alaskan-wilderness

TML featured on modernluxury.com - Alaskan wilderness experience article

by Christine Benedetti
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Tordrillo Mountain Lodge brings guests into the heart of the Alaskan wilderness—and then leaves them there.

The AStar B3E helicopter peels away and two fly-fishing guides and three guests are left on the banks of Alaska’s Talachulitna River. The weather is moody—temperamental enough that the flight almost didn’t happen—and a drizzle tests the Orvis waders everyone is wearing. Suddenly there’s a loud snap and crash from the other side of the riverbank and both guides, Skip Mullen and Lel Tone, feel for their gun holsters, which are attached to their chests like vests.

Poke bowls and Champagne in a glacial field is just one stop on the itinerary.

Mullen and Tone are two of a half-dozen professional guides who provide one-on-one instruction, guiding and, by the end of the trip, friendship at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe and ski pioneer Mike Overcast, who started Chugach Powder Guides, spotted a slice of paradise 70 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, in the Tordrillo Range during a flyover in 2004. They landed their floatplane—still the only way to access it—on Judd Lake. At the time there was one shuttered cabin. Today, that 5,600-square-foot lodge features six bedrooms, three large community spaces, a dining room, a full bar and a commercial kitchen staffed by two on-site chefs. It was renovated in early 2017, combining frontier Alaskan aesthetic with contemporary lodge comforts, from Wi-Fi to fur throws.

Nearby sits a second four-bedroom, 4,600-square-foot Alpine-modern lodge. Also on property are three additional cabins, including an ultraprivate retreat designed for groups of up to seven people, which comes with its own helipad. There’s a mini-workout room with adjoining sauna because polar jumps between it and the lake are part of the itinerary. All of it serves as a launchpad for the supersize recreation that awaits in the Alaskan bush and the requisite decompressing that follows. It’s not just fly-fishing, it’s heli-fly-fishing. It’s not just hiking, it’s walking on the state’s third largest glacier. They’re not just cocktails, they’re margaritas made with 2,000-year-old glacial ice. And the lake isn’t only a runway, it’s prime for stand-up paddleboarding, waterskiing and wakesurfing. Looking for fun on two wheels? TML just upped its heli-accessed fat-tire biking game with a state-of-the-art rack that can transport riders and bikers at the same time.

guides at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
The community room is a cozy hangout for après-activity storytelling.

In the winter, Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is the home base for skiers and snowboarders accessing the surrounding 1.2 million acres of pristine Alaska heli skiing terrain via helicopter—completing Moe’s original vision. “Like European [Olympic] skiers, such as Franz Klammer, who build hotels at ski resorts, this is my contribution to the ski community,” he says. But in the 12 years of operation, he and Overcast have transformed the property into an equally appealing summer destination for all types of adventure-seekers—“keeping up with the Jonses,” he quips.

It’s like sleepaway camp for adults (and kids), without the cafeteria food. Instead, private chefs meet every eater’s demand—all day long. Nobody goes hungry between the breakfast scrambles, picnic lunches, raclette happy hour and three-course dinners, all paired with a 200-bottle wine cellar and full bar, where the day’s guides double-down as cocktail-makers by night. Guests looking to turn the evening to low, instead, can opt for yoga, massages and a soak in the wood-fired hot tub. Or, all of
the above.

The opportunities are many; the agenda is up to the guest... and the weather. From families looking for a technology detox to a men’s or women’s trip focused solely on fly-fishing otherwise inaccessible territory, TML is all about choose-your-own-adventure. All-inclusive rate, summer $1,100 per day, winter $14,000 per week.


Tordrillo Mountain Lodge - Tommy Moe

Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Featured - TravelAge West

By Mindy Poder

Hotel Review: Tordrillo Mountain LodgeTordrillo Mountain Lodge’s use of helicopters allows for easy access to Alaska’s wildest, most remote places.
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

 Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Featured - TravelAge West

“Anywhere besides Alaska, this would be a national park,” said Tommy Moe, the Olympic gold medalist who I was following up the face of a glacier.

He was eyeing the outline of the Tordrillo Mountains, a series of 11,000-foot-high peaks bordering the Chigmit Mountains and Alaska Range in south-central Alaska, some 90 miles from Anchorage.

Guests and staff of Tordrillo Mountain Lodge are among the only people actively exploring Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountains.
Guests and staff of Tordrillo Mountain Lodge are among the only people actively exploring Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountains.
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

Moe and I had come from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (TML), which he co-founded with heli-skiing trailblazer Mike Overcast in 2005. I had just arrived and been dazzled by a customized vegetarian lunch by Adam Lassiter, TML’s private chef, when Moe suggested we hop into his new powder-blue helicopter and land on an otherwise inaccessible glacier.

Anywhere besides Alaska, this would be a national park.

I stole glances at the mountains when I could, but, mainly, my eyes were glued to the ground, scavenging for sun cups (snow holes), black ice, crevasses and, especially, moulins (ice caves).

Moe dropped a rock in a moulin, and we waited for a thud.

“If you fall in, you’re on your own,” Moe said, flashing a mischievous grin and charging ahead.

Triumvirate Glacier is only accessible by helicopter.
Triumvirate Glacier is only accessible by helicopter.
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

Days later, while rafting down nearby Talachulitna Creek, I found out this was a lie: Guides are equipped with crevasse kits and high-tech communication capabilities — but it’s hardly surprising that Moe keeps it playful even on such remote, rugged terrain. He and his buddies have mapped more ski runs and heli-biking routes in the area than any other entity.

Adventurers from all over the world — who range from athletic royalty to actual royalty — come to TML year-round to share the mountains with Moe and numerous other elite guides. TML offers a riverside hot tub, a private chef, an on-site masseuse and stylish digs, sure, but the thrill of skiing down a steep volcano, while being coached via walkie-talkie by a TML guide, is the lodge’s main draw. There’s also the fact that these mountains are only accessible by helicopter, and there’s rarely anyone else in sight but a few TML guests.

TML is a considered a bucket list destination for skiers due to its varied and unspoiled terrain.
TML is a considered a bucket list destination for skiers due to its varied and unspoiled terrain.
Credit: 2018 Tordrillo Mountain Lodge

In fact, nearly everything at TML required a pair of wings. A private 30-minute floatplane flight with Sportsman’s Air Service from Anchorage’s Lake Hood to TML set the tone. The view quickly turned from city buildings to Susitna Valley’s patchwork of floodplain and spruce and alder trees. As we neared the lodge, our pilot pointed out Denali rising through the clouds.

But it was our glacier flight by helicopter that made TML “vacation goals” for me.

Co-founder Tommy Moe with TML’s new helicopter
Co-founder Tommy Moe with TML’s new helicopter
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

After we had ice-trekked for a few miles, pilot Ryan Skoreki transported us over silt-colored glacier lakes; shimmering ice that resembled sheets of Styrofoam; and patches of earth pockmarked by retreating glaciers. We oohed and aahed as though we were landscape painters mining for our next subject — and then we landed. High above Triumvirate Glacier, we could better inspect the green foothills, blue mountain peaks and dynamic alpine tundra floor.

On foot, the mysteries of the sky were revealed to me: The white stripes lining the mountains were unique patches of snow, which I excitedly trudged through. The mountain ridges were now less homogenous, revealing their DNA through the bounce of mossy cushion plants and the texture of non-flowering lichen.

Exploring high-altitude terrain is one of the perks of traveling by helicopter.
Exploring high-altitude terrain is one of the perks of traveling by helicopter.
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

The next morning, I joined Moe and Skip Mullen, a fly fisherman and guide, onto Judd Lake, the placid body of water that juts up to the lodge. Clad in a mustard-colored, full-body dry suit, I boarded TML’s prized Bluetooth-enabled boat and watched as the two athletes carved waves in the boat-produced swell.

Along with the new chopper and boat, TML recently added a sauna and chic standalone cabins that were prefabricated in Scandinavia. These suites are perfect for couples but also great for families with small children thanks to a sofa bed in the living room, which can be separated by a door for privacy. The accommodations — which include newly renovated guestrooms in the main lodge and a second modern lodge — are perhaps the most stylish in Alaska.

Guests can partake in numerous watersports activities straight from the lodge, such as wakesurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Guests can partake in numerous watersports activities straight from the lodge, such as wakesurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Credit: 2018 Mindy Poder

In the newly extended main lodge, guests can retreat into multiple riverfront nooks or hang out at the well-stocked bar, which serves cocktails featuring glacial ice or corn snow. Skiing grainy corn snow — the product of melt-freeze cycles — and fishing for Chinook (king) salmon distinguish the lodge’s “Kings and Corn” season, which runs from Feb. 26 to July 5 and follows the winter heli-skiing season.

Fly-fishing, however, is one of the summer season’s main draws. With Mullen as my guide, I cast my line back and forth, willing my mind and arm to stay stable. Wading into the water, I released my first-ever catch, a Dolly Varden trout, and squealed at the feeling of its slimy body. To be honest though, I didn’t much care about catching fish. Lulled by the babbling water and towering Tordrillos, I was clearly the one who was hooked.

See more at: LINK: https://www.travelagewest.com/Travel/Hotels/Hotel-Review-Tordrillo-Mountain-Lodge


Warren Miller's

Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Featured in Warren Miller's "Face of Winter"

Tordrillo Mountain Lodge Featured in Warren Miller's "Face of Winter"

Check out the trailer for the new Warren Miller's "Face of Winter" film here and stay tuned for more at

www.warrenmiller.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ProI36TvP6k

 


907-569-5588

Physical Address:
Judd Lake, Alaska 99667

Mailing address:
3705 Arctic Blvd #429,
Anchorage, AK 99503

Info@Tordrillo.com

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