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Judd Lake: Chugach Adventure Guides provide both seasons in one package.


In August, most of us figure we've traded in our skis and snowboards for hiking boots. Skiing enthusiasts spend their time dreaming of hitting those slopes again, wishing they could still enjoy their winter fun within Alaska's summer. Now they can. Chugach Adventure Guides at Tordillo Mountain Lodge offers not only winter heli-skiing, but also popular summer events that can extend the ski season.

In business since 1997, Chugach Adventure Guides is a group effort with several partners including general manager and lifetime Alaskans Chris Owens, Mike Overcast, Dave Hamre and Olympians Tommy Moe and Jeremy Nobis.

"We provide personalized, guided access to larger-than-life locales in a safe and expert manner," Owens said. "Our goal is to provide high-end adventure experiences that simply can't be found anywhere else."

They have been running Tordillo Mountain Lodge for the last three years. Located 70 miles west of Anchorage, the lodge sits on Judd Lake, the headwaters of the Talachulitna River. With 1,000 feet of lake-front and 600 feet of river front property, as well as towering mountains and nearby, accessible glaciers, Tordillo offers a variety of both winter and summer activities. Wintertime operations include a full-service heli-skiing operation, while summer brings the popular "Kings and Corn" event that combines summer heli-skiing on corn snow and heli-fishing for king salmon. Six sessions are offered, one being a "Rainbows and Corn" event that takes place before the kings start running, with 16 spaces available. This is one of their most popular activities and sells out quite early, Owens said.

"We are about half-booked for the 2009 season right now," he said "and we are often booked up to two years in advance."

Other summer activities include rafting, hiking, glacier exploration, paddle boarding and climbing.

"We have fantastic fishing for five species of salmon and world class rainbow trout, Owens said. "We use our helicopters to access remote creek drainages, floating our way out with inflatable kayaks or rafts. This gives our guests the opportunity to fish in incredible spots that cannot be accessed in any other manner."

The lodge consists of six double-occupancy rooms and an outbuilding that sleeps four. It maintains a rustic beauty that fits in with the surrounding wilderness, with 15-inch log construction, hardwood floors and a wood-fired, cedar hot tub and sauna that overlook the lake.

Guests can enjoy views of the Tordillo Mountains and Mount Spur on the public decks, as well as the services of the resident chef who prepares a wide variety of continental cuisine that features locally caught seafood and fresh ingredients. There are also two cigar decks for those who want to enjoy a discreet smoke after dinner.

Tours can begin from either Anchorage or Talkeetna, and prices include lodge accommodations, round-trip float plane transportation, use of all recreational equipment and meals. There are additional amenities available for a fee, such as massage therapy services, guided helicopter tours, and purchase of fishing licenses. As with the majority of Alaska's activities, booking early for any of their packages is a good idea.

So don't put those skis or snowboards away too early. With a little help from Chugach Adventure Guides, you could be combining those favorite winter activities with traditional summer adventures well into the summer months.
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Comment:Judd Lake: Chugach Adventure Guides provide both seasons in one package.(EXECUTIVE GETAWAYS)
Author:Knapp, Jody Ellis
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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