ski & snowboard adventures at winterlake lodge
Our mission at Tordrillo North is to provide our guests with the opportunity to experience the vast and remarkable wildness of the Tordrillo Mountains, that powerful sense of time spent in the natural world, and to share with others the reason we deeply care about this place. The Tordrillo North team is committed to our guests’ wellbeing and adventure. We accept the responsibility to make each visitor experience to Winterlake Lodge and the Tordrillo Mountains worth the journey. We strive to facilitate remarkable adventures, opportunities to bring together new and old friends, and to ensure a safe and positive environment.
Our world-recognized and experienced guide team welcomes guests of all abilities and levels in a supportive and respectful atmosphere. We invite guest-guides to join us in a collaborative and non-competitive environment. In addition to a wealth of moderate terrain, we have some of the most unique and remarkable heli skiing terrain on the planet (just ask Matchstick, TGR, Warren Miller, Brain Farm and their top athletes about what they think of - and dream about – their Tordrillo North experience).
Our lodge is your backcountry home in Alaska. Winterlake Lodge, a rustic hand-hewn log building, offers comfortable public space to relax, recreate, and enjoy retelling the adventures of the day. Our bar is the gathering room where we share premium drinks in glasses filled with ice hand chipped from the surrounding glaciers. Hot appetizers, along with a stunning array of cheeses, are served each evening and the Ping-Pong table is always looking for the next “hot-paddle”. The food at Winterlake is well documented in national and international culinary media. We believe we prepare the best food in Alaska and we have awards to back that up. Our dining tables offer opportunity for camaraderie and sharing. Afterwards, jump into the hot tub or wood-fired sauna or both. And, when the day is done, return to your private cabin, snuggle deep into luxury linen and fluffy down blankets, and listen to nothing but the silence. At daybreak, join our yoga instructor in the wellness room for sun salutations as you face toward the mountains you will soon be exploring. Don’t forget to book your massage!
We invite you to visit us, ski with us, and stoke your passion for a place you’ll dream about.
The Tordrillo North Team
Jim Conway is a 25 year veteran of the Alaska Heli Ski scene. Jim started his career as a professional free-skier competing and shooting films in Alaska. He quickly moved into a guiding role with Doug Coombs in the early days of Valdez Heli-Ski Guides. Having worked mostly with private groups exploring the Valdez area, his careered morphed into guiding films crews such as Teton Gravity Research and others all over Alaska including: Valdez, Cordova, Girdwood, Haines, Seward, Hatcher Pass, Juneau, Petersburg, and the Tordrillos. As a further evolution Jim became the Operations Manager for Chugach Powder Guides and later, Valdez Heli-Ski Guides.
On the hill, Jim is your man if you want to rip high speed lines and rack up the vertical. He still has the one day vertical record in Valdez of 78,000 feet in 20 runs. And no, that wasn't a manufactured event, that was just a day of skiing with his clients. Exploring is also Jim's forte and he enjoys nothing more then seeing what's around the next corner.
Jim’s ability to develop and manage heli-ski operations in remote and often untouched wilds of Alaska made him a leading figure in the world of risk management. For the last 10 years Jim has consulted with the US Marine Corp, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force on a number of risk management challenges. He has been a frequent speaker for the Insurance and Risk Management Society and the State Risk and Insurance Management Association. It is safe to say that safety is Jim’s first priority.
Jim fills his off season with his newest passion, enduro dirt bike riding on the extensive network of single track trails surrounding his base in Salt Lake City. Of course, never one to stand still, Jim has turned this love of motorcycling into a second career of helping service members become better riders. He is managing partner of the Tilton Safety Group which provides safety awareness and advanced training to Marine motorcyclists.
OH, and as a footnote to all this, Jim has an engineering degree from Montana State University. He was even the project engineer on the Big Sky Aerial Tramway that summits 11,000 foot Lone Peak. While Jim appreciates his engineering training and background, his career was arguably influenced more by his time on the slopes of Bridger Bowl near his alma mater!
"The extent that Conway has explored Alaska's helicopter ski terrain can only be described through his 24 years of experience. As Teton Gravity Research lead guide, Conway helped established current safety standards for big mountain production work in Alaska. His eye for detail regarding helicopter skiing operation and mountain safety are highly respected in the industry!"
Kent Scheler , Teton Gravity Research, Lead Guide
CHRISOWENS Owner-General Manager
Born and raised in Alaska, Chris Owens has spent nearly two decades managing the safe delivery of Alaska backcountry and mountain experiences to thousands of people. Through his former ownership, development and management of Chugach Powder Guides and Chugach Adventure Guides (two of the largest and most respected helicopter skiing and river guiding organizations in the state), Chris helped forge the development and success of the now robust heli sports industry in Alaska. He has helped develop top end customer service principles and attention to heli ski program details that are emulated throughout the industry today. Chris has managed logistics and safety in almost every environment Alaska has to offer. He is known for making logistically intensive projects happen in remote locations without a hitch.
Chris has provided organizational, location, permitting, logistical and safety support to Alaska film, television and print projects since 1997. He has shot segments with ESPN, Red Bull, Brainfarm, Discovery, the Travel Channel, Warren Miller Entertainment, ABC, NBC, Teton Gravity Research, Switchback Productions, Matchstick Productions, Salomon Freeski TV and a multitude of other film and television production companies. He regularly coordinates the action of helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, safety and action crews, and more in the wilds of Alaska.
Chris has always made an effort to be a positive force for the betterment of the Alaska community. He served as president of Challenge Alaska, a robust ski and sports program for people with disabilities for 10 years. He was selected by the Alaska Journal of Commerce and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce as one of the Top 40 business people under the age of 40 in Alaska and was honored by the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau with the “All Alaskan” award for exemplary business practices and success in the Alaska tourism industry.
CARLDIXON Owner-Lodge Manager
Carl Dixon’s love of the natural world and his desire to share the beauty of the Alaska backcountry inspires travelers from around the world. His unwavering enthusiasm fuels the excitement guests feel when they experience remote areas of Alaska. Guests often say that Carl has shown them the best day of their lives. Guiding since 1976, he is the owner and working manager of Within The Wild Adventure Company, a small boutique adventure company offering two wilderness lodges in Southcentral Alaska.
As a result of living in the Alaska backcountry for 30 years, he has extensive knowledge of flora, fauna, tracking, and terrain of the areas he guides. He has summited Mount McKinley multiple times, was a part of the first North American expedition to Mount Aconcagua, and has a handful of first-ascent river explorations. He is frequently called upon to rescue distressed travelers along the Iditarod Trail. Carl has an unblemished 30-year safety record.
Training: Wilderness First Responder, Glacier Travel Courses, Fixed Wing Pilot license, Crevasse Rescue advanced training, Coast Guard 6-PK license, helicopter pilot training, cross country ski instructor certification, whitewater rescue advanced training, PADI dive certification.
KIRSTENDIXON Head Chef
Co-author of “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook — Coastal Cuisine from the Wilds of Alaska,” chef Kirsten Dixon has been cooking in the backcountry of Alaska for more than 30 years. She owns Within the Wild Adventure Company along with her husband Carl and two daughters, Mandy and Carly. Together they operate Winterlake Lodge, Tutka Bay Lodge, the Cooking School at Tutka Bay, a home goods boutique and a café, all located in Southcentral Alaska.
Kirsten first came to Alaska in 1979 to work as an intensive care nurse for the Alaska Native Medical Center. At the hospital, she met audiologist and licensed pilot, Carl Dixon. A year after they met, Carl took Kirsten flying and it was then that they spotted a “for sale” sign on a remote cabin from the air, leading them to make the Alaska wilderness their home. Kirsten realized her interest in the culinary arts the more she worked as a lodge host. Guests visiting from France praised Kirsten’s abilities and encouraged her development as a chef. She later attended Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, and earned a master’s degree in gastronomy from Adelaide University in Australia.
In 1993, Carl was out flying again when he circled around a picturesque lake nestled within the peaks of the Alaska Mountain Range, northwest of Anchorage. He and Kirsten bought land in the area, and opened Winterlake Lodge. A high-end, remote fly-in only lodge with five cabins, Winterlake Lodge offers hiking, kayaking, fishing and wildlife viewing in the summer, as well as dog mushing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more in the winter. Guests may also take an informal cooking class with Kirsten, a yoga class or receive a complimentary massage.
In 2009, the Dixons purchased Tutka Bay Lodge, a summer-only wilderness retreat that sits at the head of a rugged seven-mile fjord at the southern end of Kachemak Bay. Located nine ocean miles from Homer, guests arrive by boat or plane and stay in one of six private guest cabins. Adventure activities include sport fishing, kayaking, hiking and wildlife viewing. Guests may also book a complimentary massage and yoga classes or partake in wine tastings and cooking classes. The Dixons have transformed the lodge into an upscale seaside resort.
After years of giving informal cooking classes to lodge guests, Kirsten opened the Cooking School at Tutka Bay in 2010. She and her culinary team lead classes based on several global cuisine themes that incorporate local ingredients from the sea and the garden. American chef and cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh visited from Japan in summer 2011 and taught a special class series on Japanese cuisine. Dixon invited Andoh to be a guest teacher after basing some of her classes on Andoh’s cookbooks, “Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen” and “Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions.”
Following her entrepreneurial spirit, Kirsten led the family in opening a home goods boutique in Homer in 2011. RusticWild reflects the Within the Wild Adventure Company lifestyle and its seaside home. Items for sale include organic bath products, gardening seed collections, Japanese glass floats, linens from France, and of course, gourmet foods, such as kale chips.
Most recently in January 2012, she bought a small café that sits in front of RusticWild with her daughter. Run by her daughter chef Mandy Dixon, La Baleine Café, serves hearty breakfast and lunch dishes as well as bakery items during the summer season.
As the Within the Wild Adventure Company has expanded, Kirsten and her family have retained strong control over the brand, promoting an upscale, yet comfortable lifestyle that focuses around gourmet cuisine and true Alaska adventure. The Within the Wild Adventure Company is well respected within the Alaska travel industry for its success within the luxury travel market.
Kirsten continues to travel around the world to learn about cuisine from Morocco to Japan and has been invited to guest chef aboard both Silversea Cruises and Holland America Line cruise ships. She has been a featured chef at the James Beard House in New York, and has cooked with renowned chefs, including Alain Ducasse, Charlie Trotter and Jacques Pepin, among others.
Kirsten completed a Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at Goddard College, Vermont and has since written for and been featured in many national and international publications. She has written three cookbooks, including the recently released “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook” and “The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook” for which she won the Best Female Chef USA award at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards in 2004. A second edition of “The Winterlake Lodge Cookbook” with new recipes was released on October 15, 2012.
call us 907-274-2710
WITHIN THE WILD
ALASKAN ADVENTURE LODGES