Hot Spot: The Big Splurge

Call Tordrillo Mountain Lodge (TML)—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. Sure, it may cost most of your annual salary, but aren’t a few years working in a cube worth a week of guaranteed untracked Alaskan powder and luxury accommodations? You be the judge.

The Goods

Alaska’s most remote and exclusive (a week here will run you upwards of $12,000) heli skiing and snowboarding lodge is a private powder playground, but it’s well worth it to have your own personal access to 1.2 million acres of thigh-deep fluff and countless face shots on long runs that rack up 5,500 feet of vertical bliss. Accessible only by helicopter, the jagged peaks, wide-open bowls and narrow chutes of the Tordrillos are reachable only via a 45-minute floatplane ride from Anchorage to Judd Lake and the lodge. Storms come in hot, dumping an average of 600 inches (50 feet) per year, and extended high-pressure systems create bluebird days and stable snow conditions. Tordrillo terrain is steep—lines average in the 30-degree range, but don’t be intimidated: No one’s gonna make you huck cliffs or navigate fall-and-die territory. And the guides are masters at finding runs that inspire intermediates and experts alike. A 10- to 50-minute helicopter flight delivers you to the terrain most appropriate to your ability. And, because the lodge purchased its own helicopter and added remote fueling locations, Tordrillo won’t waste your time, but instead it will blitz you with more vertical feet in a day than your legs can probably handle. When your quads hit overburn, take a minute to look around. That hulking mass on the northern horizon is 20,320-foot Denali, North America’s highest peak.

The Guides

Whether they are pioneering a new line or repeating a classic, Tordrillo’s guide team—each with a mandtory 15 years of experience—brings an unmatched enthusiasm and passion to sharing their home, which averages 600 inches of pow each year. By continually evaluating your ability, they not only make sure you’re having a blast, but also ensure your skills progress over the duration of your visit. Plus, since founders and owners—long-time Alaska heli ski operator Mike Overcast and Olympic gold medal skier Tommy Moe—aren’t content with just running operations from the office, you’ll likely get to explore this special part of the Alaska Range alongside these legends, who also happen to be the very guys responsible for pioneering the region’s skiing.

The Goodness

After a day of crushing new personal records for vertical feet of pow shredded in one day, you’ll return to the cozy and recently expanded lodge on the shores of Judd Lake. Soak sore muscles in the wood-fired hot tub, indulge in a massage or sweat it out in the sauna before plunging in the icy waters of the lake. Or lounge by the fireside in the cozy living room with a local craft brew or glass of prized Tuscan Sassacaia. Chill until dinner—often local wild game like elk or pheasant and Alaskan seafood including fresh king crab and Kachemak Bay oysters. (In the summer, guests eat the salmon they catch served with veggies from the lodge’s garden.) And get stoked for another day in a white room only a relative handful of skiers ever see.

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