Snow’s out, ski’s out. Here at est we’re embracing our winter blues how we know best; a big dose of design upon the ski slopes. The traditional timber ski chalet — derived from the word ‘shelter’ — continues to charm avid snow-goers globally, epitomising luxury stays in the white peaks of the world. Steering our sights away from the classic Swiss architecture, the fine art of providing cover from the cold is being realised mountainside in many a contemporary context. We’ve curated the standout ski chalets from the opposite ends of Canada to the secluded regions of Germany, Norway and Austria. These are the winter homes with serious altitude.
Whistler has taken up its spot as one of the ski and snowboarding capitals of the world, renowned for an endless vista of snow capped peaks and its chalet-style village. SBD Design and Burgers Architecture have stepped outside this traditional Whistler mould by introducing a contemporary slant to a sloping site. The softened ski cabin pays homage to the Danish influence on Canadian design, focusing on natural, locally sourced materials and craftsmanship. Keeping the alpine region front of mind, this luxuriously spacious and glowing chalet hosts a family enjoying the high life and the plenty of time in the snow.
Photography courtesy of Ema Peter
Heading to the Norwegian hinterland, we hold the Gjoevik House by Norm Architects as the ‘hygge’-est of homes to hibernate from the all-white outside. Intuitive to the ‘hygge’ notion of cosiness and connection with nature, this cluster home is made up of six overlapping cubes clad with timber. The exterior is designed to develop a silvery exterior over time, for a seamless interaction between architecture and its surrounds. With floor-to-ceiling views of one of Norway’s largest lakes, this secluded chalet is all about the minimal foundations, tailor-made furniture and enjoying the enviable sight of a Nordic winter wonderland.
Photography by Norm Architects
Taking on the chalet A-Frame, German architecture firm Beer Bembe Dellinger designed a winter retreat on a narrow site in the mountainous region of Bayrischzell, Bavaria. Based on a reinterpretation of the Barvarian barn, this chalet leans on the traditional material of larchwood in the tongue-and-groove boards and snow-ready shingled roof. The striking glass facade appreciates the Wendelstein down to the valley in each and every room and across two storeys – the perfect haven for avid skiers.
Photography courtesy of Sebastian Schels
Three storeys of silver-fir-lined walls, floors and ceilings make up this picture perfect Fontanella chalet by Austrian studio Bernado Bader Architects. Built in the historic village of Fontella, West Austria, the chalet pays respect to the nomadic Walser people that settled the region in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Drawing on modern techniques to resonate with Walder buildings, a concrete base holds the home on the hillside, clad by pine spruce panels of random sizes. Straight from the sawmill, the wood detail is to appear just it would have many years ago.
Photography by Archive Studio
Who said ski chalets should be void of colour? That’s what Montreal firm Alain Carle Architecte demystified in this reinvention of a 1960s Quebec chalet for a retiring couple. Looking to preserve the original Scandinavian-style character, the timber interior has been white-washed and the stone wall preserved, in an effort for interior elements to mirror the exterior palette. This white and bright palette is punctuated by playful brass fittings, Danish-inspired lighting and pastel furnishings, ensuring a far from boring escape to the snow.
Photography by Raphael Thibodeau