Experience Alaska Heli Skiing

TML Featured in Robb Report Sheldon Chalet Story

The Only Way to Experience Alaska’s Denali National Park in Luxury

Sheldon Chalet has opened in the shadow of North America’s tallest mountain.

Original Article

You arrive at the newly opened Sheldon Chalet, a luxury mountain retreat nestled deep inside Denali National Park, after a thrilling, IMAX-like helicopter ride that wends through the rugged Alaska Range to the Sheldon Amphitheater, a 35-square-mile glacier valley in the shadow of North America’s tallest mountain. Talk about making an entrance: Guests are greeted with Alaskan seafood hors d’oeuvres and a glass of much-needed Champagne after experiencing such dizzying heights and vast colossal landscapes. “They have a hard time reconciling the grandeur they’ve just experienced,” says Marne Sheldon, who operates the chalet with her husband, Robert. “They’re in awe.”

Perched at 6,000 feet on a snow-laden, granite outcropping that presides over a sprawling glacier, the modern, five-bedroom chalet is just a stone’s throw away from the property’s original rustic backcountry refuge built by Robert’s father, Don, whose pioneering work in Alaska as a pilot and land surveyor resulted in the state naming a natural amphitheater in his honor. In the 1950s under the Homestead Act, the Sheldon Family was granted the 5 acres of private land that encompasses the outcropping, called a nunatak, a unique distinction that was grandfathered when the national park was later established. A few years ago, this generation of Sheldons began construction of the new chalet, airlifting in every window and wood plank. Today, the only other way one can sleep so close to Mt. Denali is in a tent with an ice axe.

At home in the comfort of Sheldon Chalet, however, guests—of which there are only a maximum of 10 at any given time—are treated to Denali’s magnificence with none of the privations intrepid mountaineers must endure. They can cozy up with a faux-fur throw in the communal living room, or warm up on the rooftop sauna. In the dining room, they can feast on barbecued Alaskan oysters, prepared by a former celebrity chef, and served on a handcrafted birch-wood table.

Comforts aside, however, the main attraction lies on the other side of Sheldon Chalet’s panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows: the occasional blizzard and rumbling avalanche, streaks of pastel rays at sunrise, and, in late afternoon, the ethereal neon of alpenglow cast across a cathedral of jagged peaks. For much of the year, aurora borealis ignites the night sky. Depending on the season—not to mention, of course, the elements—guests can also embark on guided expeditions like fishingheli-skiing (with neighboring outfitter Tordrillo Mountain Lodge), and an adventurous trek across the Ruth Glacier.


Outside Magazine Online

Tordrillo Mountain Featured on Outside Magazine Online

outsideonline.com

Snow Sucks? Rent a Heli.

It's time to book a ticket north says Outside Magazine Online


Tordrillo Mountain Lodge - Anchorage, Alaska

Outside Magazine Online

This lakeshore lodge located within eyeshot of two 11,000-foot volcanoes and Denali, the highest peak in the U.S., is also home to one of the most exclusive heli operations in the world says Outside Magazine Online. Despite being a 40-minute plane ride from Anchorage, the lodge offers high-speed WiFi, a wood-fired sauna, and a $500 bottle wine cellar. Of course, all of that comes at a price as an eight-day https://www.tordrillomountainlodge.com/heli-skiing-alaska/adventures start at $14,000.


Article on outsideonline.com


Helicopter Skiing with Olympic Downhill Champion Tommy Moe

Helicopter Skiing with Olympic Downhill Champion Tommy Moe

Heli Ski with Olympic Downhill Champion Tommy Moe!

April 13th – April 21st 2018

LAST CHANCE!
Don’t miss this opportunity to blaze new paths
with a true skiing legend.

Olympic gold-medalist Tommy Moe

A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME ADVENTURE.

Helicopter Skiing with Olympic Downhill Champion Tommy Moe

With the 2018 Winter Games coming to a close, don’t miss this chance for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to heli ski with Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe. Tommy was the only American to win two medals in the same Olympics in the 1994 Lillehammer Games, and he was the last American to win gold in the downhill event. The 2018 U.S. Ski Team uniforms by Spyder are also named after him.


RUSTIC LUXURY AND BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE

A blend of posh amenities and rustic Alaskan architecture, this 5,600-foot log structure has walls of windows and three large cedar decks that overlook the Judd Lake and the Alaska Range. In addition to the deluxe guest rooms, the family room and grand living room offer a cozy atmosphere for fireside chats, reading or relaxing with a glass of hand-selected wine from our 200-bottle cellar. Other features include a lakeside, wood-fired hot tub and sauna, professional massage services, media, music and wireless Internet

Alaska Heli Skiing at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge


BIG SNOW & UNTOUCHED TERRAIN

Consistent snowfalls result in one of the deepest snow packs in the area. The Tordrillo Range is also known for stable weather conditions and clearing trends, which offer ideal opportunities for the helicopter activities. As the most experienced heli skiing Alaska operator guiding the Tordrillos, we continue to grow our expertise in the same way we always have–by finding our comfort level, then pushing it just a little further. A-star B3 helicopters, lodge-based ski planes, weather stations, fixed repeater sites, satellite phones, fuel depots and GPS navigation allow us to continually uncover new areas of Alaska’s winter snowscape. We invite you to be part of the discovery!

Come with friends, come with family or come solo!  Space is limited so claim your spots now!

Call Now! 907-569-5588

BOOK NOW!

Countdown to Glory

000 days 00 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds


Tordrillo Mountain Lodge

Hidden deep in the Last Frontier’s interior at the foot of the Alaska Range—home for a week and you’ll be one of only a few lucky souls carving turns in an impressive landscape shaped by volcanoes and glaciers. After you’ve exhausted your quads exploring a tiny part of this massive playground, return to the high-end lodge and live like a 1-percenter.
– Chris Kasser,  Elevation Outdoors Magazine


Tordrillo Featured - Travel Channel Online

Tordrillo Featured - Travel Channel Online Late-Season Skiing Article

10 Excellent Late-Season Skiing and Snowboard Destinations

Article from Travel Channel Online.

If you’re bummed about the eventual end of ski/snowboard season wherever you live, don’t fret. There are a number of great mountains that stay open past March – and some as far as May! The Travel Channel Online has put together a list of our favorites should you be in the mood for some late-season skiing and winter sports.

Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (Skwentna, Alaska)

A 40-minute flight from Anchorage gets you to this remote destination/accommodation where skiing (specifically Alaska heli skiing) runs into July. Because of the daily freezing cycles, a specific kind of powder known as “corn snow” forms where the snow crystals are prime for soft, carvable runs as they thaw in the morning and refreeze towards the end of the day. And if you tire of skiing, the King Salmon fishing is worth the trek too.


Alaskan Heli-Skiing Pioneer

Olympian & Alaska Heli Skiing pioneer Tommy Moe featured on MSN

US Olympic greats: Where are they now? Alaskan Heli-Skiing Pioneer Tommy Moe

From msn.com

Alaskan Heli-Skiing Pioneer

Moe won a gold (Downhill) and a silver (Super G) in 1994 in Lillehammer. He currently works for Jackson Hole resort and co-owns a ski lodge in Alaska. He is an Alaskan Heli-Skiing Pioneer


olympian tommy moe

Olympian Tommy Moe on Tricking Your Kids to Love the Thing You Love

Three-time Olympian Tommy Moe has a plan.

Article origin: fatherly.com
By Feb 05 2018, 4:40 PM

Olympian Tommy Moe is living the good life. The three-time Olympian and two-time medalist (gold and silver, both in 1994) divides his time between heli skiing in Alaska at the heli ski and fishing lodge he co-owns in Alaska, and the slopes of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where he’s currently a ski instructor. It’s a lifestyle he hopes to pass along to his daughters Taylor, nine, and Karen, seven. But, to them, he’s just dad. And he’s worked extremely hard to lay the foundation for their love of the outdoors.

“I have friends who are avid skiers whose kids really don’t like hitting the slopes, and I always was a bit worried that I might have that happen to me too,” Moe says. So, he and his wife, former Olympic skier Megan Gerety, made a conscious decision to involve their daughters in the thing that mattered the most to them — skiing — from a very young age. Now, both of his kids are now avid skiers and members of the Jackson Hole race team.

So how did he succeed in getting both of his children to share his passion? “I think we got a bit lucky,” he admits. But he also took on a lot of purposeful parenting. Here’s how he did it.

Start ‘Em Early

Moe’s introduced his children to the wilderness surrounding their home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming before they could walk. The key, he says, was to always keep re-introducing them to the places that mattered to him and his wife. They would plan hikes, nature outings, and camping trips — anything that acclimated them to being comfortable outdoors. “Both of us agreed that instead of sitting indoors with the girls we would head outside, even if we both were worn out,” Moe says. “Just getting them used to getting their hands dirty was a victory for us.”

Give Them Some Space

Being the children of two Olympians would be daunting to most kids, but even more so living near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, a ski area renowned for its junior ski team. As it would have been easy for Moe to overwhelm his daughters, he decided to remove himself from the equation.

“Trying to teach your sport to children is a lot like trying to teach it to your wife,” Moe says. “It’s something best done by others not so emotionally attached to the situation.”

So, from a young age, Moe and his wife enrolled both of their kids into ski school where they could spend the days learning the finer parts of skiing from trained instructors and surrounded by boys and girls their own age. As his daughters improved on the slopes, Moe says he stayed out of the way and let them make up their own mind about pursuing the sport further. They both decided to join the race team. “If they decide later that they are done racing or even skiing, then that’s fine with us,” Moe says. “By not burning them out, we hope they will always love joining us on the hills.”

Remember That Enjoyment Is Paramount

“When we are out with the girls, we work to make it a fun experience,” Moe says. “They should be smiling with us so that being in the ski hill is hardwired into them as a time of laughter with the family, not one of mom or dad barking at them.”

Before his daughters head out to ski, Moe tucks candies in their pockets for them to enjoy later. If a large amount of snow falls overnight, the family will call a powder day and head to the slopes. The main point, according to Moe, is to listen to your children and react. If they are worn out, hungry, or just plain sick of what you are doing, then stop. If they generally equate something with happy time with the parent then hopefully they will want to do it again.

“I saw people I grew up with who got to where they hated heading to the ski area because it was not fun anymore, they dreaded it,” Moe says. “I never wanted my daughters to feel that way so I make a conscious decision every day to make being in the outdoors and skiing enjoyable. So far it seems to be working.”


Olympic downhill

2018 Olympic Downhill CNN Article Featuring Tommy Moe

Olympic downhill: How a gold medal is a badge for life

(CNN)It's often viewed as the banner event of the Winter Olympics, and the epitome of daring downhill sports. But just how important is the men's Olympic downhill gold medal in the career of alpine skiers?

After all, the Olympic downhill competition is a one-shot wonder, one two-minute run on a different track every four years. A lot of elements -- mood, form, luck, equipment, track condition, weather -- have to align on the day.

Since Austrian great Franz Klammer's famous win in 1976, only Swiss Pirmin Zurbriggen (1988) has won downhill gold as favorite. A handful of recent Olympic champions have clinched gold without a single win on the World Cup circuit.

No one has ever defended the title either, although Norway's Lasse Kjus and Switzerland's Peter Muller have scored back-to-back silvers.

And some big names have never won the Olympic downhill gold, such as Austria's Hermann Maier and Swiss Didier Cuche, the record five-time Kitzbuhel champion.
Klammer, American Tommy Moe and Switzerland's Didier Defago tell CNN Sport the tale of their gold medal and the impact achieving the Olympic dream had on their lives.

Franz Klammer -- 1976, Innsbruck

The Austrian, known as "The Kaiser," is arguably the most famous ski racer of them all.

His electrifying run to clinch the 1976 Olympic downhill title, under intense pressure as hot favorite, transformed him from national hero to global superstar.
"Skiing wise the most important victory is Kitzbuhel for a downhiller because in my opinion it's the most complete downhill," Klammer, 64, told CNN Sport.

"It requires everything -- guts, making tight turns, long turns, gliding sections, jumping. But for a skier, without the Olympic gold medal you are a good skier but not a great skier. It's as simple as that."

Klammer dominated the downhill scene in the year leading up to the Innsbruck Olympics. He had beaten defending champion Bernhard Russi of Switzerland in the Olympic test event on the Patscherkofel course and was a 13-time World Cup downhill winner, including five wins at the start of 1976.

The 22-year-old former farm boy went to his home Games with the expectation of a nation on his shoulders.

"If you're not the favorite and have a really good day it changes your life but if you win it as a favorite it's even more fun," says Klammer, whose strength and fitness came from working as lumberjack to pay for skiing in his youth, running uphill and downhill to get to and from work.

Franz Klammer pulled off a famous victory with his Olympic win in Innsbruck in 1976.

"The pressure is enormous once you're up in the starting gate. You only have one shot every four years and you're representing your whole country, not just yourself. That's why it is a different dimension."

Klammer had drawn bib number 15, the last of the top seeds to race, and a perceived disadvantage because the track conditions deteriorate and ruts develop. Archrival Russi had drawn Klammer's preferred starting position of three.

The Swiss set a blistering time, which racer after racer failed to get anywhere near. At the top, Klammer was worried.

"I was struggling up there," he remembers. "I said, 'Well, there's no chance. I will never beat Russi today, he's so much faster than everybody else.' For a short period of time he was about two seconds faster than anybody." READ: World's best heli-ski spots

But then Klammer switched into race mode. In front of a raucous home crowd and the Olympics' first live TV audience, he produced one of the iconic moments of any Winter Games.
In his skin-tight yellow ski suit, he flung himself down the Olympic run with cavalier abandon, arms and legs flailing as he rode the jumps and icy bumps, seemingly on the edge of control.

"Of course, I had confidence, but then when I walked into the starting gate I knew I would win the race. No matter what," he said.
"Whether I would crash or win the race there was no other alternative. I was pushing the envelope. I was going for it. You have to be ready to take risk. You have to try to earn the victory.

I never thought about crashes."

Klammer (left) edged out defending champion Bernhard Russi of Switzerland.

Halfway down he was aware he was "pushing too hard" but carved a trademark radical line into one of the corners to eke out more speed.
"It was probably my best turn ever and it paid off," he said. "Nobody can do the perfect run, all you have to do is the fastest run."

He flashed over the finish line and the scoreboard ticked over to say he was the new leader from Russi by 0.33 seconds. The Swiss hugged Klammer and offered him "the most sincere congratulations I'd ever had in my life."

"I was really relieved," said Klammer. "Kind of a big stone fell off my heart. The pressure had been building up for a year-and-a-half for this one particular day."
A career slump meant he didn't make the Austrian team for the 1980 Olympics and he was beset by equipment issues at Sarajevo 1984, finishing 10th. He ended his career in 1985 with 26 World Cup wins, including four at the legendary Kitzbuhel course, and two world titles.

But of all the accolades, it was the Olympic title that stands out for Klammer.

"It's one race every four years, that's what makes it so special," he said.

"They call me the 'Kaiser' and I still make a living out of the Olympics.
"Without the Olympic title I wouldn't be considered the best downhiller of all time, so for me it was very crucial. In my opinion I would have been a failure [without it].
"It has changed my entire life very positively."

Tommy Moe - 1994, Lillehammer

Tommy Moe -- 1994, Lillehammer

Tommy Moe won Olympic downhill gold in Lillehammer in 1994.

He was the young American who pooped Norway's party and consigned home hero Kjetil Andre Aamodt to second place at Kvitfjell, but for Tommy Moe it was a victory waiting to happen.

The 23-year-old, born in Montana and later raised in Alaska, was a child prodigy who joined the US ski team at 16 and made his World Cup debut a year later.

But going into to the Games in Lillehammer, he was still without a victory, although he'd scored three podiums the year before and was fifth at the worlds in Japan.

"I'd had some good finishes in the top 10 and I kept asking myself, 'when can I win, what's the deal?'" he told CNN Sport from his base in Wyoming.

After a week's rest in the Canary Islands following five straight weeks of competition in Europe, Moe arrived in Norway feeling refreshed.
"I knew if I skied my best I could get a medal," he said.

"The day of the race I felt super confident. I had a couple of practice runs and knew I was going to do something exciting.

"But that morning was funny because the night before my roommate Kyle Rasmussen was snoring and I couldn't sleep. I got up and moved to another bedroom but I still couldn't sleep -- I was so nervous and excited."

Moe (center) downed local hero Kjetil Andre Aamodt (left) and Canada's Ed Podivinsky.

Moe was motivated -- and "pissed off" -- by an article in US magazine Sports Illustrated which labeled Team USA's skiers as the "lead-footed snowplough brigade."

He was also concerned that attending the Opening Ceremony the night before was a bad move -- worried his competition were home and resting. But teammate Megan Gerety, who later became his wife, advised him to focus on his own performance, not who he might beat.

With a bib number of eight, he remembered Gerety's words as he stood in the starting gate, staring down the Kvitfjell course. "I just thought, 'hands forward, [weight on] outside ski,' That was my mantra," he says.

"On the course it felt like I was in slow motion. I felt like I was in a zone where I could do no wrong."

Moe was behind at the first split but made up time with a blistering middle section including a massive leap off the Russi jump. Another huge spring off the bottom jump had Moe worried he might land outside the control gate, but he corrected and crossed the line 0.04 seconds ahead of Aamodt, the 1992 super-G champion.

"I was so excited but it's brutal, like the most anxiety you can ever possibly imagine, hoping nobody beats you," he says. Nobody did.

"It was almost surreal because next day I woke up and thought it was all a dream," he added.

"I don't think any of other racers disrespected my win. They all knew I'd been pretty consistent in World Cup."

Four days later, on his 24th birthday, a relaxed Moe took silver in the super-G to become the first American to win two skiing medals at a single Olympics.

He took a call from President Clinton and was on the cover of the next Sports Illustrated.

Moe: "It was fun, but I definitely got sidetracked by some business and some partying."

"I went from nobody to somebody," he says. "There was all sorts of press and sponsorship and business deals happening. All sorts of doors opened up.

"My life changed a lot after that. Everybody wanted an autograph or a picture. I liked some aspects of it, but I didn't like the stardom that much because I was a pretty quiet guy.
"There were certain things that made me grow up pretty quickly -- the money, the fame, the fortune, the partying, the women, everything.

"It was fun, but I definitely got sidetracked. I don't think I ever came back to being as good of an athlete."

Moe finally won a World Cup event with victory in a super-G in Whistler, Canada weeks after the Games in Lillehammer, but a downhill triumph eluded him.

He spent some time out following a bad knee injury back at Kvitfjell in 1995, while a severed tendon in his thumb sustained while serving behind the bar on a raucous night in the infamous Londoner Pub after the Kitzbuhel race in 1997 cost him a shot at that year's World Championships, to the ire of his coach and the press.

Moe retired after the 1998 Games in Nagano, where he came 12th in downhill and eighth super-G.

"My only regret is I didn't win more World Cup downhills just to back up my Olympic glory," said Moe, who splits his time between working as an ambassador and guide for Jackson Hole ski resort Alaska heli skiing at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge the Alaska heli-ski lodge he co-owns in Tordrillo, Alaska.

"But I did pretty well for an unknown skier from Montana.

"If there is any race to win as an American it's the Olympic downhill.

"I could have won two or three World Cup downhills like Kitzbuhel or Wengen and in comparison I don't think anybody would have remembered my name compared to the Olympic downhill.

"Even to this day I go to events and get announced as Olympic champion.

"It has staying power."

Didier Defago -- 2010, Vancouver

Didier Defago was Switzerland's first men's Olympic downhill champion since Pirmin Zurbriggen in 1988.

Dimple-chinned Defago was a regular on World Cup podiums but had only clinched his first downhill wins the year before, achieving the classic double of victories in Wengen and Kitzbuhel.

But at the age of 32 in his third Olympics, the speedster from Morgins became Switzerland's first downhill champion since Zurbriggen 22 years ago.

Defago's lightning-fast time was enough to keep out countryman Cuche, the favorite, as well as reigning World Cup champion Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and American firebrand Bode Miller.

He also became the oldest men's downhill champion, eclipsing France's Jean-Luc Cretier, who was also 32 when he won in Nagano in 1998.

"I was a little surprised, not to be on the podium but to win," he told CNN Sport. "This season the Swiss team was very strong and we had to fight until the last training session to get in."

He added: "I had just a strange feeling a couple of hours after the race. I was very happy, I was with the team and all the [ski manufacturer] Rossignol guys but I had a feeling of being alone.

"I had my wife and my father and my mother on the phone but it was a very strange feeling. They were in Switzerland, but my brother was in Vancouver. I got him on the phone and he said he was still working but he said he will try to come tonight for the prize giving.

"He didn't call again and I thought, 'OK, maybe he has no time to come up.' I was behind the scenes waiting for the prize giving and he just came in.

"It was a very emotional moment for me to share this part of the day with my brother."

Defago was stunned by the "crazy reception" for him at home in Switzerland.

Defago was stunned by the reception back in his home town in Switzerland's.

"We had a big hall and they also put up some tents and I said, 'you're crazy, this is too big, no one will come,'" he said.

"It was a bad weather day also, but it was a crazy reception, with thousands of people there. It was incredible that so many people came to my town. A very nice moment."

Defago won one more World Cup downhill in 2011 and finished 14th in his Olympic defense in Sochi in 2014. He retired in 2015 as a four-time Olympian with five World Cup wins and 16 podium spots in all disciplines.

"I needed a lot of time to realize what I did and what it means to be an Olympic champion," he said.

"Now I've stopped the career and everybody says, 'this is the Olympic champion,' and you realize this has changed your life.

"I tried to stay the same guy. It's not every day easy but it's a part of my life."

His advice to future Olympic champions?

"Enjoy it."

View Article on CNN


Heli Skiing in Alaska at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge

Top 10 Reasons to go Deep Powder Heli Skiing Now

Deep Powder Heli Skiing in Alaska at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge vs Resort Skiing:

  1. Create lifelong memories with friends and family. There is no place like Alaska for rediscovering what is meaningful in life. A luxury private wilderness lodge means no distracting hustle and bustle from a crowded resort full of strangers.
  2. Alaska has more snow than any U.S. Ski Resort offering endless perfect powder descents.
  3. Ski untracked powder without crossing any tracks.
  4. Heli skiing Alaska means never waiting in a lift line or sharing a lift with a stranger.
  5. Don’t spend your time making dinner reservations, when Heli skiing in Alaska at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, a private chef prepares gourmet cuisine for you at any time you desire.
  6. Stay warm and cozy. When Alaska heli skiing, you finish your run and the Helicopter picks you up and whisks you away to your next perfect run...you stay warm and dry.
  7. Heli lunches rival any ski resort cafeteria. Dine on top of the world and enjoy a fabulous meal with spectacular views.
  8. Ski with world-class guides who plan and watch your every move.
  9. The powder is so much easier on your body and knees than hard pack.
  10. Life is short, live large, go Alaska Heli Skiing NOW!

Olympic Gold Medalist Tommy Moe Looks Back [Interview]

Olympic Gold Medalist Tommy Moe Looks Back

View original article here on getmoresports.com

I had a chance to ask Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe, the former downhill skier, what competing in the Olympics was like before, what the athletes are feeling now and what he is up to since winning the gold.

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will start in just a few weeks — February 9th to be exact. Tommy Moe knows what the athletes are feeling about now because he’s been there before, multiple times actually. Tommy Moe was the only American to win two medals in the same Olympics, and he was the last American to win gold in the downhill skiing event.

The start of the Winter Olympics is only a few weeks away. What are all of the Winter Olympic athletes feeling about now?

The athletes are feeling the anticipation and probably a little anxiety about making the Olympic Team. Only four skiers per discipline are able to compete, so just making the Olympics is a huge accomplishment for any athlete. I know some athletes have high expectations – Lindsey Vonn and Michaela Schiffrin especially. For other athletes, just getting a medal is a dream come true.

You participated in three Winter Olympics — do you remember how you felt at the beginning of the ’92 Olympics? Were you nervous? Amped up? Both?

I competed in Albertville 92, Lillehammer 94, Nagano 98. At my first Olympics, in France, I was pretty nervous. I was young at 22 and had high expectations. It was a valuable learning experience. I was disappointed with my results and just wasn’t confident. It helped me refocus for Lillehammer. So, I would say I was nervous and excited at the same time.

What tip would you have for those athletes attending the Winter Olympics for the first time?

Don’t miss the opening ceremonies. It’s a big deal to represent your country and see the other athletes. Also, enjoy the moment. Don’t get too focused on who you are going to beat or what place you are going to get. The thing that helped me the most was focusing on my performance.

Once you win one medal at the Olympics, what kind of pressure is there on you to win another and how does it change your mentality during the competition?

At Lillehammer, after I won the Downhill, I was pretty chill for the super G. I’d already won, so there was no pressure. I scored Silver in the Super G, as the first male skier to get two medals at one Olympics.

You were inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2003 — what did that mean to you?

I was in the Ski Hall of Fame class of 2003, which was an honor to have an impact on American skiing and be considered a legend.

Athletes do not compete their entire lives. When did you start thinking about what life would be like after skiing was over?

I started thinking about retiring at the Nagano Olympics in 1998. I had been racing for about 12 years and was getting burned out. I knew it was time to hang it up. I went on to race on a professional downhill circuit for six years (called King of the Mountain). Those were great times and good prize money. It was fun to travel solo and race domestically. I think a lot of athletes go different ways after their careers. I stayed in the ski world, ski guiding in Alaska, doing corporate ski outings, working for Spyder ski clothing, and opening Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.

Tordrillo Heli Skiing
February 20, 2017 – Judd Lake, AK: Jess McMillan, Chris Kassar, and Tanner Flanagan cheer a flyover from the hot tub at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.

You never left the sport (as most Olympians do) and started Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska about 12 years ago. It is TML is a luxury resort only accessible via float plane or helicopter about 45-minutes outside of Anchorage. Why did you decide to open Tordrillo Mountain Lodge?

Mike Overcast and a few friends of ours opened Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in 2005. We started skiing there in ’97, and it was always a dream to own our own place. We pioneered the ski terrain and to this day I still really enjoy showing guests the mountains and rivers around the property with all of the heli-ski activities in the winter and heli-fishing and heli-biking in the summer. Alaska is a special place for me with pristine mountains, rivers, glaciers, lakes and wildlife. In Europe, a lot of past ski champions open hotels with their names on it. I did it a little differently by opening an adventure lodge in Alaska!

When you decided to embark on this project, what challenges did you face as a new business owner?

There were a lot of challenges opening Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. We really started from square one. It’s incredibly remote so we had to fly everything in from Anchorage. Over the years it has really evolved. It’s fun to look back to when we first started. The biggest challenge is managing employees and guides and making sure everybody is working together. It’s a team atmosphere with the staff, so you really have to be honest with people.

Do you get people who come to the Lodge because of who you are?

Over the years I have had a lot of guests come to lodge to ski and fish and spend time with me for sure. It’s nice to have some recognition from racing and the Olympics, and it has certainly helped generate interest. I enjoy guiding and have met some great people over the years.

Will you watch the Winter Olympics this year? Other than skiing, do you have a favorite Olympic winter sport to watch?

Yes, I will watch the Olympics! It is super cool to see the new champions and to know what is going through their minds. Other than ski racing, I enjoy watching luge, nordic skiing and hockey.

Side note: If you are interested in visiting The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum, where Tommy Moe is inducted, it is located in the City of Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the birthplace of organized skiing in the United States. It is home to an extensive collection of artifacts and archives relating to the history of skiing. It has 20,000 square feet of space containing displays on over 410 Honored Members, trophies, clothing and equipment. There is a gift shop, library and theater. For more information, click here.

Tommy Moe splits his time between TML and his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his wife, Megan Garety, and two young daughters.


Alaskan Ski Adventure with Tommy Moe

Alaskan Ski Adventure: Feature from Private Clubs Magazine

Traverse untouched slopes with an Olympic gold medalist for the ultimate winter escape at an exclusive, updated heli-skiing lodge in Alaska’s backcountry

BY CINDY HIRSCHFELD — Winter 2018
View Original Article

An Alaskan Ski Adventure begins. Meringue-dolloped Alaskan peaks stretch to the horizon all around as I revel in the fact that moments before I had climbed out of a helicopter and clicked into my skis atop some of the deepest snow I’ve ever experienced. In front of me, guide Tommy Moe, the 1994 Olympic downhill gold medalist, glides away in a silent rush of powder, charting the way for our group of four to follow.

Once he stops a few hundred feet below, I push off down a steep side hill into a long, snow-choked gully, feeling out the consistency of the untracked powder beneath my skis. From his vantage below, Moe motions for me to ski past him and I continue, making turns for another 1,000 feet or so, snow billowing behind me, until my quads scream at me to stop. The run descends in an area called Spinal Tap, and the fun meter is most certainly getting pushed to 11. I look back up at my tracks, scribed on the slope like ephemeral graffiti, and get out my camera to snap the rest of the group finding its own snowy nirvana. Alaska Heli-skiing is full of pinch-me-am-I-really-here moments like these.

Olympic gold-medalist Tommy Moe
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge co-owner and Olympic gold-medalist Tommy Moe. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SELKOWITZ.

Up to 20 lucky skiers at a time can experience similar moments during a week at Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which offers fly-in, backcountry heli-skiing on such a grand scale that memories of the endless, craggy peaks stayed with me months later. About 60 miles northwest of Anchorage, and reachable only by a 40-minute bush plane ride, the lodge sits in the foothills of the Tordrillo Mountains, the southernmost portion of the Alaska Range. The high-end yet thoroughly unpretentious boutique lodge celebrated a dozen years last winter with a $10 million renovation, which required 1,000 air trips to bring in materials to the roadless area. An expansion to the now 5,600-square-foot traditional log main lodge includes a bright new dining and bar area where you can spread out to partake in the buffet breakfasts and three-course dinners (focused on Alaskan game and seafood, natch).

From there, large picture windows capture the views of frozen-over Judd Lake just outside and the Tordrillos in the distance. The four rustic-chic double bedrooms upstairs have been expanded and baths updated; the addition of an intimate lounge, tucked under the steeply sloping roof above the new dining room, provides an enviable spot to bring up a glass of wine from the 500-bottle cellar, sit back on a sheepskin throw, and watch the sun set.

 

guides at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Get pre-ski insights from the guides at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SELKOWITZ.

Just steps from the lodge, two new Scandinavian-designed cabin suites provide total privacy when you want it. With separate bedroom and living spaces, efficient wood stoves, and sleek blond-wood walls and cabinetry, each cabin sleeps two in a best-of-both-worlds arrangement — eat and socialize at the main lodge for as much as you can handle, then retreat to your cozy haven to recharge.

These upgrades make a special place even better for TML’s international clientele, which includes loyal guests who return each year for the exclusive ski experience with top-notch guides (and the aforementioned opportunity to ski with a former Olympian), gourmet meals, fine wines, and seclusion — there’s no cell service, but there is newly upgraded Wi-Fi.

This winter brings even more news. TML has partnered with the Winterlake Lodge, another high-end retreat 30 miles north, to provide guided heli-skiing. Five log guest cabins provide accommodations, with meals and a bar in a main lodge. TML’s guides rotate between the two properties, meaning a similar ski experience, with the opportunity to explore the more northerly parts of the Tordrillos. An added bonus: Winterlake offers dogsled tours and mushing instruction.

But why ski Alaska? The weather may not be as consistent as at the popular heli-ski lodges that dot western Canada, but the stakes are bigger, the land wilder, and everything happens on a grander scale. Whereas many adventurers visit heli-skiing mecca Valdez, 300 miles east of Anchorage, where five heli-ski operators fly clients, here there are no skiers other than the ones you’re with. TML’s permit gives access to 1 million acres of terrain. What’s been skied so far constitutes no more than a fraction of that. A 3-by-5-foot topo map on a lodge wall details the areas skied, with the runs’ names penciled in. It’s a work in progress. Those runs average anywhere from 2,500 to 3,500 vertical feet, equivalent to a top-to-bottom descent at many western North American ski areas. Because TML lies farther inland than other Alaskan heli operations, the snow usually comes in drier and lighter.

Take off in a helicopter
Take off in a helicopter to untracked runs. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SELKOWITZ.

Originally, lodge co-owners Tommy Moe and Mike Overcast and their partners in Chugach Powder Guides, the company they helped found in 1997, ran late spring skiing and fishing trips in the Tordrillos out of a leased location elsewhere. But when a friend told them in 2004 about a former lodge for sale aside a lake, they flew over one day to investigate. “I looked at this old, dilapidated building and something resonated,” recalls Overcast.

Sold on the location, and the building, the team overhauled it for TML’s first winter there in 2005. In 2012, Moe and Overcast split from their former partners at Chugach and took over the Tordrillo operation solo. The most recent upgrade became possible when new New York investors came on board in June 2016. They also added their own private lodge and cabins farther along the lakeshore so they can fly in at a moment’s notice when the snow hits its prime. On a limited basis, up to eight guests who can swing last-minute travel plans can book this rustic-luxe mini-complex, too.

A large group of friends may more reliably opt to stay at a second, more modern lodge that TML has leased for the past few winters, about a five-minute walk over the frozen lake from the primary lodge. It houses eight guests — often a group traveling together seeking ultimate privacy, like the German auto company execs who arrive toward the end of my stay — and provides its own helicopter, guides, chefs, and other amenities.

It’s not every day you wake up with a helicopter — in this case, a new A-Star B3E — parked outside your window, something I realize my first morning at TML. After breakfast, our group gathers in the great room for a safety briefing. At 9 a.m. on this mid-February day, the sun just begins to touch the tops of the trees across the lake, a reminder of how far north we are.

Twilight at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge.
Twilight at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SELKOWITZ.

As guide Brad Cosgrove fills us in on helicopter procedures and etiquette (his mantra: “slow is smooth and smooth is fast”), he introduces Greg King, a.k.a. Kiwi, one of the pilots who will fly us around during the week, as “the coolest chairlift operator I ever met.” No kidding. Helis not only multiply the convenience of lifts by an untold factor but when you’re sitting in the back, looking out the window at row after row of pristine peaks, knowing that within moments you’ll be getting out to ski on one of them, it’s impossible to sport anything other than a huge grin.

After an outdoor practice session with the supplied avalanche safety gear, we practice the fine art of waiting. Knowing a couple of things about heli-skiing in Alaska will help you to manage your expectations: 1. Bring a good book; and 2. Be patient. The above-treeline terrain means that in stormy weather or flat light, visibility gets compromised for both pilots and skiers, and the choppers won’t fly. But know a third thing, too: 3. When you do ski, you’re very likely to have some of the best runs of your life.

On that first day, we don’t have to wait too long for the payoff. Once word comes down after a couple of hours that the weather has cleared enough to fly, everyone springs into motion, strapping on beacons, bundling into jackets, and fitting climbing harnesses over ski pants — a necessity when traveling over glaciated terrain.

It won’t be until the next day that we’ll glimpse Denali and Mount Foraker out the window of the bird. But we have other things on our mind, like wondering about snow quality. Within about 15 minutes the answer comes as we put on skis and snowboards, snap photos, and breathe in the view while our guides dig a snow pit to get a handle on the stability of the run we plan to ski.

The guides have chosen a relatively mellow slope for us to warm up on, and I unexpectedly have to keep my skis pointed straight to get through the bottomless snow, making only the slightest wiggle of a turn. Sure, the Tordrillos average between 600 and 800 inches of snow a year (in comparison, a lower-48 ski area such as Vail gets about 300), and as storms come up the Cook Inlet, about 30 miles away, the orographic lift of the mountains acts as a catcher’s mitt for snow, as Overcast describes it. But the amount of snow surprises for mid-February, the beginning of TML’s operating season. “I knew it was going to be deep, but I didn’t know it was going to be this deep,” says Moe at the end of that first run. The verdict is clear; we head to steeper terrain for the rest of the afternoon.

The second day, after waiting for a stubborn layer of fog to lift from the mountains, we’re ready to kick it up a notch. The helicopter lands on a narrow ridge, skids extending over the edge. We clamber out, huddling close together as the bird lifts off in a burst of rotor wash, its engine momentarily drowning all other sound. During the week, I start to think of these moments as silent-movie clips — cueing into my fellow skiers’ facial expressions and our guide’s hand signals, the heli’s motor like a super-loud projector running the film.

As I put on my skis and peer down the slope we’ll ski, snow crystals glitter like so many pieces of stained glass at my feet. Moe gets ready to lead the way. Much of the time he’s out skiing, he sports the sort of grin that implies he’s up to something incredibly good, maybe even a little mischievous, and you’re about to be let in on the fun. Just try resisting his infectious enthusiasm for being out in the mountains, as he skis every run like it’s the first time he has experienced such joy in sliding on snow. We, too, whoop it up as we descend a 40-degree slope, equivalent to a double-black run at most ski areas. Then we take pictures of each other, skis off, standing in waist-deep snow as we wait for the heli to return.

During a week at TML, you may ski wide-open powder fields, cliff-lined couloirs, powder-filled gullies, narrow flutes, and steep faces. It’s diversity like that that keeps Moe, Overcast, and the guide team so enthusiastic after all these years.

Good as the skiing is, there’s more to do. The lodge grooms a cross-country ski trail that loops around a nearby meadow, and fat bikes stand at the ready for riding around the lake. A full-time masseuse works out of a small cabin next to the lodge, while another cabin houses a small fitness center and adjacent sauna. The great room, with a wood stove blazing, offers leather chairs and sofas where you can read or gather with other guests.

dinner at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Chef Jason prepares a sushi dinner at the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SELKOWITZ.

Après-ski, I recommend the following: Grab a cocktail or hot toddy from the bar, then head outside for a soak in the copper hot tub on the front deck. Afterward, work up a good sweat in the sauna and run out to the lake, where a ladder leads into a hole chain-sawed into the ice for the ultimate cold plunge. Lodge lore has it that regular TML guest Laird Hamilton, the pro surfer, has stayed under the water for up to four minutes. I made it about four seconds, with my head sticking out. But the intense tingling afterward brought pure exhilaration.

After a few days at TML, it becomes easy to settle into a simple schedule: anticipating skiing, skiing, and recovering from skiing, along with ample eating, drinking, and socializing. You check for clear skies as soon as you awaken. You get used to bush planes buzzing in each day with supplies or staff. You start to recognize the pilots and their planes. You start to think it will be weird to see a car at week’s end.

Turns out there’s one more thing to know about heli-skiing in Alaska. Leaving the routine will be harder than you ever anticipated. Returning to your everyday life, no matter how good it is, will feel like returning to Earth after an out-of-orbit experience. It may take a couple of weeks to come down off the buzz. But now you have something more: memories of rustling through deep powder as soft as silk, feeling weightless between turns, taking an invigorating plunge in the lake, raising a toast with your lodgemates during the cocktail hour as alpenglow tips the mountains rosy pink — and all of it was very, very real.

Things You Should Know

The season at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge runs from mid-February to the end of April. In June, the helis fire up again for Kings and Corn, a legendary experience of fishing for king salmon and skiing corn snow. The lodge stays open in summer for fishing, heli-hiking, water sports, and other mountain adventures, including a new via ferrata climbing route. Heli-skiing costs $14,000 per person for a week, which includes an initial overnight in Anchorage; flights to and from the lodge; seven days of skiing; all meals; and use of wide powder skis, snowboards, and safety gear. For more info: 907-569-5588; tordrillomountainlodge.com