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CHESA MADRISA updated & spacious BIG TREES VILLAGE between Murphys & Bear Valley

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


About the property

⭐️ Built 2001 - 3 king beds & 3.5 bath - fresh & light - great fall hikes


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.

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

●3 full baths on lower level & 1 half bath on main level

●Each bedroom has its own full bathroom attached

●6 adult maximum & 4 children

●Dog friendly (2 dog max - $80/dog)

●Free wifi, Comcast X1 cable tv, landline, Smart TV's, blu-ray players, Nintendo wii

●Top of the line kitchen gear - Vitamix & Le Creuset

●Linens & towels included

●2 car garage with fairly level driveway (easy in the snow)


The Chesa Madrisa is one of the few vacation homes in the area that has premium features such as wifi, Comcast X1 cable television, two "Smart TVs" and a landline with complimentary long distance calling (limited cell service). The Chesa Madrisa also has nice quality linens & towels, and top of the line cooking gadgets: Vitamix blender, Le Creuset bakeware, KitchenAid Mixer, KitchenAid Double Belgian Waffle Baker, Williams-Sonoma pots & pans, Keurig coffee maker, Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker, and All-Clad 7qt slow cooker. The kitchen & four bathrooms all feature Williams-Sonoma hand soaps and lotion. Unlike many nearby vacation rentals, all linens and towels are included.

The Chesa Madrisa has modern conveniences – 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, and an outdoor camera to see screen shots of current weather.


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 table & chairs.

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

The Chesa Madrisa comfortably accommodates up to six adult guests and four children. Each of the three bedrooms has a king size bed and private full bath. The 1st bedroom on the lower level has a set of bunk beds for children, and a king size bed that can be split into two twin beds upon request. There are also two full sized cots for children to be placed by parents wherever they prefer. 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!

●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 fun red couch & TV area with cable channels, 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 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.

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


● The Chesa Madrisa has an exterior video camera

● Email inquiries are automatically added to quarterly newsletter & may unsubscribe at any time

● The Chesa Madrisa comfortably sleeps a maximum of 6 adults and 4 children

● 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


All guests are required to pay a $500 reservation deposit, 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. Guests may use the yellow "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 EMAIL " button if any questions prior to booking on VRBO and the family property manager will respond very quickly.


$325 standard nightly rate

$350 select holiday rate

$400 select holiday rate

$2,000 weekly rate

$3,700 monthly rate

More Details

Property Manager
Hillary Gibson
Member since: 2014
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
November 20, 2017

About Hillary Gibson

This family vacation home is managed by the owner's grand-daughter, Hillary, living in Portland, Oregon.


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 Snowmass Chesa Madrisa was regrettably sold in the 1980s when the Wilseys moved to California.

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 owner’s father. The owner worked in the area during summer breaks from high school and college.

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

This is our well loved family vacation home, and not a generic investment rental property.

The Chesa Madrisa is a great escape - 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.

What makes this chalet unique

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.

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


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.


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
  • 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 hand soap & hand lotion, as well as plush towels. There is also complimentary full size shampoo, conditioner, body wash & bar soap.
  • 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 & 4 children = 10 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
  • mountain biking
  • 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 -
(18 traveler reviews)

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CHESA MADRISA updated & spacious BIG TREES VILLAGE between Murphys & Bear Valley
average rating of 5.0 based on 29 reviews
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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San Francisco, CA

Lovely home

  • 5 of 5

Our group of 10 enjoyed a too short birthday weekend stay in the Chesa Madrisa (6 adults, 4 kids age 9-14). We skied on Saturday at Bear Valley. It's an easy drive from the house. The roads were clear and there was no snow at the house (at 5,000 ft); Bear Valley is at 7,000 ft.. On Sunday, we visited Big Trees State Park, took a leisurely walk among the Giant Sequoias (similar to the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite) and had a late lunch in Murphy's on our way back to SF.

Hillary was very easy to work with and responsive. The house is a lovely as it is in the photos and had everything we needed. We arrived after dark on Friday (had to work that day!), and next time we will try to arrive earlier to enjoy the cozy fireplace and sectional and just take in that beautiful view of the trees.

It's like being invited to a friend's house, not a rental property. The space is conducive to being together but also spreading out in small groups to talk, watch a movie, play Wii, etc. Hope to make this an annual treat!

  • Submitted: Mar 11, 2016
  • Stayed: February 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Very beautiful house. ..plenty of room for the kids.and has everything you need..we love it

  • 5 of 5

We truly enjoy our stay here..This home..has everything you need to enjoy your vacation. ..plenty of room, for all family would love this place.....we truly enjoy our stay..

  • Submitted: Mar 6, 2016
  • Stayed: February 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

Staying here was an amazing experience. The house is beautiful. We showed up on Thursday to about a foot of snow on the deck and roof. Walked inside to a warm and cozy house, that was very easy to make yourself very comfortable. That night is snowed all night long. We woke up to about 8" of snow on all of the cars. Great time! All the rooms were very spacious, and my dogs absolutely loved the place. First time in the snow for them and they were having a ball. Hilary is a very nice lady to deal with. I highly recommend this house to anyone, any age, with animals or not. Thank you for a great trip. We will return to stay at Chesa Madrisa!

  • Submitted: Jan 18, 2016
  • Stayed: January 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: I'm so glad you had a great time! The Chesa is awesome in winter with fresh snow & amazing with fresh air and hikes the rest of the year - come back anytime!
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Property Protection $50
Pet Fee $80
Cleaning Fee $175
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. Guests may use the yellow "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 Deposit 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. Any damages not covered by the insurance are the responsibility of the guest.

Cancellation within 1st 3 days of booking & more than 30 days prior to rental = $250 refund (50% of deposit)

Cancellation more than 3 days after booking & more than 30 days prior to rental = $0 refund (0% of deposit)

Cancellation less than 30 days prior to rental = $0 refund of full rental amount (0% refund)

For monthly rentals term change from 30 days to 60 days.

Manager's Cancellation Policy

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