Moe knows powder. Tommy Moe, that is. The Olympic double medalist from Lillehammer in ‘94 has been on the powder prowl ever since he hung up his speed suit.
And Moe knows Alaska. These days, Moe splits his time between Jackson Hole, WY and Alaska’s
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which he co-founded with Mike Overcast a dozen years ago. You may have read about it in Issue 8.4 (and if you didn’t, get a preview here). And this past summer, Moe and Overcast brought on a new investor to help take their lodge to the next level by adding their own helicopter, 12,000 square feet of new living space, a private lodge, chalets, and more. It was a complete overhaul of TML’s already impressive facilities on Judd Lake, 40 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Late this February, I had the privilege of spending opening week with Moe and co. in the Tordrillos alongside a film/photo crew from
Marmot and a few other journalists. We came in on the tail end of a major storm and saw enough sunshine to fly five out of six days. With good stability and numerous aircraft at our disposal, it was an unforgettable mid-winter mission in Alaska. But enough words, already—I’ll let the photos do the talking from here.
Tommy Moe and one of his new favorite runs. He hadn’t skied this one before in a dozen years of ownership and guiding at TML.
Sportsman Air handles the ski plane shuttles in and out of TML’s lodge, which is about a 45-minute flight from Anchorage. They also handle air service when the operation pushes 40 miles from the lodge into the field and stages fuel so guests can stay deep in the field all day–a unique feature of TML, which always seems to be buzzing with aircraft.
Tommy Moe enters one tube of many on day three. The Tordrillos are known for being home to plentiful chutes and couloirs–so much so that they have a whole zone called “Couloir Town” in the northeastern reaches of their 1.2-million-acre tenure.
Gordy Megroz in deep.
Moe does the polar plunge. There’s nothing quite like exiting a 260-degree sauna into a frozen lake. Once you get used to it, it becomes an end-of-day ritual at TML.
Tommy Moe, first tracks on one of the longer runs of the trip. The rolling terrain that funneled into a couple small gullies near the bottom was reminiscent of Japan, but on an Alaskan scale–the snow rivaled the Japanese variety as well.
Our flight in saw some weather. The flatlands west of Anchorage, as seen from the air. Sportsman had to delay the flight a bit, but we still got in on our scheduled day of arrival.
Tommy Moe nears the bottom of a long, rolling descent to close out day four of five.
Good morning, Tordrillos–the front end of the TML tenure begins within sight of the front porch and runs for 50-plus miles north and south.
Co-owner and guide Mike OVercast opens up a smooth ramp on our final day of skiing. We were able to fly five out of six days and stacked up around 25 runs–not bad for a week of heli in AK.
Gordy Megroz on a fresh one for the last run of the trip.
Anchorage, AK as seen from a Sportsman Air ski plane on the way out of the lodge.
Tommy Moe skips out the bottom after a craggy entrance.
The Triumvirate glacier provides a nice backdrop for a lunch in the field on the final day of skiing.
Gordy Megroz, powder aficionado.
TML’s own private Astar. The operation purchased their own helicopter after bringing on a new investor in 2016. They also put 400 hours on the bird shuttling materials in and around the lodge during renovations, which added a new private lodge option and 12,000 square feet of upgraded living space for the 2017 season.
Chris Kassar at the foot of the Triumvirate Glacier.
Gordy Megroz charges the “Dolomite Couloir” on day three.
Do you think Gordy Megroz ever tired of powder turns on this trip?
The only down day of the trip brought spectacular light when the weather cleared near sunset. Gordy Megroz takes it in during a quick XC-lap around the lodge. One of the nice things about the lodge experience at the Tordrillos is the assortment of fat bikes, snowshoes and more for guests to use on down days, and the pristine landscapes all around.
Gordy Megroz, waist deep in the shade.
Two helis plus two groups equals fresh lines all week.
Although she’s summited Denali three times, Chris Kassar hasn’t skied a ton of big mountains. Her concerns about skiing in the Tordrillos surfaced atop a few of the steeper drops, but she gained confidence throughout the week thanks to Moe’s positive attitude. By the last day, she was able to handle it all with a smile.
The original lodge doubled in size this past summer, but the aircraft parking remained the same. Four ski planes and a helicopter, at your disposal.
Chris Kassar drops a knee and follows Moe and Megroz’s tracks from an alpine bowl into a nice tube.
Sunset and snow crystals on Judd Lake, a few steps from the front door of TML’s lodge.
When things get rocky, fast and light is a good approach. Moe points it out the bottom of a fun chute.
Gordy Megroz proves that dropping second is a fine proposition when it comes to Alaskan spines. A little to the right and fresh to the bottom.
Afternoon snow squalls, dark evergreens and the ever-present mountainous backdrop as seen just before sunset.
Gordy Megroz, first on slope in a memorable zone known as “Spinal Tap.” This is where the training wheels most definitely came off on day four.