It started like some of the best ideas do: scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin.
“I was sitting in a bar with my husband, drinking a glass of Chardonnay and he asked, ‘What’s your next project?’ And I said to him, ‘I’m going to build a tree house’ and drew this structure on a cocktail napkin, “says Gail Goodwin, owner of the world-famous” tree house “Snow Bear Chalets on the Hope Slope of Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort.
Goodwin shaped Hope Slope by designing a collection of three magical luxury tree houses and a separate structure of seven penthouse chalets. Since opening, the accommodations on the mountain have attracted vacationers from all over the world and have been featured in more than 300 publications, including TIME Magazine that named Snow Bear Chalets one of the “World’s 100 Greatest Places” in 2018.
“It was humiliating how good that [treehouse chalets] are from the guests who stay here and keep coming back, “says Goodwin.
The highlight of the ski-in / ski-out destination is a quirky detached chalet called Ponderosa, three steps from the Hope Slope. Now for sale for $ 3.999 million, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom towered tower has a front row seat in the mountainside with cathedral-like ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides.
The large room, which serves as a hub for the stay, has a gas fireplace, which is decorated with Montana Moss rocks and native Ponderosa pine, giving the room a cozy feel. Cambria Quartz worktops match high-end appliances and cookware in the kitchen – all inclusive.
Goodwin believes there is a sense of youth that keeps people coming back to the tree house chalets. “I think it does [guests] feel like kids again. It allows them to be a child again – and I’ve been told so more than once. “
Much of the child’s quality comes from Goodwin’s attention to imagination. “My mantra in creating [the treehouses] read: If Harry Potter teamed up with Hansel and Gretel and decided to build a house, would that particular product fit into that house? If the answer was yes, the cut was to go into the tree house. If the answer was no, then not. Everyone who walks in says, ‘It’s so magical and bizarre’. “
But to experience the best of the chalet, you have to turn to the stars.
“The tower is a 2.50 m room that is located at the top of the tower. The ceiling is covered with 600 fiber optic twinkles in the shape of stars with nebulous constellations, ”says Goodwin of the unique feature. The room, which has a 2.70 m round Xorbee microfiber cushion, is popular for its mountain view and individual installation.
As expected, the dramatic performance often provokes overwhelming responses from guests, says Goodwin. “An 86-year-old man climbed the tower once, climbed to the top, and began to sing an Italian aria a cappella and cried. When I asked him why he said, ‘this is my 86 best present I’ve ever had’. “
The boom in mountain resorts in Montana
Like other mountain resorts like Lake Tahoe and Vail, Montana’s Flathead County, which is home to Whitefish and Bigfork, has a record year. The average price for single-family homes in the county is now about $ 1.83 million as access to world-class skiing and fishing continues to attract shoppers from around the world. In the year 2021 so far around 90 sales were in the millions.
Luxury real estate specialist Jen Dolan of National Parks Realty holds the listing for the Ponderosa chalet and says Montana’s mountain resorts have become hot markets.
“People move out of the crowded cities in search of a change in their lifestyle,” observes Dolan. “The inventory is very low and the properties sell very quickly at or above the asking price.”
The run on Montana real estate isn’t limited to resort condos or waterfront homes. Rental properties also have a moment, especially VRBO properties, says the broker. This is good news for the next owner of the Ponderosa chalet who could use it as a private home or investment property.
As buyers continue to look for more space and access to the best parts of Montana, it’s safe to say that the treehouse chalet may not be in the market for long.
National Parks Realty is an exclusive member of Global Advance Guide Properties, a consumer marketplace and member network of elite brokers selling the world’s most luxurious homes.