Andrew McLean Wilderness Ski Week


Andrew McLean Wilderness Ski Week combines ski mountaineering icon Andrew McLean, professional mountain guides of Wild Alpine, famed pilots and rustic luxury accommodations of Ultima Thule Lodge and the biggest mountain terrain on Earth to create an unparalled ski touring “adventure of a lifetime!”

March 29 - April 4, 2015 
Begins In
Ends In
Anchorage Marriott, Ultima Thule Lodge 
Shuttle and Bush Plane 
Informal instruction while skiing: wilderness skiing, tricks of the uphill trade, big mountain awareness, gear and gadgets, survival skiing, avalanche avoidance, expedition tips and tricks, skiing major features, end of your rope. Fireside slideshows and a certificate of completion. 
Max Group Size
Intermediate, Advanced 
Guide Ratio
1 Guide : 3 Clients 
Priced From
$7700 per person when you reserve before September 1, 2014 

Five days of guided wilderness ski touring and six nights at Ultima Thule Lodge. Daily backcountry flights in fixed-wing aircraft outfitted for landings on snow and ice. More than twenty thousand vertical feet of untracked turns within 13.2 million acres of untracked terrain. Informal instruction and slideshows with professional ski mountaineer, Mountain Hardwear pro-team athlete and technical equipment designer, Andrew McLean.

plane access ski touring in the wrangell mountains with wild alpine guides

Bravo Kilo drops skiers in the mountains for a day of wilderness touring. Photo by Tod Francis.

Wild Alpine invites you to a truly unique experience beyond the realm of heli-terrain, trams or resorts. Join renowned ski mountaineer, designer, writer Andrew McLean for a week of guided plane-access skiing and mentoring within Alaska’s vast alpine wilderness. Explore the Wrangell-St Elias mountain kingdom with legendary bush pilot Paul Claus. Indulge in the rustic luxury and authentic Alaskan fare of Ultima Thule Lodge.

Andrew McLean Wilderness Ski Week with Wild alpine guides at ultima thule lodge wrangell st elias national park alaska

Ski touring in the Wrangells, a lifetime of breaking trail. Photo by Jim Harris.

Bootpacking no-name couloirs. Photo by Jim Harris.

Carving fresh Wrangell Mountain turns. Photo by Jim Harris.

relax at ultima thule lodge with wild alpine guides andrew mclean's wilderness ski week alaska

Unwind apres ski in the Main Lodge or private cabins of Ultima Thule Lodge. Photo by Jim Harris.

About Andrew McLean
Andrew specializes in steep skiing in remote locations. With first descents on all seven continents, he has carved turns in places such as Baffin Island, Antarctica, Iran and Morocco. A veteran of twenty expeditions and hundreds of first descents, Powder Magazine voted McLean as “One of the Greatest Skiers of Our Time.” By profession, he designs mountain climbing equipment and uses many of his own inventions while skiing.

“… The thing that’s unique about ski mountaineering in the Wrangell-St. Elias Range is that there are so many options, it’s huge beyond imagination! The multitude of different elevations, aspects and entire sub-ranges of unexplored mountains means it is a much deeper, complex game than just skiing itself…. This trip is a combination of the biggest terrain people will ever ski and they will be able to do it in comfort and style. It will redefine ‘skiing’ for even the most jaded been-there-done-that skier….”
- Andrew McLean

Andrew brings expertise, enthusiasm and humor to the Wrangell Mountains year after year. Photo by Tom Evans.



To begin: there is no set-in-stone itinerary! Our approach to wilderness skiing is about moving from one project to the next and there are endless projects. Long spring days with lots of sunlight mean later starts and time to consider lots of options. Under the guidance of your pilots and guides, general objectives are determined each morning. Some days are about aggressive summits and descents while others are about leisurely exploration. Under the insightful and always entertaining tutelage of Andrew McLean you’ll broaden your backcountry skill-set for remote mountain travel.

Six Day Itinerary
March 28: Arrive in Alaska, ANC. Transfer by taxi to Anchorage Marriott. Enjoy your first night in Alaska exploring downtown Anchorage. Contact us for restaurant and entertainment recommendations.
March 29: Meet a Wild Alpine representative at the Anchorage Marriott. Travel to Ultima Thule Lodge.
March 30 – April 3: Daily flights to wilderness touring terrain, instructional guiding, rest and relax each evening at Ultima Thule Lodge.
April 4: Return to Anchorage.

Daily Schedule
8:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 am: Preskiing daily prep meeting. Discuss the day’s objectives and any special gear needs.
10:30 am: Load planes. Depart lodge for ski touring destinations.
5:00 pm: Return to lodge.
8:00 pm: Dinner
9:00 pm: Informal info sessions, slideshows, movies, stories.

Session Highlights
• Wilderness Skiing: Way beyond off-piste
• Tricks of the Uphill Trade: Efficient skinning & climbing
• Big Mountain Awareness: Approaching big peak skiing safely
• Gear & Gadgets: What works and what doesn’t
• Survival Skiing: What to do when powder goes bad
• Avalanche Avoidance: Staying out of them in the first place
• Expedition Tips & Tricks: If the Ultima Thule Lodge seems too comfy
• Skiing Major Features: Endless ridgelines, vast bowls, couloirs, chutes, etc.
• End of Your Rope: Ropework for Ski Mountaineering
• Fireside Slideshows: Skiing expeditions from all around the world, including UTL
• Certificate of Completion


About the Area



Ultima Thule Lodge Gear List

Guests are responsible for bringing appropriate outdoor gear. This packing list will help to ensure you have everything you need for your adventure. Plan your travel wardrobe around informal and comfortable clothing. The weather in Alaska is quite variable and changes quickly. High quality waterproof gear is worth the investment, especially for the summer months. … Continue reading

Recommended Reading

Natural History My Wrangell Mountains (available for viewing or purchase at the Wild Alpine shop in McCarthy) Homberger, Zyle & Larsen / University of Alaska Press  Where the Sea Breaks Its Back: The Epic Story of Early Naturalist Georg Steller and the Russian Exploration of Alaska Cory Ford / Alaska Northwest Books Mountain Wilderness: An Illustrated History … Continue reading

Wilderness Skiing Gear List

Guests are responsible for bringing appropriate clothing and ski/splitboard gear. This packing list will help to ensure you have everything you need for your adventure. Plan your travel wardrobe around informal and comfortable clothing. The weather in Alaska is quite variable and changes quickly. High quality waterproof gear is worth the investment, especially for the … Continue reading