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 recently updated.  This amazing home is is best suited for a maximum of 8 guests (6 adults max).  

The rate varies from $325-$400/night, $2,000/week, and $4,000/month.



$2,000 1 week

$3,500 2 weeks

$4,750 3 weeks

$6,000 4 weeks

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. 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.  


The Chesa Madrisa is one of the few vacation homes in the area that has premium features such as a Siemens electric vehicle charger, wifi, Comcast cable television, two "Smart TVs" and a landline with complimentary long distance calling (limited cell service in the area).  The Chesa Madrisa also has nice quality linens & towels, and top of the line cooking gadgets.  The kitchen & four bathrooms all feature Williams-Sonoma hand soaps and lotion. Unlike most nearby vacation rentals, all linens and towels are included, and all king size beds have extra plush mattress toppers. 

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 also includes all sheets & towels, unlike many nearby vacation rentals, as well as a basket of common toiletries just in case something was forgotten.  Just relax, kick your feet up, and enjoy the mountains in this amazing premium retreat.


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.

The Chesa Madrisa comfortably accommodates up to eight guests (six adults max).  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!


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. 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.


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.

$100  Flexible check-in anytime after 10am day of arrival

$100 Flexible check-out anytime before 5pm day of departure 


●KitchenAid double wall oven

●Breville mini oven

●Breville microwave

●Set of Le Creuset ceramic bakeware

●Espresso 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


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


Please email ( or text/call (503-568-9133) the Family Property Manager to reserve your dates.  Contract, ID, and $500 Reservation Payment are required to complete a reservation, with balance due 30 days in advance.  $1,000 Reservation Deposit for select holidays or monthly rentals (per month) with balance due 60 days in advance.    

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


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.


The Chesa Madrisa has an exterior Nest video camera & Nest Hello doorbell, both of which record exterior video & audio.  

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


Booking directly via this website saves on fees associated with various listing websites. This website features the lowest rates with no service fees or booking fees (VRBO & AIRBNB both have service fees).  Please feel free to read reviews on our listings on various listing sites, but reach out directly to book anytime for the best rate. To book direct please use this website's "contact" feature, or email, or text 503-568-9133. All inquiries will be responded to quickly. 

Read our reviews on VRBO (#639775) but book directly for the best rate

Please "like" the Chesa Madrisa page on Facebook to see what's new & get 1st dibs on rare cancellations!


Currently a beloved family vacation home, and not a generic investment rental property, the Chesa Madrisa is managed by the owner’s granddaughter, Hillary Gibson, a resident of Portland, Oregon. Hillary’s grandparents, 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.

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