Now Playing

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

A 12-foot snowfall is no match for this Austrian-inspired concrete fortress—sauna included.

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

A stairway winds around an installation by Tech Lighting at this snowbound Norden home.

(1 of 8) 

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

On the home's southwest side, six large panes form a three-story ribbon of glass.

(2 of 8) 

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

A picture window in the kitchen offers mountain views. “That feeling of the forest coming into the house was very important in the design,” says architect Hans Baldauf.

(3 of 8) 

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

The ground floor of the house, which is often buried in snow, contains a sauna, a ski room, and a movie room. The home's concrete base is modeled after an Austrian Tyrolean lodge.

(4 of 8)

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

The light-flooded upper floors are paneled in western hemlock. Baldauf calls the home “and ode to building in wood.”

(6 of 8)

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

The five-bedroom house can accomodate two families at once and is large enough to host aprés-ski dinner parties for 20.

(6 of 8) 

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

Guests arrive at the lodge's front door by snowcat and glide out the back door on skis and snowboards.

(7 of 8) 

A Yeti in Sheep's Clothing

Lisa Staprans designed the home's interior's, including this rainbow-tiled bathroom.

(8 of 8) 

 

This glass-walled home may look elegant, but don’t be fooled: It’s a beast. Perched atop Crow’s Nest Peak in Norden at 7,080 feet, the ski retreat receives some of the deepest snowfall in the continental United States. “It’s a total snowbound village,” says Hans Baldauf, principal at BCV Architects. “You have to pull up to your house in a snowcat, then dig out your front door.” As a result, this five-bedroom home for Guy and Lia Haskin Fernald and their four kids required a roof capable of bearing 400 pounds of snow per square foot. “Our structural engineer joked that the weight is the equivalent of stacking fire engines on the roof,” says Baldauf.

So the designers looked to other places known for extreme climes, taking inspiration from the traditional Tyrolean lodges of Germany and Austria. Originally built in the 1400s—and later mimicked here in the ’30s—the antique structures feature hulking stone bases topped by wooden dwellings. “They were sort of like architecture without architects,” says Baldauf.

In this decidedly modern spin, the first floor—which was constructed with a series of heavy concrete piers—contains a ski room, a sauna, and a movie room. Two stories of Douglas fir and western hemlock perch above, overlooking the surrounding snow-covered mountains. A three-story steel staircase spiraling through the home’s core tops out at the butterfly roof, which shoulders the weight of the winter’s 12-foot snowpack. “There was this tension between building something light-filled and airy and something that also makes you want to snuggle up in it,” says Baldauf.

Of course, should a family member tire of these cozy, 5,600-square-foot confines, she can strap on her skis and glide out the back door: It’s a straight downhill shot to the Sugar Bowl lifts.

 

Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco

Have feedback? Email us at letterssf@sanfranmag.com
Email Lauren Murrow at lmurrow@modernluxury.com
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Lauren Murrow on Twitter @LaurenMurrow