Modern Treehouse, Sundance, UT (Vrbo): We don’t like to begin a tour of a gorgeous vacation home on a negative foot, especially at Christmastime, but we have to in this case. If this is a treehouse, then our entire childhood has just been exposed as a lie. This is definitely not the wooden platform and vertical slat-with-nails stairs that this author’s father passed off as the real deal in our youth. But while we wait for our therapist to return our emergency call, let’s move on to happier things: even if you have been forced to delay your holiday vacation plans due to the Grinch that is Omicron, you can still dream of the snowy escape you will make once this variant subsides. And for that trip, we would like to suggest Sundance, Utah, where the skiing is smooth, the visitors are glittering, and, if this rental is any indication, the digs are magical.
Many people are having to rethink their winter holiday plans in ways that include inviting the whole family along. (On the count of three, point to the person whose fault it is that every member of the family was automatically included in your COVID pod. May we suggest next pandemic you implement a screening process?) If you’re being forced to give up the adults-only vacay and include the kids in your plans, don’t worry—this Modern Treehouse has you covered. Meet the game room, otherwise known as “the babysitter.”
Cribs got it all wrong; this is where the magic happens… at least that’s the case if you have a chef in your travel crew. On that note, it’s time to quickly add “a friend who’s an expert home chef” to your last minute “Dear Santa” list. You deserve it after the past two years.
Requirement No. 1 in the qualifications to be considered a treehouse: being built in the trees. This home is an overachiever given that it was assembled among the treetops of an entire forest.
This wood-burning fireplace doubles as entertainment. It might not have been possible pre-pandemic to ever imagine that you could run out of things to watch. But if you’ve gone through everything that could possibly interest you on Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Apple +, Disney Plus—you get the picture—than you can gather your closet friends and family, make everyone a round of hot toddy’s, and lull yourselves into a warm winter nap watching the flames.
This home may have a modest four bedrooms, but it was built with vacation crowds in mind. That means, if your pod happens to have been supersized, you can squeeze up to 12 people into the home and still have space for everyone to sleep comfortably.
Most of the house has floor-to-ceiling windows, all the better to see your snowy white forest with. But you don’t have to give up the view of the wild woods even when you’re spending time primping for the evening entertainment in one of the four-and-a-half baths.
Sundance, UT, is perhaps most famous for its January film festival. Embrace that spirit and imagine that this rocky path is your own red carpet to vacation mode.
Apparently the “modern” way to build a treehouse is to have it firmly planted on the ground. While this is a disappointing, if practical, revelation, we will add some points back to the score for a very interesting architectural profile.
The Sundance Resort is home to all the classic winter activities your little Sporty Spice heart could desire—snowing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, snowmobiling, snow sledding. But there is one very special amenity that departs from the very snowy theme. You can explore Mount Timpanogos and its environs via zipline in both winter and summer.
And for those who aren’t entirely pooped after a day freezing their bums off on the slopes, there’s one additional option to work up a sweat: night skiing. That’s right, in Sundance, you can make tracks through fresh powder by the light of the gleaming moon.
Now, if you remember your days as a mega fan of the Spice Girls (obviously, that was never us, but, you know, no judgement), you’ll remember that there were five members of the band. If you happen to be one of those not named “Sporty,” then Sundance has something for you. We’re talking spas, shopping, and the Sundance Art Studio, where you can take classes or just enjoy a demonstration of a cool craft like glassblowing.
After a full day on the slopes, we don’t know who has the energy to do much more than make a batch of cocktails and slip into this hot tub to celebrate happy hour the way it was always intended.
Normally, there is one downside to choosing a home rental rather than booking a room at a resort when you’re on a ski trip. That’s the fact that you generally are required to forgo the sauna. Not here. This Modern Treehouse has all the amenities, including both a hot tub and a steam room, so there is no lack of options for how you can warm up after a cold day on the slopes.
The x factor in any vacation planning these days is a little ol’ thing known as The State of the World. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, it insists on keeping us on our toes. But we’re trying to look on the bright side, and that side is shiny and tempting at the Modern Treehouse. If a winter trip isn’t in the cards for you this year, then try your luck next summer, which has the added benefit of allowing you to comfortably use this glorious backyard. Afternoon nap in the tent followed by s’mores and a glass of bubbly around the outdoor fireplace, anyone?
Book Your Stay: Modern Treehouse, Sundance, Utah: $1,100/night via Vrbo