Tordrillos base camp skiing on the Hayes Glacier

Base camping on a glacier, backcountry skiing Tordrillos spines and beautiful terrain, bush plane access, and great friends – Tordrillos adventure ski week!

So, on the back end of Augustine, I had a day through Anchorage and then it was off to the Tordrilllos with Paul, Erin, and Corky . . . My friend Max and his 2 childhood friends from Argentina wanted a quintessential Alaskan experience, so we invited them to come along and share base camp as well.

The crew: Corky, Paul, me, Erin

With amazing luck, our fly-day was sunny . . . so I flew with Jake in the Beaver over to the Tordrillo mountain lodge and then out to scope our runway in the SuperCub . . . it was good to be back in a bush plane again, and I loved scouting the area!!

looks like there might be some ski terrain here . . .


Jake the pilot, and the super cub


The beaver landing with the crew

We spent the rest of that day styling out camp: cook tent, Arctic oven drying/sleeping tent, bathroom, walkways, etc. and doing some z-pulley setup and crevasse rescue practice.   From the outset, it was clear that we would not be suffering – luxury camping, amazing food, and plenty of it!!!

home sweet home!

Next day dawned blue, so we took off in search of good snow – we headed up toward Mt. Gerdine and a peak which looked pretty climbable from below . . . long slog, super deep and steep trailbreaking, and HOT HOT HOT temps/sun reflection, but we made the high point we’d been gunning for and were greeted with a stunning run to start out with!  We’d all intended to start out on mellower terrain, but we’d had good pit results, no indication of instability on the climb, and were able to start mellow and ramp up as our run went . . . so we gave it a shot . . . we ended up skiing “the shoulder of awesome” that we’d all eyed from camp that morning – we were stoked!!

Heading up glacier, roped for our first day as we got the lay of the land
Steep and deep trailbreaking, compliments of Paul
Erin coming up the ridge


I couldn’t decide if I love or hate that views like these have become “normal” in my life . . . it was stunning!!!


Erin making it look easy 🙂


Me, loving the blower powder we’d found – wasn’t expecting that!


Day 2 we decided to check out a nearby cirque I’d drooled over on the scouting flight . . . another day of amazing snow in super fun terrain – by the time we were done, there were 8 lines down it and not much remaining untracked real estate – another amazing day under blue skies with more stable snow!  We named this the “bowl of delight” . . . for obvious reasons!

Looks like more good snow!
Corky creating a superhighway . . . our playground above 🙂
Me, Erin, and Paul
Erin and Corky at the top of the line – our mountain from the day before in the background


Paul and I at the top of run #1


Corky incoming
Our work here is done . . . super fun, super festive skiing in amazing snow – we win again!!

So, let’s just say we did not suffer in the dinner/camp department – Erin put together some amazing meals, and I brought tons of veggies to add . . . we had coconut curry, sun dried tomato/pesto/pine nut/smoked salmon pasta, moose filets and veggie mashed potatoes, salmon filets and veggie cous cous, chicken mole with fried polenta, and a spicy veggie curry . . . best food I’ve ever eaten on glacier, to be sure!!




We also had some nice mellow time at camp, kinda waiting for weather to settle so we’d know which way to travel . . . but we had such a nice space to enjoy it from, and likely all needed a bit of “vacation” on our vacation, so it was awesome!




Our third day was a “storm” day, but since it wasn’t really accumulating, Paul and I decided to head out with Max/Sacha/Joaquin in search of a couloir they’d seen on their previous day exploring . . . so off we went into the abyss!

I clearly think storm skiing is funny . . . 😉
Off into the abyss . . . hope this one works out!
Sacha showing us the way it’s done . . . kind of like Christmas Chute on a storm day, but longer, further away, and a little different 🙂

Day 4 was an iffy weather day, but it cleared late in the day, so we were blessed with sunshine yet again.  We decided to head up to an area we’d begun to call “The Argentine Spines” since it was Max and company that had skied them on day 1.  I feel like a broken record at this point: amazing views, insanely good snow, lusciously curvy terrain . . . incredible pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming skiing . . .

Looks like we might get a good day after all . . .
Erin and Paul headed up glacier



Paul enjoying himself 🙂



Corky with a little slice of paradise above him . . .
Paul ripping . . .


Me hidden in the powder cloud 🙂

Our last day dawned blue again, so we headed back to the “shoulder of awesome” zone from day 1 . . . we had some unfinished work to do, out skintrack was still in, and we had high confidence of finding more amazing snow . . . so off we went!


Me and Paul . . . going up up up
Corky and more horrible views . . .
Ready for run #1


Paul ripping the line Corky had eyed
Chilling out before leaving the sun back to our shady camp . . . the Lotus 120’s slay it again!  Love these skis 🙂
So, with 5 days of great skiing, and zero down days, we didn’t have much to complain about.  I was pretty impressed with the terrain, the snow quality, and the location overall.  Many thanks to Sportsman’s Air for the safe transport!!!


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