Active and dormant volcanoes, historic settlements, and abundant wildlife characterize this great region. Read more →
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
- 7 Days
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
• 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
Discover an outpost of civilization and comfort 100 miles from the nearest road. Read more →
One of the world's great ranges, on par with the Andes and Himalaya. Read more →
Ultima Thule Lodge is situated in the trees along the Chitina River, approximately 1300′ above sea level. If you’re joining Wild Alpine for spring skiing at the Lodge, you’re probably curious about where the good skiing is too. Daily flights to the best touring terrain range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes long. Sometimes even … Continue reading
In April 2012, the action film production team of Teton Gravity Research visited Ultima Thule Lodge to capture on location footage for the Jeremy Jones trilogy Deeper, Further, Higher. Here’s one product of that project: the Ultima Thule Lodge promo video, enjoy as it comes to life in HD. Appearances by the Claus family, Reudi … Continue reading
What is the weather going to be like during my visit? When talking about weather, “summer” means late May through early September. Average summer temperatures range from 33 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. While rare, it has been known to snow in July, so be prepared for cold weather. June through August are the rainiest months, although yearly … Continue reading
What activities are offered at the lodge during the spring skiing season? In March and April, the main activity at Ultima Thule Lodge is plane-assisted wilderness skiing and riding. Additionally, staff are available for hiking and/or cross-country skiing adventures. This time of year the surrounding area goes through spring break-up leaving parts of nearby Chitina … Continue reading
What is the difference between National Park and Preserve? A National Park is an area of unusual scenic or historic interest owned by the federal government and administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Mission: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park … Continue reading
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
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
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