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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

CHESA MADRISA - well appointed with top of the line amenities for guests

Bedrooms 3
Half Baths1
Space 3,100 sq ft
Property type chalet
Minimum Stay 2 - 7 nights


About the property

3 king bedrooms & 3 full attached baths - Big Trees State Park - Clean & Fresh



The Chesa Madrisa is a beautiful vacation home nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Big Trees Village in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, and resides at approximately 5,000 feet elevation. Featuring 3 bedrooms & 3.5 bathrooms, this Swiss inspired mountain home was custom built in 2001 and has been updated. The Chesa Madrisa is a great escape – fresh air & quiet solitude, with easy access to fun activities. The neighborhood of Big Trees Village borders Big Trees State Park, just north of the town of Arnold, and approximately halfway between Bear Valley Ski Resort & the town of Murphys.

The Chesa Madrisa is the ideal getaway for travelers who are looking for a vacation home that meets a higher standard.

There are many vacation rentals nearby - here's how the Chesa Madrisa Vacation Rental Home is different....


●All newer kitchen gear, from silverware to Vitamix - it's all there!

●Sheets & linens are included for no additional fee & duvet covers are washed in between each guest stay

●Curbside trash & recycling are both included for no additional fee

●Central AC is being installed May 2018

●Touchscreen hospitality tablet "Your Welcome" - a digital welcome guide with local recommendations & home info

●3 bedrooms - each with KING size bed & plush mattress topper

●Each bedroom has its own full bathroom attached

●Free wifi, Comcast X1 cable tv with premium channels (so you won't miss Game of Thrones!), 2 Smart TVs & landline with free long distance (cell service very spotty up here)

●DVD collection, 2 Blu-Ray players & Nintendo wii with games

●2 car garage with fairly level driveway & plow service

●Kids Toy Closet filled with games & activities (literally filled - 20 board games, puzzles, Legos, Brio train set, Lincoln Logs, play kitchen, dollhouse, pop up castle, arts & crafts)

●Large kitchen enables plenty of room to unpack your groceries

●Storm? Built-in automatic generator & landline for phone calls

●Full size toiletries provided (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap) + basket of extras just in case anything was forgotten

●Kitchen & all 4 bathrooms feature Williams-Sonoma hand soaps & lotion sets

●All paper products are provided (and not the cheap stuff!) - no more running to the grocery to buy toilet paper on your vacation

●Wifi enabled thermostat so the home will be heated upon arrival in cool weather

●Dusk-to-dawn exterior lights so you don’t have to fumble with a lock box in the dark

●Wifi enabled security system so the alarm will be off prior to arrival

●Outdoor camera to see screen shots of current weather - especially handy in winter months

●Sonos wireless speaker


●KitchenAid double wall oven

●Vitamix blender

●Breville mini oven

●Breville microwave

●Set of Le Creuset ceramic bakeware

●Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee & Espresso Maker


●Mr Coffee

●Le Creuset french press

●Le Creuset tea kettle

●Williams-Sonoma pots & pans

●Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker

●KitchenAid standing mixer

●KitchenAid Double Belgian Waffle Maker

●All-Clad 7qt Slow Cooker

●Black+Decker electric griddle

●Williams-Sonoma wok

●Williams-Sonoma cooking utensils

●Crate & Barrel dishware - Aspen collection

●Golden Poppy Pass for entry to Big Trees State Park

●Sno-Park Pass for access to local winter trails


The Chesa Madrisa opens to an inviting sitting area with tall windows and double-sided gas fireplace. This main level of the home features a half-bathroom, mudroom for ski gear, and a well-appointed kitchen overlooking the main living area & oversized sectional couch. The kitchen opens to the dining area with a table for six, which can be enlarged to accommodate ten guests. The dining area overlooks a TV area with patio access including Weber propane tank grill and outdoor patio table & chairs.

The entry has a flight of stairs down to the lower level, where the three bedroom suites are located & large hallway with "kids zone" for entertainment. Each bedroom has a king size bed and its own full-bath attached. The 1st bedroom also has a set of twin bunk beds for children, and a king size bed that can be split into two twin beds upon request.

The Chesa Madrisa comfortably accommodates up to eight guests (6 adults max). Many families have enjoyed multi-generational vacations at the Chesa Madrisa with grandparents in the far bedroom with a walk in shower, parents in the middle bedroom, and children all bunking up together in the 1st bedroom. The Chesa Madrisa does not accommodate more than six adult guests.

The Chesa Madrisa has a two-car garage for guests, and a covered footbridge with steps leading from the garage to the main entry. The driveway is not steep, and in the winter snow season it is plowed with each fresh snowfall. There’s no better place to hunker down during an exciting snowstorm!

For winter ski weekends, the garage features a wall-heater so you can leave your ski gear in the car or on the ski benches & racks without lugging gear back into the house.

●Bedroom #1 - king bed (splits into 2 twins) & 1 set of twin bunks with attached full bathroom

●Bedroom #2 - king bed & attached full bathroom

●Bedroom #3 - king bed & attached full bathroom


The lower level of the Chesa Madrisa has a "Kid Zone" featuring a fun red couch & TV area with cable, Blu-Ray player, Nintendo Wii, and a closet full of toys, games, puzzles, and crafts. The garage has a mini-ping-pong table that can be set up anywhere a guest chooses. The closet in the 1st bedroom has a Baby Bjorn Portable Crib, Little Einstein Exersaucer, Johnny Jump doorway bouncy seat, Baby Bjorn Babysitter, diaper changing pad to place on dresser, Cloud B Twilight Ladybug for bedtimes, bath toys, step stool, Baby Bjorn potty seat, baby gate, and red dinosaur humidifier. The dining room pantry has a high chair-booster combo seat for infants & toddlers.


Big Trees is amazing in all seasons with a wide variety of outdoor activities. Winter is a great time to check out Bear Valley, a friendly & relaxing ski resort in the Central Sierra Mountains just 21 miles further up scenic Highway 4. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling & sledding opportunities abound.

Summer is an enjoyable time for activities such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding and swimming at Union & Utica Reservoirs, as well as Lake Alpine & White Pines Lake. The Chesa Madrisa offers the premium level membership at Big Trees Village Recreation Center, which includes complimentary swimming for 6 guests at the neighborhood outdoor pool Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Hiking is a fun activity no matter the time of year – just throw on some snow shoes in the winter! Feel free to borrow the Golden Poppy Pass from the Chesa Madrisa to enjoy complimentary access for one car to Calaveras Big Trees State Park and marvel at the giant Sequoia trees. Hikers should check out the nearby Arnold Rim Trail.


● The Chesa Madrisa has an exterior video camera

● Primary Guest's email address is automatically added to quarterly newsletter & may unsubscribe at any time

● The Chesa Madrisa comfortably sleeps a maximum of 8 guests (6 adults)

● Weekly curbside trash pickup & curbside recycling every 2 weeks

●The Chesa Madrisa is equipped with a generator in case of power loss during winter storm

●No RV parking

●Dogs are welcome - we bring ours! Recent flea treatment required - 2 dox maximum - $80 fee per dog

●On the VRBO website guests & owners can not see each other's contact information until a reservation is confirmed, but we can communicate via email through VRBO.


All guests are required to pay a non-refundable $500 Reservation Payment, digitally sign a contract & text/email photo ID within 24 hours of booking or same day if reservation is within 2 weeks. Large groups may be required to have refundable security deposit in addition to standard non-refundable Property Damage Protection insurance.

The Chesa Madrisa only accepts credit card payments: American Express, Visa, MasterCard & Discover.

Square is our payment processor & rental invoices will be emailed directly from Square.

The Chesa Madrisa does *not* accept rental payments through the VRBO/HOMEAWAY payment processor - this listing is approved by VRBO to accept "Alternative Payments" directly from guest after guest has paid VRBO's service fee to VRBO. Guests may use the green "Request to Book" button and will be charged VRBO's service fee directly by VRBO, and then the Chesa Madrisa will separately send an invoice via Square for the rental, or guests may feel free to click the blue text that says "Ask Manager a Question" and the family property manager will respond very quickly.


Want to squeeze in more fun during your vacation? Guest may purchase flex-check-in or flex-check-out. Subject to availability within 72 hours prior to check in or check out dates. Complimentary 1 hour early check-in & late check-out available upon request - subject to availability within 24 hours. This is a great way to extend your ski or hiking weekend!


Flexible check-in anytime after 10am day of arrival


Flexible check-out anytime before 5pm day of departure


$325 standard nightly rate

$350 select holiday rate

$400 select holiday rate

$2,000 weekly rate

$3,700 monthly rate


All nightly & weekly reservations require a $500 non-refundable Reservation Payment, with non-refundable balance due 30 days in advance.

Major holidays & monthly reservations require a $1,000 non-refundable Reservation Payment per month booked, with a non-refundable balance due 60 days in advance.

More Details

Property Manager
Hillary Gibson
Member since: 2014
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 19, 2018

About Hillary Gibson

I'm Hillary Gibson, and I am the Family Property Manager - this is our family vacation home, built by my grandparents in 2001. I live in Lake Oswego, just outside of Portland, Oregon with my husband, 5 year old son, and beagle. I am readily available to guests via email, text, or phone & I have a great team on the ground in Big Trees if needed.


Lawrence & Luana Wilsey built this home in 2001. The original Chesa Madrisa was built by the Wilsey family in 1973 in Snowmass, Colorado. It was the first home on its road, overlooking a stunning landscape of aspen forest, the Rocky Mountains and a 180° view of the Continental Divide. The home’s design was inspired by Swiss ski chalets that the Wilseys had grown fond of during their travels. The name “Chesa” means home, and “Madrisa” was the Wilseys’ favorite ski run in Switzerland, from Klosters to Davos.

The Wilsey family has deep roots in the Sierra Nevada region. The owner’s father was a leader in the logging industry in nearby White Pines, Big Trees, and Angel’s Camp, and the town of Wilseyville, also up in the Sierras, was named after the original owner’s father.

After a long and distinguished career, which included working for the Marshall Plan in Norway, for the State Department in the Philippines and Washington DC, and for businesses, banks, hospitals and educational institutions around the world, in 2001 the Wilseys built the second Chesa Madrisa in Big Trees, California, modeled on the first Snowmass Chesa Madrisa. In fact, the same Soleri bell that hung by the entry of the Snowmass home currently adorns the entry of the Big Trees home. Be sure to ring this bell upon initial entry - it’s a tradition! Also, be sure to admire the vintage wooden Norwegian skis hanging in the stairway that were retired by the owner decades ago after amazing runs in Norway, Switzerland, and Colorado. The antique Swiss bell (beatfop) in the kitchen also hung in the same place in Colorado.

Hillary Gibson purchased this chalet in 2001

Why Hillary Gibson chose Dorrington

Big Trees Village is an ideal location for a relaxing home base at the Chesa Madrisa while you explore the Sierra Nevada mountains. Fresh air & quiet solitude, with easy access to fun activities in Big Trees State Park, Bear Valley, Murphys & Angels Camp.

Avoid the crowds of Tahoe and enjoy relaxation just a 3-4 hour drive from the Bay Area, and just over 2 hours from the Sacramento airport.

Year round the nearby town of Murphys is the perfect destination for guests who enjoy one of a kind shops, nice restaurants, and wine tasting. This historical mining town in the Sierra Nevada foothills is now well known for excellent wineries and its charming Main Street lined with boutiques. Pack a picnic, or grab a sandwich from Aria or Alchemy in Murphys, and then head to the picnic tables by the creek and let the kids enjoy the playground and water. There’s even a bocce court! The 1st Saturday every October is the annual Calaveras Grape Stomp & the Annual Gold Rush Street Faire. In March, Murphys Irish Day features a parade and entertainment all along Main Street.


●Big Trees State Park - Giant Sequoias, Beaver Creek, Sour Grass Bridge

●Bear Valley Ski Resort - Downhill alpine skiing & expansive groomed cross-country skiing trails

●Lake Alpine - Summer water sports such as swimming, stand-up-paddle boarding, & kayaking

●Murphys - Irish Day (March), Calaveras Grape Stomp & Street Faire (October), Day of the Dead (November)

●Angels Camp - Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee (May), Mark Twain Wild West Fest (October)

●Stanislaus River - fly fishing

●Mercer Caverns

●Columbia State Historic Park

●Union & Utica Reservoirs

●White Pines Lake – summer swimming next to town of Arnold

●Arnold Rim Trail - hiking

●Sierra Nevada Logging Museum

●Big Trees Village Recreation Center - summer swimming pool

What makes this chalet unique

This is our well loved family vacation home, and not a generic investment rental property. If you're looking for a home that values quality over quantity, then you are in the right place. Our goal is not to get "heads in the beds" - we want families who appreciate the extra amenities and will enjoy our home as if it were their own special retreat.

As a frequent guest of vacation homes with my husband & young son, I have tried to outfit the Chesa Madrisa with every item I've ever found to be lacking in other homes - nothing has been overlooked here!

The Chesa Madrisa is one of the few VRBOs in the area that has premium features such as linens & towels, as well as top of the line cooking gadgets. This home is amazing in all seasons with a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Guests love the Chesa Madrisa layout because all three bedrooms have their own private bathroom, and the rest of the home has plenty of room to spread out and relax.

Got kids?

I've yet to stay at another vacation home outfitted with so many toys to keep the younger crew busy while the adults can relax. Legos, Brio trains, arts & crafts, dollhouse, play kitchen, board games galore....

Guestbook comments from the manager

Thank you for the wonderful stay! It was comfortable, beautiful, warm and had everything we needed. We've never stayed at such an amazing place. We really appreciate all the care and organization. We'd love to be back soon! Absolutely fantastic!
Nov 2015
  • 1 of 11


Dorrington Chalet Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • chalet
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
Floor Area:
  • 3100 sq ft
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 8
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Village ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Garage ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Free Wifi
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher ...
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Child's Highchair
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 6 people
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • 1 Half Bath
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Attached to Bedroom #1
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Attached to Bathroom #2
    Bathroom 3 - toilet , shower , Attached to Bedroom #3 - oversized shower
    Bathroom 4 - toilet , Half-bath on upper level with living areas
  • All bathrooms feature premium Williams-Sonoma hand soap & hand lotion, as well as plush towels. There is also complimentary full size shampoo, conditioner, body wash & bar soap. All commodes are new Kohler comfort height.
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 8
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 king , 1 bunk bed , 1 king convertible to 2 twins & 1 set of twin bunk beds
    Bedroom 2 - 1 king
    Bedroom 3 - 1 king
    Additional Beds for Kids - 2 cots for children & 1 pack-n-play for infant/toddler
  • The maximum occupancy is 6 adults & 2 children = 8 maximum We would like all of our guests to have a wonderfully relaxing stay, therefore the Chesa Madrisa can not comfortably accommodate more than 6 adults. There is a complimentary Baby Bjorn pack-n-play for infants & toddlers. All king size beds feature premium sheets & supreme cushion mattress pads. All bedrooms have full attached bathrooms. All bedrooms have 1 closet for guest use as well as one dresser. Bedroom #3 has an exterior door with access to dog run.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Toys ...
  • Video Games ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • Ski & Snowboard ...
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
Pool / Spa:
  • Communal Pool ...
  • arboretum
  • festivals
  • museums
  • playground
  • recreation center
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • bird watching
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • sight seeing
  • sledding
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cross country skiing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • ski privileges optional
  • snowmobiling
  • swimming
Wifi controlled heat thermostat & dusk-to-dawn exterior lights make a late evening arrival easy. The Chesa Madrisa also has a security system & exterior camera - great for a peek at the local weather!


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(21 traveler reviews)

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CHESA MADRISA - well appointed with top of the line amenities for guests
average rating of 5.0 based on 32 reviews

We loved our stay at Chesa Madrisa!

  • 5 of 5

Our family had a very warm and wonderful time at Chesa. The house was perfectly sized and formatted. Our four children have already “made plans” to return and enjoy another “vacation.” Chesa Madrisa is definitely a home away from home. It has everything we needed, forgotten and more. We were able to truly not worry about anything. There were so much extras (personal hygiene items, kitchen items, towels...... all the essentials), we didn’t have to make a stop at the store to pick up anything we forgot..... well......except for food!

Definitely a must rent!!

  • Submitted: Apr 17, 2018
  • Stayed: April 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Fabulous upscale mountain home with all the amenities and charm

  • 5 of 5

Our family highly recommends the Chesa Madrisa as place to enjoy with family and friends no matter the season. One can hike through Big Trees, ski in winter, swim in the summer, or enjoy the historic town of Murphy’s, the local logging museum, or sample wine at the numerous vineyards.

  • Submitted: Mar 11, 2018
  • Stayed: March 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Benicia, CA

Gorgeous house, wonderful owner!

  • 5 of 5

Gorgeous house! Plenty of space for kids and adults! Kitchen was fully equipped with everything you could ever want and more! Bedrooms were spacious and each had its own private bath. Loved sitting on the couch taking in the gorgeous view. Heated garage was a HUGE bonus since we had 5 feet of snow! The owner, Hillary was on call and very helpful with having the driveway plowed before we arrived and throughout our whole stay! We will definitely stay again!

  • Submitted: Mar 5, 2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: HomeAway
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San Francisco, CA

Beautiful, modern home for our family ski vacation

  • 5 of 5

We loved our stay at Chesa Madrisa for our family ski vacation. From the beginning, the owner, Hillary, was so warm and welcoming with her communication about the property. She even sent us an outdoor pic from the home's exterior cam of fresh snow falling the morning we were arriving for our ski weekend. This made everyone extra excited for a weekend of fresh powder on the slopes! These details in Hillary's communication made us feel very welcome at the home.

The home has a great layout with the 3 large bedrooms, toy/tv/game space and laundry on the lower level. This worked so well for the kids to have space to play and adults to have space upstairs. The home is well stocked with everything you need, from zip lock bags to Kerig coffee pods to kids toys/games/Wii machine. The bedrooms are big and king beds very comfortable. We had 3 couples and young kids so it was nice to all have our own bathrooms. The home was very clean and had linens and towels provided. This home did not feel like a rental home but like you were at a friend's home with everything you needed.

The house is about a 30-40 minute drive to Bear Valley and 15 minutes to Arnold so it was convenient for skiing and for groceries/restaurants/gas in Arnold. We can't wait to come back to Chesa Madrisa in the warm weather and explore all the warm weather activities around like the Big Trees State Park or Alpine Lake. Thanks Hillary for a great vacation at your home! We would love to come back and stay again!

  • Submitted: Apr 13, 2017
  • Stayed: April 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Lovely home

  • 5 of 5

This is a lovely LARGE home. It would be a great for a 2 family getaway or for a family with multiple kids/teens. Lots of space to spread out and lots to do. It is completely outfitted with everything you need to cook in. Very clean, updated and comfortable. Walking distance to Big Trees Park (on fire road). Very quiet and peaceful.

  • Submitted: Jun 13, 2016
  • Stayed: May 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Great place

  • 5 of 5

Enjoyed staying here again with the family. Plenty of room, very clean, and high end amenities. Will definitely be coming back.

  • Submitted: Mar 26, 2016
  • Stayed: February 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
115 Miles
Nearest Barpub
1 Miles
Lube Room
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
Highway 4
Nearest Ski
25 Miles
Bear Valley Ski Resort
Car: necessary

The Chesa Madrisa is halfway between Bear Valley and Murphys (approximately 30 minutes each direction). Our home also borders Big Trees State Park which has great hikes year round - bring your snowshoes in the winter!

Lake Alpine is 25 miles up Highway 4 - many summer activities from fishing to stand-up-paddle boarding.

Sierra Nevada Logging Museum is in nearby Arnold & open seasonally.

Big Trees is approximately 2 hours from Yosemite & 5 hours from Lake Tahoe.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Pet Fee $100
PropertyDamageProtection $50 + Tax
Cleaning $175 + Tax
Tax Rate 6.0%

The Chesa Madrisa only accepts credit card payments: American Express, Visa, MasterCard & Discover.
Square is our payment processor & rental invoices will be emailed directly from Square.
The Chesa Madrisa does not accept rental payments through the VRBO/HOMEAWAY payment processor - VRBO has approved this listing to accept "Alternative Payments" directly to owner. Guests may use the "Request to Book" button and will be charged VRBO's service fee directly by VRBO, and then the Chesa Madrisa will separately send an invoice via Square for the rental, or guests may feel free to click the "SEND A MESSAGE" button if any questions prior to booking on VRBO and the family property manager will respond very quickly.

The Chesa Madrisa requires all guests to digitally sign a contract which will be emailed from the digisigner website, and requires the guest making the reservation to email/text a photo ID. Reservation will be confirmed when contract, ID, and $500 Reservation Payment are received.

Chesa Madrisa requires a $50 non-refundable accidental property damage protection fee which includes $3,000 of accidental damage coverage during your stay. Family property manager will purchase on behalf of guest from ARDI. Any damages not covered by the insurance are the responsibility of the guest.

For nightly or weekly rentals:
$500 Reservation Payment is non-refundable.
Balance due 30 days in advance is non-refundable.

For monthly rentals:
$1,000 Reservation Payment for monthly rentals (per month) or select holidays is non-refundable.
Balance due 60 days in advance for monthly rentals or select holidays is non-refundable.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the manager or check their rental agreement when booking the property.