Monday, August 27, 2012

Reed College Ski Cabin

It's back-to-school I thought it would be a good time to check out a school's ski house.   The Ski House of the Day is the Reed College Ski Cabin, located in the village of Government Camp, on Mount Hood, in Oregon.

The ski cabin is located about 60 miles from Reed's campus...a little over an hour's drive.  (Reed is among the most unusual colleges in the country combining intellectual rigor with non-conformity and social freedoms.  With much less structure than most other colleges, Reed College has produced many Rhodes scholars and others of distinction, and produces a very high percentage of students who go on to complete their PhDs and other graduate degrees.  Reed College is said to be characterized by an absorption in thinking, something which the rest of the country could use more of ).  I guess it's safe to say that the skiers in this ski house are independent thinkers...and that's a good trait for skiing on Mt Hood where there are various ski areas, plus some very challenging back-country skiing for experienced adventurers.

The ski cabin was originally built in 1949 by the college Outing Club.  Well used over the years, the cabin took its share of wear and tear, and evolved into a ski house with a quaint and quirky its well-recognized candy-cane striped poles supporting the front porch...

But, recently a group of alumni (including a very generous mountaineering enthusiast, an architect, a furniture-makers, and even the owner of a sustainable forest who donated the Douglas fir wood to be used)  from the decades spanning the 1960's through the 1990's, came together to produce some serious upgrades to the ski cabin that was so meaningful to them during their years skiing there.  Renovations included a newly added front deck... many upgrades to the interior...

 They even created a finished basement with game room and work/ski wax area...nice feature in any ski house, but particularly in one for college kids!

A beautiful, functional college ski cabin is the end result:

On its centennial website, Reed graduates are said to be identifiable by their willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, wide-ranging curiosity, and their conviction that the world can be a better place.  In its own small way, this ski house bears that out...these Reed graduates challenged the conventional original 1949 structure of Reed Ski Cabin, engaged their curiosity to envision the wonderful improvements, and made the world a better place by creating the upgraded cabin for future generations of independent-thinking skiers to continue the Reed Ski Cabin tradition.   Check out the video tour of the newly renovated Reed Ski Cabin.

Back-to-school...think of the possibilities!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Zealand Log Cabin

The Ski House of the Day is this cozy, quaint, romantic log cabin in Ohakune, Central Plateau, New Zealand:
There's a soothing stream running right alongside the cabin, with the contrast of some explosive skiing just a bit further away.

This ski house is a small, basic but charming log cabin with an all-wood interior...and a nice wood-burning fireplace in the living room/lounge (in fact the fire is lit and glowing upon arrival for renters!):

I like how the decor is simple and coordinated throughout the cabin:

The compact kitchen looks nicely appointed and perfect for preparing a hearty skiers meal:

The rustic wood interior adds to the charm of the cabin, and the main bedroom looks peaceful and relaxing:

And the attached bathroom looks surprisingly modern (yet rustic) and perfect for a log cabin:

But here's the thing I really, really like about this ski house...check out the spacious natural stone shower:
For nature lovers (and anyone staying in a log cabin is probably a nature lover) this shower is a very inviting feature.  It's so perfect for a skiers log cabin, and I love it!

The cabin also has a cozy loft bedroom:

There is a beautiful unobstructed view of Mt Ruapehu (on which are New Zealand's two largest ski areas..which, by the way, have received about 15 cm of new snow today) right off the deck of the cabin:

While I'm not so sure about skiing on an active volcano like Mt Ruapehu, the skiing does look great.  Just watch out for the explosive nature of this place... an eruption of New Zealand's beautiful Mt. Ruapehu could provide a dangerous situation, but quite a show!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A "Lode" Off the Grid

American Renewable Energy Day is this Thursday...with a summit being held in Aspen, Colorado.  Given the obvious global warming effects on our snow, I am all for big progress in renewable energy -- the sooner the better.  Earlier today (according to the Huffington Post) the White House said that they are hopeful that Congress will renew the Production Tax Credit (for wind power production) which is set to expire at the end of this year...and they point out that republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is opposed to its renewal.  I'm hoping for the renewal, and meanwhile I'll applaud those who are already using renewable energy to do great things.

With that in mind...the Ski House of the Day is one that is off the grid...and off the charts.  It's called the New York Lode (named after the patented mining claim that it's built on) in Aspen.  This is an exclusive and secluded luxury mountaintop retreat with 100% off the grid sustainability.

The "Lode" sits on a 9.5 acre mountaintop property at the end of a nearly mile-long driveway.  But like many remote ski houses, access in winter is snow-cat, snowmobile, or (of course) skis are preferred to cars.  You can ski from the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain directly to the house.  Check out the gorgeous views of the Aspen ski trails (and don't miss that sweet snow-cat in the driveway!):

The house is at an elevation of 10,000 ft. and is located on the sunny side of Aspen Mountain -- perfect for a house in which the sun provides all necessary power via photovoltaics:

The sun also heats the water for this ski house.  And the earth heats the house, via a geothermal system.  There are many additional eco-friendly features built into this ski house...where (as put by Sundesigns Architects who designed it) you can "renew your spirit while enjoying renewable energy."

The entrance is unique and inviting (and check out that spectacular off-season view in the background):

Inside the 4,800 sq ft of this house there are wide open spaces, big windows, and very interesting lines fact the lines of the timber frame were inspired by local mine shafts:

So, here's a luxury ski house that takes nothing away from the earth to power impressive and commendable accomplishment.  But even more interesting to me is that this house is built on a former mining claim...a site that was originally intended to be a place where the earth was to be raided rather than renewed.  The change in intended/original use of this site is a testament to renewal.  To me that makes the New York Lode a mother-lode of successful sustainability in a ski house. Off the grid...and off the charts, in more ways than one!

Update:  The owner tells me that although this was an eight-year passion project, this special ski house is now on the market. (Originally valued at $8.4 million, it's currently listed for $2.95 million).  Wow - nice opportunity for some skier (or organization) who really cares about the earth we share!  It's been renamed (so as not to confuse anyone who might not know what a lode is).  Even though it's now called Midnight Ridge (check out the video tour), it's still spectacular, and no matter what the name, it's still a lode off the grid!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brew-Ski at Stowe

Today is International Beer Day (who knew?)...and today's Ski House of the Day is the Notch Brook House in Stowe, Vermont.

It's a large (6 bedroom, 4+ bath) house with an amazing direct view of the slopes and lifts of Stowe!

In fact, you can lie in bed in the master bedroom at night...

...and right from the pillow you can watch the groomers prepping the trails for your morning run!  I love the idea of that!  I've actually watched groomers at night before, and they're watching a Zamboni...can't take your eyes off them!  Bet that makes for some sweet dreams here.

But here's the reason that I picked this house on International Beer Day....this ski house has a built-in bar with a built-in draft beer tap system!  And, if you rent the house there's a keg tapped and ready for you included in the rental!
How's that for apres-ski?

In addition to the views and the beer tap, the house also has a sauna, outdoor hot tub, game room, and more:

There's a stone fireplace to warm up next to...

...and there's even a giant watch over that beer keg:

Brew-ski anyone?