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A glorious ski cabin retreat etched in the mountains of the Sierra Nevadas

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This incredible ski cabin retreat was designed by Studio Bergtraun Architects, located in Alpine Meadows, a ski resort town in North Lake Tahoe, California. Nestled on an extremely steep mountainside, coupled with one of the highest snow loads in the Sierras, the design required sensitive integration.

This required a building structure of high strength while retaining maximum openness to the views and landscape. Hooks were integrated into the lower level patio edge to enable rope rappelling directly from the dwelling to the nearby stone outcropping and creek. The homeowners are sports enthusiasts and the whole home has been embued with sports references and features.

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The owners of this bright and airy cabin requested cozy and informal living spaces that integrate their love of maps and snow, climbing, and water sports into the architecture and furnishings of their dwelling. With the desire for a small cabin, living spaces needed to be efficiently configured to reduce the footprint in order to keep the home’s energy usage ‘green’ on all fronts.

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Above: A red train light greets visitors just outside the front door, a nod to the railways of Truckee lore.

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What We Love: This ski cabin retreat offers a family a fabulous getaway with an open floor plan and large windows framing dramatic views. We love how the plan was designed for one-level living when the empty nesters are visiting on their own and can accommodate guests on the lower level. Surrounded by forest, this relaxing escape offers the utmost privacy while being entwined with nature in a ski lover’s paradise.

Tell Us: What details in the design of this cabin do you find most appealing? Would this be your idea of the ultimate mountain getaway? Let us know in the Comments!

Note: Take a look at a couple of other incredible ski home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign: Mountain modern home in Park City lets you ski to your door and Modern ski house in Montana provides a fabulous winter getaway.

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Above: The roof and exterior walls of this cabin are clad in lifetime corrugated black metal, reducing maintenance and replacement waste. The structure has soy-based insulation, which may is more expensive than traditional insulation, yet offers a “green” and functionally superior alternative.

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Above: This luminous geometrical entry features a sculptural light fixture created with ski-poles each donated by family friends as a symbol of the collegial spirit of the cabin. An entire back wall consists of an oversized closet filled with extra ski equipment where guests can help themselves when visiting.

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The main level of the home encompasses a living/kitchen/dining area that creates an integral entry experience for guests when they first arrive. The room is wrapping with floor-to-ceiling glazing that fully opens up around the corner, which turns into an indoor-outdoor kitchen without the need for a hard-to-maintain deck that would require snow shoveling.

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The wood used for the kitchen cabinetry was passed through a steel comb roller, giving it a rugged but smooth texture that expresses the wood grain, reminiscent of tree bark.

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Above: The flooring consists of recycled wood from torn-down structures, providing a warmer mountain-cabin texture.

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The industrial-looking metal dining table on wheels reflects the outdoor light brightening the space while enhancing the informal feel of this playful home. The accompanying dining chairs and ‘sitting cubes’ in the living room are composed of recycled fire hoses from the local Tahoe fire department!

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The sound of water flowing from an adjacent creek can be heard from all rooms of this cabin throughout the year, weaving the spirit of the mountains into the interior.

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Above: The western portion of this ski cabin retreat hosts the master bedroom and a small library, separate from the main living space.

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Above: In the bedroom, the wall sconces above the bed are the Tolomeo Classic Wall Spot by Artemide.

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Above: The glass shower doors on rollers let the light filter through the entire space. The oversize ceramic floor tile (used elsewhere in the house ) appears like concrete — selected for its rustic yet elegant look and also because its slightly gritty surface doesn’t get slippery when wet. Note the crisp detail of the black Schluter strip edge.

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Above: A very well-known ultimate skier, a friend of the family, has been memorialized in a wall-length image ‘skiing down the stairs’. The skier in the photo is Doug Coombs. The photo was taken in Verbier Switzerland by Dave Reddick.

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Above: The oversize Tahoe map wallpaper continues over the bar countertop made from a custom surf-board with Lake Tahoe ‘spilling over the countertop’. The homeowners are avid surfers as well as skiers.

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Above: The kids’ bunk beds and playspace are nestled under the staircase, reachable with rock climbing footholds. A wall of chalkboard paint offers a playful canvas as well as the home ‘guest book’ that all visitors can sign when they stay overnight!

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Above: Seamless corner window envelops the entire bedroom giving the feeling of waking up in the middle of the forest.

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Natural ventilation occurs through high hopper windows and multi-slide floor-to-ceiling windows, positioned to convect cool air currents from the nearby creek. Landscaping was established using boulders from the site, enhanced with native plantings.

Above: The small patio off the kitchen used for barbequing covers the beginning of the home sled run and will soon host a reclaimed chair-lift as a swing hanging below.

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Above: The exterior of this ski cabin retret features cedar siding.

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PHOTOGRAPHER Gregg Gibboney

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