Ottawa ski fam­i­lies know the sce­nario well: An ear­ly­morn­ing drive in a car packed with bod­ies, ski equip­ment, cloth­ing, lunches, and an ex­tra set of ev­ery­thing. Add to that list a nag­ging fear that at least one es­sen­tial item will be left be­hind, and then re­peat the process for the drive home.

For many diehard skiers this rou­tine con­tin­ues for years, while oth­ers find them­selves a more re­lax­ing al­ter­na­tive by chill­ing out in their own ski chalet. It’s a great way to en­joy the après-ski ex­pe­ri­ence to the fullest and get the max­i­mum fun out of win­ter life on the slopes.


With a beau­ti­ful newly built ski chalet at Mont Ste-Marie, win­ter week­ends are a de­light for Monica Sing­hal, Kevin Yemm and their three chil­dren. Com­ing from a big fam­ily of skiers, it’s not sur­pris­ing that eight-yearold Chet, along with his two younger sis­ters Maya and Dhara, are all in ski pro­grams.

“I grew up ski­ing and we spent a lot of time at my un­cle’s chalet in Colling­wood, as well as vis­it­ing friends with chalets at Mont SteMarie. It’s what in­spired us to build our own place there,” says Monica, adding that her sis­ter’s in-laws also have a chalet on the hill. Monica says that the life­style is all about re­lax­ing fam­ily time. “The cousins ski and play to­gether, and I get to spend time with my sis­ter and brother-in-law. It feels like we get to raise our chil­dren to­gether up there be­cause the win­ters are so long.”

Af­ter two years of look­ing for a place to buy, a lot close to the hill be­came avail­able and the cou­ple took it right away. The lo­ca­tion was great as it al­lowed the fam­ily to ski in and ski out, with scenic views of the hill­side. Monica knew this is where she wanted to be and the chalet was planned to ac­com­mo­date ca­sual, comfy fam­ily liv­ing. “It’s a real com­mu­nity here – the kids all know each other and are good friends.”


Built on a tree-cov­ered hill­side, the open-con­cept chalet was con­structed by an area builder in a tim­ber-frame

style with old pine culled from the Ottawa River. The dark-stained pine gives some lo­cal his­tory to the new home, and in­fuses the mod­ern de­sign with a warm, rus­tic look. Vinyl sid­ing in an at­trac­tive blue-grey shade pro­vides a low­main­te­nance ex­te­rior.

Fac­ing south, both the chalet and a hot tub on the lower deck are per­fectly po­si­tioned to en­joy nat­u­ral light and win­ter-won­der­land views. From the kitchen win­dow, Monica can see the ski hill and the glow of the stone fire­place in the fam­ily room. The liv­ing area on the main floor is one big open space and this was im­por­tant to keep ev­ery­one to­gether while cook­ing, eat­ing or warm­ing up by the “must-have” wood-burn­ing fire­side.

This level also in­cludes the mas­ter bed­room and en­suite, plus one of two mud rooms to take care of all the many sets of ski boots and cloth­ing. The kids sleep in the up­per loft level with their own bath­room, and the open base­ment area houses a spa­cious recre­ation room, as well as two guest bed­rooms for visi­tors and sleep­overs.

While Monica aimed for cozy fam­ily to­geth­er­ness on the main floor “where we can all see and talk to each other,” she also planned to al­low for “calm, adult space and time.” So the kids go down­stairs for play­time or to watch TV and ev­ery­one is happy.

Keep­ing the look clean and sim­ple was a pri­or­ity and this is seen in the use of neu­tral colours and nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als with a coun­try-style dé­cor and fur­nish­ings. For ex­tra com­fort, fea­tures such as heated floor tiles were added to all the bath­rooms and peb­ble-stone floors in the walk-in show­ers help to mas­sage tired feet.

Of course, the hot tub is a favourite après-ski spot for the whole fam­ily and it’s big enough to fit them all. Even though a crane was needed to place it on the hill­side lo­ca­tion, Monica says the or­deal was worth it. “This is a life­style that we want to share as a fam­ily for years to come,” she says in the hope that the chalet will al­ways be a part of their fam­ily.

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