Modern Mountain Style: A look at today’s alpine design trends

It’s no secret that alpine homes offer a much-needed retreat from the hectic lives we lead. In a world that whips us between the demands of work, technology and family, we deserve a place that inspires us to unplug, unwind and connect with nature’s abundance.

A ski house should be exactly that: a sanctuary where the clocks run slow, family traditions stand the test of time and the details reflect our spirit. A tall order if there ever was one, but certainly worth the undertaking. Fortunately, there are plenty of gems waiting to be mined along the rolling hills of America’s favorite ski towns.

“For the interior design of the Tiger Lily Court home, it was our goal to incorporate a unique expression of the High Sierra experience. We achieved this by mixing textures, blending earth tones, and designing each room in a way that complements the incredible mountain views and connects to the home’s natural surroundings.” – Interior Designer Scott Corridan. Photo by Vance Fox.

If you are looking to invest in your own slope-side retreat, there are many things worth considering. If you’re not sure where to start, a good place to begin is by examining the current state of alpine design and architecture.

According to experts in the field, modern is the name of the game with today’s mountain style. Clean lines, sexy interiors, indoor-outdoor concepts and sustainable materials are all hallmarks of the contemporary look that’s being sought after in ski homes from Lake Tahoe to Park City to Vail and beyond.

It’s not just new builds that aspire to be modern. Classic A-frames and log retreats are enjoying updates to offer a more rustic, contemporary feel. Red plaid, pinecones and antlers no long reign supreme as people are opting instead for clean, neutral tones and modern fixtures.

“We are seeing a contemporary and modern design approach for both new construction and renovation projects taking place in both Vail and Beaver Creek,” says Dan Fitchett, managing Broker of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in the Vail Valley. “Organic materials such as stone and wood are being combined with metal accents in order to bridge the gap between indoor and outdoor spaces. In addition, oversized windows are being used to capture the majestic views, while creative light sources are being implemented throughout the home.”

Things to consider before investing:
1. Does the home offer convenient access to a commercial and/or private airport?
2. What kind of access to slopes does the home offer? How important is that?
3. Are there amenities such as a pool, gym, golf, family programming?
4. Are there HOA or member dues?
5. Is the home rentable and for how much?
6. Does the look, feel and style of the home match your vision and lifestyle?

In addition to a more modern aesthetic, buyers are seeking authenticity. According to Jeff Hamilton with Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty in Lake Tahoe, “people want a home that feels uniquely their own and truly represents their lifestyle and who they are.”

For one Lake Tahoe homeowner, a modern home provided the ideal space to showcase a collection of western art and artifacts.

“I was on a trip to Boston when I toured the Museum of Fine Arts and saw how they had displayed collections of early American art and antiques. The artifacts against the white walls and white oak floors were a beautiful combination of old a new,” says the homeowner. “Once you start to think of the walls of a modern house being like the walls of a gallery, there is great freedom to blend the modern with the old.”

According to Tiffany Blake Fox with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, buyers are seeking properties that can weave a unique story and stand out among the traditional aesthetics. Patina metals, exposed rock and reclaimed materials are a few of the design elements that are being embraced for their ability to add sophistication without the pretense.

“We’re seeing a consistent trend of what I’d describe as ‘thoughtful and intentional design’ here in Park City. Home buyers are looking for properties that promote a natural flow, offer a smart use of space, and incorporate a seamless indoor/outdoor living experience.”

This home masterfully accommodates a Southwestern art collection with a distinctly mountain modern style defined by clean lines framing the stunning views of Lake Tahoe.

This sentiment is echoed by interior designer Scott Corridan. “We continue to find homeowners of mountain modern homes gravitating toward different combinations of natural wood and stone materials, seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces and an overall design that is warm and comfortable for the whole family to enjoy, live and grow.” 

“Today’s mountain town buyers are also craving more relaxed spaces,” says Hamilton. “They want a place where they can unwind and kids and guests are allowed to touch things.”

According to Hamilton, buyers want access to experiences as much as they want access to the slopes. Fly fishing classes, snowcat rides, private concerts, kids’ camps and access to ski lifts, dining and beaches are a few examples of amenities that attract buyers who are willing to pay a premium for making the most of their downtime.

“Historically, being on the lake or having ski-in, ski-out access have been the most sought-after amenities,” says Hamilton. “In the last decade, however, Martis Camp; located at the base of Northstar, California and other gated communities with luxury amenities such as Lahontan, Schaffer’s Mill and Old Greenwood have given homebuyers more options.”

Another must-have? Ski locker rooms and mudrooms, which serve to effortlessly bridge the gap between indoor/outdoor living.

“Buyers are willing to pay a premium to have a space that allows for them to store equipment and easily participate in all four seasons of activities,” says Fox. By having a designated space to hang those soggy ski parkas and kick off those dusty hiking boots, more time can be enjoyed participating in life.

Another common thread among high-profile buyers in resort markets such as Lake Tahoe, Park City and Vail is a desire to blend in.

“With a laid back luxury lifestyle, mountain towns such as Lake Tahoe offer the unique distinction of being cherished for offering both privacy and anonymity,” says Hamilton.

Whether you are in search of a laid back slopeside condo or a grand alpine retreat, there’s much to consider when investing in a ski property. But no matter what your tastes, the perfect alpine retreat is out there waiting for you. You just have to get out there and find it.


Modern Mountain Style Today

5710 Tiger Lily, Sugar Bowl Resort, Lake Tahoe
$3,790,000 | 5 bedrooms | 5 baths | 1 half bath

This newly built 4,200 square-foot, contemporary-style Overland Trail Cabin was designed by award winning, San Francisco-based BCV Architecture + Interiors, recognized for designing noteworthy food-world projects including the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace, Oxbow Public Market, and Hudson Eats food hall.

The two-story home is organized as a horseshoe that marks the path of the sun opening to the south and west, and in doing so provides panoramic views of the forest and the ski slopes.


431 Valerie, Incline Village, Nevada
$3,998,000 | 5 bedrooms | 4 baths

This home masterfully accommodates a Southwestern art collection with a distinctly modern mountain style defined by clean lines framing the stunning views of Lake Tahoe.


8685 E Lake Creek Rd Heber City
$3,500,000 5 bedrooms | 5 baths | 2 half baths

The bifold sliding door expands the living space at this contemporary mountain style Park City home.

The tiered outdoor patio includes a built in barbecue, hot tub, & outdoor home theater you can enjoy underneath the expansive Utah sky.


3007 Deer Crest Estates, Park City
$7,490,000 | 6 bedrooms | 6 baths | 2 half baths

The large open floor plan connects seamlessly to over 1000 sq ft of heated deck space to create a dramatic indoor/outdoor living experience. LMK design set the standard of contemporary living with glass railings on the floating staircase, floor to ceilings windows, and glass elevator.


259 Norfolk Ave Park City
$6,000,000 | 5 bedrooms | 5 baths | 2 half baths

Indoor/Outdoor living was at the forefront of the design of this home with approximately 800 square feet of heated deck and patio space overlooking Old Town, Park City.


4273 Columbine Drive, Vail
$2,795,000 | 4 beds | 4.5 baths

This newly built East Vail home features walls of glass offering panoramic mountain views, natural light and a warm contemporary design.


2110 Eagle Feather, Northstar California
$3,950,000 | 4 bedrooms | 5 baths | 1 half bath

Bold earth and stone features are blended with modern amenities and a soft elegant design to create a comfortable and timeless ski home at Northstar California.


5880 Elderberry, Sugar Bowl, Lake Tahoe
$3,350,000 | 5 bedrooms | 5 baths | 1 half bath

New York City designer Miles Redd brought light and bright into this Sugar Bowl bunk room for a sleek take on mountain home design.


500 Mule Ears, Sugar Bowl, Lake Tahoe
$2,950,000 | 2 bedrooms | 2 baths

Inspired by contemporary rustic architecture of California like Sea Ranch and La Ventana at Big Sur, this home was designed by EHDD, world famous San Francisco Bay Area architects known for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Exploratorium.


5711 Tiger Lily, Sugar Bowl, Lake Tahoe
$2,475,000 | 5 bedrooms | 4 baths | 1 half bath

Modern take on the mud room with a built-in boot dryer that can keep the whole families toes warm.