soars into summer where I am in North America, the temps are falling as ski season gets going in South America.  So, for a South American Ski House of the Day check out the magical Las Baitas Superior Ski Lodge in San Carlos de Bariloche, in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

The house is a charming 3-bedroom log and stone chalet:

It's got a nice semi-circle shaped balcony off of the second floor bedroom...and has a direct view of the ski trails from that balcony.  The arched entrance above the front door offers a nice welcome to this quaint chalet.  And that beautiful exterior stonework continues inside with a full stone wall in the living room...

...that merges into the cozy, warm fireplace.  Nice place to warm up after a few ski runs:

One of the things I like best about this chalet is this really inviting kitchen with its beautiful, unique stone and wood bar:
When a space is filled with so many curved lines and natural elements...I think it becomes so very welcoming and comfortable immediately.  The rental listing describes this chalet as having a magical environment, and because of features like this bar, I'd agree.  This curved stone bar, with plenty of wine glasses hanging within reach,  looks like a perfect spot for apres-ski socializing and maybe a glass of a local Argentinian wine:

One of the three bedrooms in this ski house is this one with colorful accents on a king bed:

...and another is this multi-bed room with a log-beamed ceiling on the second floor and connected to that great balcony above the front door (and, by the way, I like those ski pictures on the wall in this bedroom):

Las Baitas Lodge is located at Cerro Catedral Ski Area, one of the largest ski areas in South America with 62 miles (100 km) of groomed trails.  (Cerro Catedral is now open with a heavy snow in this week's forecast).  According to Powderhounds, this ski area has the largest lift-accessed terrain in South America, about half of which is off-piste, with good tree skiing and back-country chutes and bowls.

And this magical Patagonia ski chalet is just across the trails and only 100 meters from the ski lifts at the base.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Remarkable Valhalla Lodge

Tomorrow is opening day for the ski season at the Remarkables Ski Area in New Zealand;  and the nearby Ski House of the Day has a picture perfect view of the Remarkables Mountain Range.  The house is called the Valhalla Lodge, and has beautiful views of not only the mountains, but Lake Wakatipu as well:

This beautiful lodge has 5+ bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and is 5,100 sq ft of luxury in a gated Otago, New Zealand community.  It's 20-minutes from downtown Queenstown, and even closer to the airport.

In the living room (or formal "lounge" as it's called)  is a very nice stone fireplace: a second fireplace/wood-stove is in the family room.  This house really has a lot of style...and one of the things I love is the interesting ceiling design in the family room and lounge.  Plus, I notice that there seems to be recessed lighting in the ceiling everywhere which really brightens the rooms beautifully (and eliminates the clutter of other lighting):

This bright kitchen looks sparkling, bright, and well equipped.  And as a coffee lover, I really like the looks of that gigantic commercial coffee machine on the counter:
With that coffee-maker (and a big bowl of fruit like this) to start the morning, I think this fantastic kitchen could produce a first-class skiers breakfast, for sure.

One of the five bedrooms in Valhalla Lodge is this gorgeous monochromatic ivory-colored very luxurious:

The Remarkables Mountain Range is right behind the house...and the access road to get to the Remarkables "ski field" is just a 5 minute drive.  Just be careful driving up the mountain if it's snowing!

This huge and beautiful house is outfitted extremely well with many unexpected extras...but one of the really unique amenities of Valhalla Lodge is the fantastic wine cellar.  First, it's actually a cellar (under ground), secondly it's large and inviting; but even more astonishing is that it's fully stocked and waiting for guests to enjoy!   (The owners' rental listing simply says that "guests are asked to replace what they use").  So,  check this out for apres-ski...

If you ask me, Valhalla Lodge looks like a fantastic place for a luxury ski vacation...

       ...the house as well as that view are absolutely...remarkable!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Clear Lake Lookout

Today is National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event (started in 2008) designed to encourage healthy, active, outdoor fun...particularly in the many beautiful public lands in the United States.

And here's a house on public (US Forest Service) land that will certainly get you outdoors, but this isn't your average ski house.  The Ski House of the Day is the Clear Lake Lookout, a former fire-tower perched on the side of Oregon's Mt. Hood (near the NW corner of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation):

Amazingly, you can actually stay in this place...the US Forest Service rents it out (for $50/night according to their website).  But to get there you'll have to ski, snowshoe or snowmobile the 3.2 miles in from the road.  And you'll have to bring your own water with you.

The "house" is a 14 ft. X 14 ft. room surrounded by a narrow wooden catwalk atop a 40 ft high tower.  Inside you'll find a bed, table and chairs, wood-stove, a propane stove for cooking, and solar lighting:

Nearby there's a shed with firewood, and an outhouse, too.  But I think that the main feature is the four walls of continuous windows onto its incredible view:

Not only can you get outdoors, you can gaze out at that view in all four directions and feel like you're outdoors even with a roof over your head.

The Forest Service warns that you must be an experienced back-country mountaineer with survival skills to stay here, and that the height of the cabin poses serious risks, and that the ladder / steps and catwalk can become hazardous in the ice and snow, and that the tower will sway during high winds...but, wow, what a view: