The word chalet means “hut of a herder”. It’s believed that the word chalet was derived from another word, callitum, which is of Latin origin. The word, chalet, was first popularized in French and Swiss Alpine regions (where the Arpitan language was spoken). A chalet is a wooden home with a distinctive, sloping roof. Nowadays, a chalet will often be used as a ski accommodation. However, these types of homes may also be used as primary residences. A chalet will typically feature bold eaves, which are placed at right angles to the front facade of the home.
Most common in the mountainous regions of Europe, chalets are also built in other parts of the world, such as Canada, Costa Rica and the United States of America. In regions that are prone to extreme weather, chalets provide common-sense and intelligent design features. Bestowed with rustic style, chalets are charming home designs which are also very practical and functional. Snow and rain will flow downward from the sloping roofs of traditional chalets, rather than collecting on the rooftops.
History of Chalets
The first chalet-dwellers initially used their alpine homes as farms. Farmers would raise cows in the alpine meadows during the warmer months, and they would also create cheeses and butters from dairy milk. Cheese and butter were made inside of their homes and then stored in outbuildings, where the extreme outdoor temperatures helped to keep them fresh until they were ready to be sold to customers.
When winter came, farmers would take their milk products down to lower altitudes, where their handiwork would be sold at market. During the coldest months of the year, these structures would be boarded up, and they would remain uninhabited until spring returned again.
As the European Alps became premier tourist destinations for people from all native lands and walks of life, chalets were converted into resort and ski accommodations. Whether outdoor enthusiasts want to ski, hike the Alpine regions, or enjoy any other activities that these areas have to offer, they may indulge in outdoor activities, and then enjoy coming home to warm, cozy chalets.
These days, realtors may refer to any sort of vacation house as a “chalet”, whether or not it has the traditional chalet design features, such as wood construction, overhanging eaves, and a sloped roof.
Many ski accommodation chalets feature ski in/ski out amenities, which make it possible for skiers to get onto the slopes right from their own front doors. Usually, these types of ski accommodations will be costly, due to the convenience and ease that they provide. Other common features of chalets used for ski accommodation include fireplaces, eat-in kitchens, and open-plan living rooms with high ceilings.
Chalets which are further from resorts will usually rent for less money. Examples of famous ski resorts where chalets are found include Whistler (located in British Columbia, Canada), Courcheval (situated in Saint-Bon-Tarentaise, in the French Alps) and Verbier (found in south-western Switzerland, in the canton of Valais).
However, chalets are no longer used solely for winter activities, and they may be found in warmer locales with resort vibes, such as Costa Rica (in Central America). Because chalets tend to give renters or owners a pleasant and authentic vacation “feel”, they remain popular choices for a range of purposes. Of course, some people choose to live the chalet lifestyle 24/7, by using their chalets as their primary residences.
Housing Values for Chalets
Housing values for chalets will vary widely, based on the desirability of their locations, as well as how many bedrooms and amenities they offer. Some chalets are sold on a time-share basis, which means that several part-owners pay for the mortgage and then use the chalet one or more times per year, according to a pre-arranged schedule. Chalets may go for less than one hundred thousand dollars or retail for millions of dollars.
Those who love fresh air and exercise (whether mild and leisurely, moderate or extreme) are the best candidates for chalet living. Since these types of homes are often found in woodlands, or very close to ski resorts, they provide access to the great outdoors, as well as comfort, warmth, and a rustic atmosphere.