The outdoor covered deck facing the creek to the west.
This mountain-top house was designed for a young woman who was a third-generation member of a skiing family with a long history at the oldest and longest running ski resort on the West Coast, the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Surrounded by thick stands of towering pines, the house site sits near the intersection of the historic wagon route over Donner Summit and the transcontinental railroad line, where the “Snowball Special” trains of the 1940’s would deposit skiers near the entrance to the ski resort.
The family spaces are all on the second floor, which also functions as the main entrance to the house when there is eight feet of snow on the ground. Designed for year-round use, the ground floor of this house accommodates bike storage and extra bedrooms. There is a covered outdoor deck on the second floor, which provides a view through the trees on summer evenings. Thick walls and deep set windows provide extra shade from the harsh mountain sun, as well as extra protection from the snow and extreme weather that comes with living at 7000 feet above sea level. A super-insulated exterior envelope and a heat-recovery ventilator provides maximum comfort with a minimum of energy use, and in an effort to improve air quality, no wood-burning fireplaces were used.