Learn How This Iconic Tahoe Homestead Was Restored To Its Former Scandinavian Glory

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Prior to becoming Wylder Hope Valley in June 2020, the 165-acre, all-season resort located in California’s Sierra Nevada known as Sorensen’s was somewhat of a local icon. Originally established by Danish immigrant Martin Sorensen in 1926 as a small collection of roadside cabins built to attract passing travelers, the resort continued to grow and expand over the decades under multiple different owners, each re-styling the cabins to represent the era and ownership they were constructed under.

When it was Wylder Hotels’ turn to take over, the company wanted to return the cabins to their former Scandinavian glory, opting for a cozy, minimalist style while leaving the cabins’ individual quirks and magic intact. The company also added custom luxury yurts, a fully restored 1951 riverfront vintage Spartan trailer, and 13 tent and RV sites.

The resorts now hosts activities across summer and winter, including hiking through aspen groves and pine forests, swimming, kayaking, mountain biking, seasonal fishing, roasting s’mores at outdoor fire pits, live music, life-sized lawn games, and even a wood-fired sauna. (Because it’s not really Scandinavian unless there’s a sauna.)

In winter, guests of the property can rent cross country skies and snowshoes at the General Store, located on property, and cross-country ski and snowshoe anywhere on property or in the expansive Hope Valley meadow just down the road. You can also book private cross country ski tours through the Hope Valley meadow, and, for the kiddies, there are also several sledding spaces across the property as well.

The onsite restaurant—Sorenson’s Café—still bears the names of its original owners, and beloved favorites like the famous beef burgundy stew and berry cobbler will never leave the menu.

To find out more about Wylder Hope Valley and its redesign, we spoke with the property’s general manager, Brandon Crudup.

Tell me a little bit about how Wylder Hotels came to take over what used to be Sorensen’s Resort and what about the property proved an exciting opportunity to take over and restore/reimagine?

The property offered everything Wylder Hotels looks for in a resort destination. It’s a bit off the beaten path, brimming with character and history, and had great bones for reimagining the accommodations and the guest experience for the modern traveler.

Walk me through some of the design inspiration behind the restoration: what elements stayed, what didn’t, and how does the new Wyder Hope Valley envision the spirit of the original resort throughout its design aesthetic? (A good chance to talk about the Scandinavian influence!)

Brimming with distinct character and soul, Wylder Hope Valley has 30 uniquely built cabins made across different decades for the past 100 years. The cabin renovations preserved the best of the property’s storied past with upgraded amenities that enhance its natural beauty. Each cabin has its own name. We have Ponderosa, Knottypine, Saint Nicks, and Sierra House, to name a few, and each range in various layouts and sizes.

We worked with Portland-based Matchless Builds to bring custom-made wooden furniture for a mountain homelike appeal. We worked with designers at OMFGCO to create spaces full of warm woods, leather, copper, and birch with pops with navy and bluebell, and modern amenities. Cabins are also dog-friendly. The Scandinavian-inspired design is an ode to the original owners, the Sorenson family and their Danish heritage.

The new resort is such a magical place to be in the winter. It almost feels like its own little world, with the cabins dotted throughout the forest. I think this makes it feel quite special. What do you personally think makes Wylder Hope Valley different from other Tahoe resorts?

Wylder Hope Valley is particularly special because there is nothing else like it in the area. With its history, stunning location in Hope Valley by the Carson River, and access to outdoor adventure right on property, the resort truly offers something for everyone. Our different accommodations, ranging from cabins to luxury yurts, an Airstream, and camping and RV sites, make the resort accessible to many different types of travelers looking for their own unique experiences in the High Sierra. We treat each and every guest like family and are dedicated to ensuring they take advantage of all the wonderful amenities we have to offer.

What is your personal favorite aspect of the property?

My personal favorite aspect about the property is its natural beauty. The pastel colors on the mountains as the sunlight pass over them throughout the day. The Carson River during the spring as the snow melts. The dark stary night with more stars than I can count. The golden aspens chime in as they wrestle in the wind. During winter, waking up to a winter wonderland with snow-covered trees.

What is the most surprising (delightful or otherwise) piece of feedback you have received from a guest at Wylder Hope Valley?

Honestly, we have amazing guests that truly love the chance to disconnect. This is a recent guest review that reminded me why I love working at Wylder Hope Valley. When asked what we did well, our guest said: “Is it too soon to book next year? A well-appointed cabin. Amazing, super attentive staff. An organized arrival experience. Dining and booze, first-rate! Exceptional sauna!!”

When asked what the guest would tell their friends, our guest said: “That it was the best gift of self-care I could have imagined.”

Talk me through the cabins themselves and how they were designed: what were some of the key inspirations there, and how do the various accommodations at Wylder Hope encourage guests to cross paths and mingle, regardless of where they are staying?

Our cabins are peppered throughout the property alongside winding pathways through Aspen trees which are beautiful to see during the changing of seasons, and our Hope Valley House is located just down the road from the main property adjacent to The General Store.

The resort is anchored by our signature restaurant, Sorenson’s Café, and the overall property has a very communal feel to it. Guests walking to and from their cabins will pass by hammocks, a communal fire pit, the Aspen Grove where we offer live music, as well as our wood-fired sauna. There are trailhead access points right on property so guests can easily embark on hiking or snowshoeing adventures from their cabins.

Can you talk about the exciting new things Wylder Hope Valley has planned this year?

We are excited to welcome a new executive chef, Buddy Love, who is transforming our culinary program at Sorenson’s Café. The classics that have been on the menu for decades will still remain, and we’re also excited to launch prix-fixe dinners this spring and summer.

We’ve also incorporated dynamic offerings for weddings and celebrations, providing a new magical destination in the High Sierra to exchange vows on a mountain top and curate whimsical receptions within the forest.

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