Cutting-Edge New Residences in Lake Tahoe

The Lake Tahoe area, known the world over for its natural beauty and four-season outdoor recreation, has been a retreat for the rich and famous since wealthy San Franciscans discovered it in the late 1800s. These days, a new crop of homeowners (many of them Bay Area and Silicon Valley tech tycoons) are coming to the lake, drawn by innovative communities that make it a pleasure to get year-round use out of a significant real estate investment. Offering original architecture, unparalleled access to outdoor adventure and thoughtful family-centered experiences, these luxury encampments represent a forward-thinking new Tahoe.

The alpine-style homes at Sugar Bowl convey the ski village’s rich heritage: Sugar Bowl had the first lift in California, which once carried Marilyn Monroe and Walt Disney up the mountain.


Hailed as America’s only snowbound village (translation: gondolas and snowcats are required transport), Sugar Bowl has long attracted prominent residents—ahem, Walt Disney—seeking its exclusivity and heritage. A change is afoot in the residential landscape, however: In addition to Sugar Bowl’s classic alpine-style homes—the soul of the village—a new batch of contemporary architecture is popping up.

Sugar Bowl is the country’s only snowbound ski village, which means that the homes are accessible only by gondola, snowcat or good old-fashioned cross-country ski power.

The Summit Crossing neighborhood features 25 new lots with more adventurous designs by the likes of Bay Area firms Mark Becker and BCV Architects, whose impressive Crow’s Nest residence is distinguishable by its bold cantilevered roof and windows as tall as the majestic Tahoe pines.


Custom homes at the M25 enclave at Mountainside have après-ski-ready features like private ski huts.


What can a multi-billion-dollar investment buy? At this exclusive on-mountain residential community—situated between the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe and the Village at Northstar—the latest infusion of cash from Mountainside Partners is funding new real estate developments and a holistic approach to amenities. The new Stellar Collection, one of three enclaves at Mountainside, is rolling out its first phase of 11 townhomes and six residences this winter.

The new Stellar townhomes at Mountainside at Northstar.

Designed by San Francisco-based architecture studio Bohlin Cywinski Jackson—you’ve seen their work at Apple’s cutting-edge stores—Stellar townhomes are 2,200 square feet of alpine-modern architecture with an enviable “ski-off-your-deck” situation; the single-family residences offer 3,000 square feet inside plus expansive outdoor living spaces. New construction continues at the more established M25 neighborhood, too, where homeowners are outfitting their custom estates with après-ski-ready luxuries like patio hot tubs, fire pits and attached ski huts with full bars. All Mountainside residents will soon enjoy what planners consider “opportunities for a higher level of mindfulness,” including an indoor/outdoor yoga retreat, Neutra-esque “Zen Cube” community event space, and meditation huts suspended on platforms among the trees.


Martis Camp residents enjoy zip lines, a private Beach Shack on Lake Tahoe and a Family Barn complete with bowling alley and movie theater.


Think of Martis Camp as, well, camp. But not just for kids. The 2,177-acre development has direct ski access to Northstar, and when the mercury rises, there’s more: a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, Family Barn with bowling lanes and a soda fountain, a day spa, Beach Shack amphitheater (christened last summer by a rollicking Beach Boys concert), and a new Aerial Adventure Park with four zip-lining courses.

Martis Camp, located near Truckee, California, offers residents direct access to the slopes at Northstar California Resort via private lift.

Sales have been brisk ever since the first lots went on the market in 2006: Ninety-six percent of the 671 homesites, most more than 1 acre in size, have sold. It’s an architectural gold rush for design firms like Tahoe City’s Sandbox Studio, which has designed 46 custom homes here, ranging from grand lodge-like estates to more mountain-modern getaways.

Categories: Contemporary Homes