Tordrillo Mountain Lodge. Heli Skiing Alaska Chef Brendan Nolan

Alaska Heli-Ski Lodge Confidential: The Push Up Game

Alaska Heli-Ski Lodge Confidential

I’m not really sure how or exactly when the pushup game got started. I think that like the spirit of the game itself its formation was a group effort. Begin with a close knit group of  active and hard working people cloistered in a remote Alaskan lodge, add equal parts camaraderie and competition and blend vigorously (and loudly).

It goes like this:  When you’ve finished your meal and it’s time to take your plate to the kitchen, you can shoot your silverware into the soapy bucket and gain the adulation and applause of the folks on hand. Drain a three pointer from the corner off the ceiling fan and the room will erupt in a volcano of shouting and clapping. Miss the shot, however and you owe twenty five push ups. As a courtesy, the kitchen staff will join you as you clear your penance.  If twenty five push ups is beyond your present grasp, then do your max and you’ll garner at least a polite golf clap. Say goodbye to your man boobs by week’s end and enjoy a few moments of breathless alacrity with friends old and new.

In between bouts of push-ups, I try to take advantage of Alaska’s bounty.  Alaskan King Crab can make most any chef a star. I like to employ a French technique called a glacage to add a touch of lemony class to an already fabulous ingredient. Tonight I will be cooking Grilled Elk Chops with a blueberry dijon glaze out on the grill. I like to grill things not only because of how it cooks but also because I get to look out over Judd Lake towards the Tordrillo range whilst basting the evenings’ offering. Summer in alaska can be glorious and so it is today. A warm and steady breeze keeps the bugs at bay and at 79 degrees and sunny, it feels like Alaskawaii.

This time of year, it’s more fishing than skiing at TML.  When our guests return from their day on the river chasing  King Salmon and Rainbow Trout they will be bushed (pun intended). And as the sun very slowly makes it’s way across the sky to briefly scurry behind the mountains to the north (yes, the north) for a brief nap, we will take to our beds with full bellies and sore chests for a deep sleep. So until you journey north to Alaska to experience the Tordrillo Mountains, start your own pushup game to pass the time and have some fun. And remember that there is no glory in a layup.

Brendan Nolan is executive chef at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska.  A former head chef at Four Seasons (among  other interesting gigs), he brings his culinary – and musical – talents to lodge guests from February through April and then again from June through mid-September.  Brendan will be joining us from time to time as a guest blogger to share behind the scenes stories from one of Alaska’s most prestigious heli-ski lodges.