Are you a mountains over beach type of person? If so, If your idea of the perfect escape home can be found on a rugged mountain range rather than a relaxing beach, take a look at Airbnb’s recently released list of the most wishlisted ski-in and ski-out homes. The 20 homes on the rental platform’s list are all uniquely designed and located amid plentiful nature. The Escape Home’3s Joelle Anselmo spoke with three of these hosts with listings in Colorado, Montana and Quebec shared their stories.
The Moose Haven — Colorado
Deb McLachlan and her sons Eli and Pat are the owners of the Moose Haven in Walden, Colorado. This stunning A-frame cabin is perfect for those who want to be completely immersed in nature. And by the we mean it’s located in middle of a 400-acre sanctuary deep in the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity.
But don’t let that steer you away as the home’s best feature is really what draws people in — it’s in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary. The hosts guarantee you will see anything and everything including moose, mountain lions and bears.
“The only open water that you will see here are these ponds. And so it’s a watering hole for the deer, the elk, the moose, the bear, the mountain lion, the wolf, you name it,” Deb McLachlan says.
The cabin was built in the 1940s and restored in 2014 by her sons. It’s completely self-sustaining with a wood stove for heat, a composting bathroom right outside of the cabin and a fire pit with a grill for cooking.
But don’t be alarmed if you weren’t a boy scout or aren’t very nature-savvy, McLachlan will be there to greet you and guide you every step of the way. That’s why she has a nearly perfect 5-star score as a host with over 500 reviews.
“One of the biggest things I would say is meet with your people. … They’re pushing these days for lockboxes, you know, they’re pushing for the no contact with your guests. That just won’t work for us,” she says.
For the guests’ safety, the hosts ask if they are equipped to drive in the snow, are fit enough to walk up the long trails and whether they will be bringing a pet that could be vulnerable to the big animals.
The McLachlans also started asking guests to send them selfies to truly capture their experience at the cabin. When she asks guests what made them book, they always say “Seclusion at the top of the list, isolation. We are almost at the very tail of a dead end road that dead ends above us in Routt National Forest,” McLachlan says.
Whether you’re a cross-country skier or a homebody who enjoys nature from a distance, the Moose Haven is an option to consider. They have also hosted weddings.
“There are over 60 miles of trails with alpine lake destinations that are right out our door. Not to mention, my sons groom and maintain cross country ski and snowshoe trails and that is what that ski-in, ski-out [is].”
Moose Haven rents for about $100 a night.
Le Mica Chalet — Quebec
Le Mica Chalet in Lac-Beauport, Quebec, Canada, features a minimalist design with huge windows facing Mont Tourbillon, and is located in the private recreational forest estate of the Maelström.
While the home might look large, it’s actually just 430 square feet of living space, as the area only permits the building one “tiny home” per 500,000 square feet.
“The idea was to really try to have a house that really just fades away, like sort of…blends into the environment,”owner Nicolas Sauvé Bergeron says.
The home is in the middle of more 30 miles of cross-country Nordic skiing trails that offer breathtaking views.
Bergeron says the most show stopping element is indeed the view. Just a 25 minute drive from Quebec up a nearly two mile private road, the house seems to be set in a winter wonderland.
While the home started as an escape for local Canadians during the start of the pandemic, people are now traveling from all over the world to visit.
“It took about, I would say, a month [into the pandemic] and then it was pretty much booked every night. We were quite surprised that it worked out so well. I believe photos played a big part,” Bergeron says.
Le Mica rents for about $250 a night.
Lone Peak Chalet — Montana
Chalah and Austin Hageman built their modern chalet in 2018 with 25-feet high vaulted ceilings and astonishing views of Lone Peak near Big Sky Ski Resort. Tallis Architecture Group designed the home specifically to fit two families of four, and it’s equipped with an outdoor hot tub, custom bunk beds and a ping pong table.
While the home feels isolated, it’s only a three-minute drive to Big Sky parking lot and a short ski or walk down to the lift from the house.
“There’s competition in Big Sky, there’s a lot of other booking sites, there’s property management sites and I didn’t want to just be another rental. I wanted to be unique,” Austin Hageman says.
To set them apart and to truly encapsulate the view of the mountain, the Hagemans ensured it could be seen from every angle.
“We have these big stacking doors that slide and they’re 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide, and so they open and so you just have this amazing view of Lone Peak. You can just sit on the deck, at the firepit, sit inside and look at it,” Hageman says.
“Many of the ski-in, true like ski-in, ski-out condos in big sky were built in 1970 or 1980 and you have a shared wall, right. And then some of these newer homes that are built are 6000 square feet and charge $3,000 bucks a night right,” he says.
In 2015, Big Sky Resort invested $2 billion into a 10-year plan set on improving the resort for the community, including using the latest technology to enhance the skiing experience and building up the on-mountain dining and facilities.
“It’s kind of gone into rapid growth, probably a little faster than people were expecting. But the actual resort has responded pretty amazingly in terms of the infrastructure and funding,” he says.
The 1700-square-foot Lone Peak Chalet currently rents for about $900 a night, and price varies depending on the season.