Winterlake Lodge: Meet the Staff

Located in South-Central Alaskan Wilderness, United States
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Tony Ardisson: Guide Manager

I came to Within the Wild Adventure Company two seasons ago. I wanted to work for a small, family-run operation that shares the same hospitality fundamentals and environmental ethics as I do. Owners Carl and Kirsten Dixon are passionate about Alaska and it has been a pleasure working with and learning from them.

Born in Bozeman, Montana, I’ve lived and breathed mountains and rivers my entire life. My enthusiasm for the outdoors carried me in a natural direction to adventure guiding and hospitality in remote wilderness settings. My wife and I came to Winterlake to manage what we feel is truly one of the most unique and authentic lodges in the world.

Winterlake Lodge Is My Lodge

The best time to visit my lodge is... March and April because of the winter adventure: it focuses on dogsledding (including the Iditarod) and heli-skiing, and is a great time of year to see northern lights. June through September is great for glacier trekking, salmon and trout fishing, river rafting and wildlife viewing, to name a few of my favorites.

My lodge’s best quality is... the genuine staff and the detailed service. We are a passionate group of backcountry travelers excited to guide guests to their own unique experience.

A visit isn’t complete without... a helicopter tour of our local glaciers, catching a fish in a wild river or climbing to the top of a mountain. Our remote location allows us to do these activities in gracious solitude, elevating the sense of exploration and discovery in each adventure.

The ultimate souvenir is... filling a water bottle with pure glacier melt from one of the many beautiful moulins, or perhaps bringing some glacier ice back to the lodge to enjoy in a cold drink.

My lodge really focuses on the local environment by... using our knowledge and resources of sustainable tourism to keep our environment pristine and educating our guests to appreciate this fragile ecosystem so that it can be here in its purity for generations to enjoy.

The dish that my lodge makes the best is... anything made with our locally foraged berries. When they’re at their peak in late summer, our chefs make the best preserves, ice creams and sauces highlighting the harvest.

Our signature drink is... our wild blueberry mojito with mint from our garden.

My favorite local expression is... the term “sourdough”, referring to a backcountry seasoned Alaskan.

My favorite “lodge secret” is… there are a couple of fishing holes I’d be happy to show you when you visit.

The most beautiful place at the lodge has to be... the front deck early in the morning. There is nothing like watching the loons swim across the lake in morning light with hot tea or coffee in your hands.

If you want to get up close and personal with local wildlife... head to Red Lake. If you’re lucky, you could see bear, moose, loons, eagles, otters and trumpeter swans, just to name a few.

If you’re up for a physical challenge... sign your name in the summit log on Wolverine Ridge. This 3,000 ft. climb over roughly five miles offers stunning 360˚ views of the Tordrillo and Alaska mountain ranges, including Denali.

To experience the lodge’s cultural side... join our chefs in their daily interactive cooking demonstrations where you’ll prepare some lodge favorites from one of owner Kirsten Dixon’s famous cookbooks.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), don’t miss... panning for gold. Our area has a rich gold rush history and you might just get lucky!

Watch out for... wildlife and be sure to have your camera ready at all times!

The world should visit my lodge because... we provide our guests with the opportunity to spend time in the natural world and experience its power, to embark on enriching adventures that become lifetime memories, and to bring individuals and families closer together in a creative and positive environment.

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