Chalets are built primarily from wood and are often distinguished by their heavy yet gentle sloped roofs with strongly supported eaves placed at right angles on the frontal part of the house.

The term derives from Swiss and French regions that spoke Arpitan and its original connotation was associated with the hut of a herdsman or Shepard. So its not surprising that many chalets in the Alps were used as summer farms for cattle to be brought up to from lower land. The herders would reside in the chalets and preserve the dairy produced from the cattle by making cheese and butter. With the onset of winter the cattle and these products would be taken back to the lower valleys, and the chalets would remain unused for this period of time.