No airline flies directly to Judd Lake, which is located 60 miles east of Anchorage at the tip of the Alaska Range. There are no highways connecting Judd Lake to anywhere and no railroad tracks, cruise terminals or bus depots in sight. Getting there requires visitors to catch a float plane from Lake Hood in Anchorage and to be comfortable landing on the water during summer or on ice in the winter.
Step off the plane and it’s instantly clear Judd Lake is no ordinary vacation destination. This is a place where the pressures of time give way to leisurely days whose itineraries are dictated by the weather and not by to-do lists.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, co-owned by Olympic skiier Tommy Moe and longtime friend Mike Overcast, is best known for heli-skiing but now offers a range of summer activities including heli-hiking, heli-biking, fishing, rafting and the chance to climb America’s most remote via ferrata, a type of iron climbing path that makes would-be difficult climbs accessible even to novice mountaineers.
“There really is a lot more to this place than skiing,” Overcast said.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge is a place where meals are eaten around a large communal table, where guides break bread with guests and where decked out helicopters provide transportation to mountains, glaciers, and secluded fishing spots.
Tordrillo has private cabins for rent as well as a variety of room styles in a lodge that’s perfect for large groups or travel with extended family. Rooms at the lodge are rustic but comfortable and equipped with private bathrooms. Expansive living areas and outdoor patios are perfect for hanging out after a day of exploring the Alaskan interior.
Don’t feel like venturing out? Try the on-site shooting range, hot tub, sauna, or boating, tubing, waterskiing, or paddleboarding on what feels like a private lake.
The Tordrillo experience doesn’t come cheap, with prices starting around $6,000 per person for a three-day/three-night summer package and around $15,000 a person for a seven-night winter package. That includes access to top-of-the-line gear, three gourmet meals a day plus snacks, soft drinks, and a seemingly never-ending supply of Lacroix.
Everything has to be flown in by plane or helicopter, said Jennifer Cornell, the lodge’s manager.
The property’s chefs can accommodate vegetarian diets as well as picky eaters. Guests are asked about dietary preferences when checking in. Alcohol from a well-stocked bar and 500-bottle wine cellar incur additional charges.
And while getting to the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge may seem like a hassle, it can actually be pretty seamless. Lodge staff plans and coordinates transfers to and from Anchorage, and arranges for overnight stays in Anchorage as necessary. After all, Judd Lake is a place where the weather dictates itineraries and even the best-laid plans may have to take a backseat to nature.