Robin McElroy – Squaw Valley Ski Patrol & Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Guide
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows Launches 2017 Women of Ski Patrol Calendar; Proceeds to Benefit Avalanche Safety Education
[Olympic Valley, Calif.] Nov. 11, 2016 – Continuing its mission to provide educational opportunities for the local Tahoe community, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announces the new Women of Ski Patrol 2017 Calendar, of which all proceeds will go towards funding avalanche safety education scholarships. The new calendar showcases the 13 female patrollers from the Squaw Valley Ski Patrol and Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol Teams from the 2015-16 winter season, featuring stunning photography by Keoki Flagg. Calendars can be pre-ordered online now for $25 and will be available at retailers throughout the Village at Squaw Valley® for the Thanksgiving holiday including Gallery Keoki, which will host a special debut event with the women of patrol on Saturday, November 26 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Calendars will also be available for sale at the Tahoe City Visitor Center. Two ski patrollers featured in the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Women of Ski Patrol Calendar, Robin McElroy is heading into her 11th season at the resort.
“The Squaw Valley Ski Patrol Team draws adrenaline junkies, and I’m definitely in that category,” said Robin McElroy, ski patroller at Squaw Valley. “There’s a sense of excitement to our work with starting in the dark and not knowing what the day will bring. There is also an inherent risk of avalanches for anyone who loves skiing powder and exploring our mountains, which is why I believe avalanche education is so valuable. We are proud to have turned a fun idea into a beautiful calendar that will directly benefit our community.”
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, McElroy learned to ski at young age and grew up ski racing with Alyeska Ski Club and Spyder in Girdwood, Alaska. After joining the ski and snowboarding club at University of Colorado, Boulder, McElroy taught skiing and competed on the Freesking World Tour Circuit before joining the ski patrol at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in 2006.
When Robin is not patrolling at Squaw she is one of the elite guides at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in her native Alaska where she has been guiding heli skiing since 2014.
To purchase a calendar go to www.squawalpine.com/womenofpatrol
Amie Engerbretson is a pro skier and model from Lake Tahoe, California. She is headed to heli ski Alaska with Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. The lodge sits on Judd Lake in Alaska and is only accessible via float plane from Anchorage. The journey out to the lake and the lodge is nothing short of spectacular. Views of Manali are the icing on the cake. Stay tuned for this 10 part series from Amie as she brings the lodge experience to life.
Experience Alaska Heli Skiing – Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Photo by Poby
Alaska Heli Skiing is the experience of a lifetime. If you have not tried it then check out this video to get a glimpse into the experience of skiing up at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. From perfect light dry powder to fishing for king salmon, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is unique when it comes to Alaska Heli Skiing.
See their scenic lakeside location that gives guests great access into the skiing and snowboarding terrain. A plethora of non ski activities take place on the lake and nearby rivers, from Stand Up Paddling, to canoeing, fishing, rafting, water skiing and boarding in the summer months to Nordic skiing and snow machine driving in the winter months.
Fine dining isn’t limited to the lodge, guests can request king crab champagne lunches post heli skiing out in the wilderness of the heli terrain.
See what’s in store for you this winter at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska.
By Tommy Moe
US Ski Team’s New York Ski Ball
This October marks the 50th Anniversary of the US Ski Team’s New York Ski Ball. I have been going to the New York Ski ball for 20 years myself. It is a great event and some of best supporters of US Skiing/Snowboarding are in attendance. In this room filled with trustees, benefactors and the who’s who of New York City, I’m excited to see how many people int he room have been Alaska heli skiing at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Over the years Tordrillo Mountain Lodge has donated trips to this worthy cause of supporting our young skiers and snowboarders and helping them to achieve their dreams! The Teams are not funded by the government like other European teams, the money is raised from sponsors and fundraisers. For example if you are not in the top 25 in the world in a discipline you have to raise an extra $50k for travel and other related expenses.
I competed for the United States from 1987 to 1998 and at that time, everything was funded. In those days there were just three disciplines that were a part of the US Ski Team, Alpine, Nordic and Freestyle. Now the US Ski Team consists of Alpine, Nordic, Freeride, Snowboard, and Skier Cross Teams. This means the money has to be spread in a lot of different directions.
The 2016 NY event generated over $1.5m, thanks to the attendees, athletes, and supporters it was a record. This year’s event was extra special with 20 other gold medalists in attendance. This group included names like,
Phil Mahre, Donna Weinbrecht, Jonny Mosely, Seth Wescott, Debbie Armstrong, as well as more recent champions! The silent auction was a hit with trips to Yellowstone Club to Ski with Mikeala Shiffrin, Kings and Corn 2017 with Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, and an Iceland Heli-Ski trip, were only some of the amazing opportunites for the guests to bid for. Skiing and snowboarding is our passion at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge and we feel proud to support the future athletes and help them to achieve their dreams. We are now just a year and a half away from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. so this season is critical to help our athletes get on the podium. We are a dominate force in winter sports, so reach out to the local ski clubs where you ski or to US Skiing to support
this strong heritage.
Tommy Moe joins a decorated roster of Olympic gold medalists at the ski and snowboard industry’s top gala
For 20 years, TML co-owner Tommy Moe, an Olympic Gold Medalist in downhill skiing, has been attending the New York Gold Medal Gala in a show of support for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. The popular banquet is a highly-revered event in the snowsports industry, and our donation of two seats to the legendary, week-long heli-ski and heli-fish adventure is sure to be a coveted prize at the evening’s live aution.
Our epic Kings and Corn sessions celebrate their 20th anniversary next season, and we are thrilled at the chance to bring along fellow supporters of USSA by offering two seats up for bids.
As the gala celebrates its 50th anniversary, New York City’s 108th Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, will be recognized for his long-standing commitment and dedication to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation. He joins an impressive roster of honorees, including all the living U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboard Team gold medalists as well as current team members. If you’re able to join in the festivities, be sure to say hello to golden boy Tommy Moe and as well as TML co-owner and general manager Mike Overcast.
Not planning to attend the gala? Well, you still have an opportunity to come up and join us for an unforgettable Alaska heli adventure. Rates and session dates for the 2017 Winter Season have been announced and can be found at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge website. All new amenities and lodge improvements will be available to guests booking for the 2017 winter season, the 2017 Kings and Corn heli ski/fish season and the 2017 summer adventure season.
The premier Alaska heli-skiing and multi-sport operation has launched major renovations to be completed for the winter season.
TORDRILLO RANGE, AK – XX, 2016– Premier Alaska heli adventure operation Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, (TML) is pleased to unveil a major renovation and lodging expansion at its exclusive property on Judd Lake in Alaska’s Tordrillo Range.
This project which will significantly improve operations and facilities is on schedule to be completed in time for the 2017 winter season, marking Tordrillo Mountain Lodge’s 10th anniversary.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge has partnered with two long time guests to provide the expansion upgrades. TML owner Mike Overcast says, “Going into our decade celebration, we’ll be able to provide additional top-shelf services to our guests, this season. It’s exciting to be able to have so many of our returning skiers and snowboarders get to enjoy all that we’ll have to offer this coming year. Even though every year they tell us it can’t get better, we’re prepared to take it to the next level”.
Overcast and his team are expanding the main lodge by several thousand square feet, including an upscale common room, new lakeside bar, renovated guest rooms and a high-end commercial kitchen, in addition to an upgraded infrastructure program. Also currently under construction are four new deluxe cabins and an operations center for guides and staff. Overcast says, “This is a no-holds barred kind of project. In terms of quality, it raises the bar for the industry, and we couldn’t be more proud of what is happening up here. For me, the support provides the needed capital required to take us into the next decade. Being able to share this with our guests is an honor.”
Complementing the enhancement is a commercial-level internet router system. Overcast says, “This kind of opportunity to have an adventure of this level, stay in remote Alaska and remain connected is a rare opportunity. Tordrillo guests are able to come to the interior and still check in with their offices and families. This is important; as not everyone is able to go off grid for a week, or do they want to or need to.”
American Ski Racer Tommy Moe raced competitively from 1987 to 1998. Seen above, Moe skis a downhill training lap during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan—his last professional event.
On February 14, 1994, American ski racer Tommy Moe carved the downhill course in Lillehammer, Norway, fast enough to beat the hometown favorite, Kjetil André Aamodt, and win the Olympic gold medal. Four days later, on his 24th birthday, Moe took silver in the super G, becoming the first skier born in the U.S. to win two medals in the same Olympics. His smooth, flowing style put him on top of the podium in four World Championships and four National titles in the United States. Moe continued racing professionally until 1998, and after retiring at 28, set his sights on finding balance between family time and working as a backcountry mountain guide.
“The biggest thing for me is just being mindful, looking and seeing how good it is, sharing it with other people, showing them the best day of their lives.” —Tommy Moe
Moe, now 46, relocated to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and is currently employed as a mountain ambassador at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, giving private lessons into the accessible backcountry. He splits his time between the Tetons and the Tordrillos in Alaska, where he also co-owns, operates, and guides at his heli-ski lodge, the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Ski racer Tommy Moe has always found solace in the mountains, so POWDER recently caught up with him to hear about the transition from champion downhill racer to big-hearted backcountry guide, and how he’s continued to shape his life around creating memories at high altitudes.
POWDER: Where’d you get your start skiing?
Moe: I grew up skiing in Montana at Whitefish Mountain Resort. My dad was a pretty avid skier. I have an older brother, Mike…and skiing’s the only thing we did. My dad—he’d let us skip school on powder days. I remember watching Phil and Steve Mahre back on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in the ’80s—ski racing was on TV back then. I knew at a young age that I wanted to make the U.S. Ski team, or be in the Olympics.
Your Olympic gold medal in Lillehammer—did you know you were going to win that race?
I had the mindset that I was going to win a medal or I was going to crash. For me, during that run, everything was in slow motion. I had some good results leading up to that race. I had been second in the World Cup and third, and had some really close wins, and got to Lillehammer in 1994 and thought: This is the time. I might not ever have this chance again. Pedal to the metal, or I’m gonna blow up.
My life changed after that win. I was the dark horse—nobody really knew who I was. All of a sudden, I won the Olympic gold in the downhill, and I’m getting interviewed by David Letterman’s mom, talking to Greg Gumbel, and making appearances. People were were waiting hours to get my autograph.
How did you transition from ski racing to heli skiing in the Tordrillos?
In 1995, the year after I moved to Jackson Hole, I was visiting Alaska, [where] Todd and Steve Jones were starting Teton Gravity Research with Micah Black, [and] the freeskiing movement was just taking off. I’d go up…for the World Extreme Championships and hang out with Doug Coombs.
I started a trip in 1997—called ‘Kings and Corn’—up in the Tordrillo mountains. It was me and a couple of friends, we went out to the Tordrillos…a range that had never really been skied before. We’d ski some corn, then we’d go King salmon fishing in the rivers. We pretty much skirted the whole boundary of this mountain range.
In 2005, we started the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Mike Overcast, Jeremy Nobus, a couple of other investors, and I bought an old fishing lodge. We put in $2,000 each to get the helicopter.
Sounds like some kind of Valhalla. What keeps you in Jackson and Alaska?
I think it’s the rawness and the beauty. The one thing about Jackson that I really like is ease of access. If I want to go up Teton pass, I can just put my boots on and look out the window. We [also] get good quality snow, we get a lot of inner-mountain cold storms, where you get great powder.
The thing with Alaska is you can go up there and work, guiding with friends, it can be so good—the best of your life, just perfect conditions. And there’s other times when it can be really fickle, the weather can be terrible, the snow can be bad, and it’s not all it’s made out to be.
How has skiing changed for you?
Just the amount of people now. It’s freakin’ mayhem—there are people everywhere. When you get a good powder day, and go to the resort, there are a couple thousand people already teed up, waiting. But I’ve had so many good days skiing at this point in my life, I’m pretty calm about the whole thing.
What’s been one of the biggest hardships you’ve come across in skiing?
I’ll be honest with you: it was the partying. Laughs. I’ve had so many good days where you just had to go to the bar to celebrate. I’m at a point now where I’m trying to be sober…I guess that’s what happens when you get older, that change in mindset. Now, the biggest thing for ski racer Tommy Moe is just being mindful, looking and seeing how good it is, sharing it with other people, showing them the best day of their lives. Especially teaching my kids to ski—because they rip. That’s the full circle for me: showing people a good time.
Being the premiere Alaska mountain lodge in the U.S., Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is known for big outdoor adventures. Heli skiing, King fishing, Alaska wilderness hikes and more. They can now add Bear music venue to the list.
Sunday evening in Tordrillo a group of friends were gathering their spoils from the Kings and Corn tour of heli skiing and heli fishing that day, when a bear decided they had to make a trade for catching the Alaskan King Salmon in his river. Left near their backpacks was a harmonica that Charles Roberts, 43, had been playing earlier. Although the men were very cautious not to draw too much attention, they were able to snap a picture of the bear testing his harmonica skills. Or thats what the image looks like anyway..
The Alaskan Department of Natural Resources does not recommend grabbing your cell phones for a photo op when encountering a bear. They state the best line of defense is common sense.
“If you see a bear that is far away or doesn’t see you turn around and go back, or circle far around. Don’t disturb it.
If you see a bear that is close or it does see you STAY CALM. Attacks are rare. Bears may approach or stand on their hind legs to get a better look at you. These are curious, not aggressive, bears. BE HUMAN. Stand tall, wave your arms, and speak in a loud and low voice. DO NOT RUN! Stand your ground or back away slowly and diagonally. If the bear follows, STOP.”
The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game give special tips for those who enjoy fishing in bear country. They suggest making noise so you don’t surprise or startle a bear. (However, now that they enjoy the tunes from a harmonica leave that particular instrument at home.)
Don’t Fish for Bears
- If a bear learns it can obtain fish just by approaching anglers, it will return for more.
- If a bear approaches you while you are fishing, stop fishing.
- If a bear approaches and you have a fish on your line, give the line slack so the fish doesn’t splash—or if need be, cut your line.
- Stay calm during a bear encounter, talk and wave your arms. Don’t run!
So whether your Corn Skiing, Heli Fishing, Heli Hiking, Rafting, or any of the other adventures Tordrillo Mountain Lodge and the Alaskan wilderness have to offer, know that you share it with wildlife and be prepared with knowledge and awareness of your surroundings. And if you hear the sound of a growling harmonica near by, you know your in big bear blues band country!
Summer Heli Skiing and Fishing – Kings and Corn Alaska
Summer heli skiing season at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska is in full swing and the conditions are phenomenal. Alaska Heli skiing guide Brad Cosgrove shares why he loves corn skiing and pro skier Amie Engerbretson gives you an up close view of what its like to “rip corn”.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge’s Kings and Corn sessions fill up quickly, so you’ll want to book yourself in about a year ahead of time. It is a trip of a lifetime and allows participants to experience the Alaskan Wilderness at a remote lodge where access is only by float plane and helicopter.
The heli guides take clients to ski the terrain at the perfect time, just as it is turning into corn snow. Corn skiing rates high on the scale with powder skiing for the pure bliss of carving turns on this buttery surface. When the guests are not out skiing, they can fish for king salmon, heli hike, SUP lakeside in front of the lodge, shoot firearms and more!
Amie Engerbretson Heli Skiing Alaska at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
To ski or not to ski? That is a question for all skiers when it is “off season”. For the passionate skier or the pro skier, this is never a question for them, it is only, when and where can I go next?
So when SNOW Magazine called Amie Engerbretson to ask if she had a week in June to so some Alaska heli skiing, her one word response was “Yes”! Actually, it might have been “Hell Yes”! Ok, so two words.
Amie is a pro skier who was raised in Lake Tahoe and grew up skiing Squaw Valley. She was just 10 months old when she had her first day on snow. Not only is she a pro skier, but she is also a model. She learned a thing or two from her father, also a pro skier Jeff Engerbretson who made his living as a professional photographer. He taught her a thing or two about the role of media and making great images as she was growing up.
Stay tuned this winter both in SNOW Magazine and on the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Website and social channels for Amie’s Adventures at the Lodge.