Tailored backcountry trips
December 3, 2017
Bobby Lauterjung stared at the mountains surrounding the Hideout Lodge in 2015.
The Los Angeles resident, who spends much of the winter in the Tahoe and Kirkwood area, got married in September of that year but couldn't help taking his eyes off his new bride periodically to picture snow on all the surrounding slopes.
Two years later, and Lauterjung has partnered with the lodge's owners to turn the area into a backcountry winter destination.
Lauterjung, the CEO of operations, is taking reservations for the 5,000-square foot resort located about 2.2 miles off the beaten path near State Route 88 and Kirkwood.
"I couldn't stop thinking of snowboarding and snowmobiling there," Lauterjung said during a phone interview with the Tribune. "I thought that the place was epic. The idea kind of naturally grew to include helicopters, saunas, hot tubs and guides. The goal is to bring as close to five-star luxury in the middle of the wilderness that we can."
Each of the five upstairs bedrooms has full bathrooms, heating stoves and are "unique in character."
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The lodge, entirely off the grid and built from trees on the property, has a saloon, where there is limited wifi available, an outdoor sauna and a soaking hot tub. There will be yoga and in-room massages offered.
"We don't want to offer the cookie cutter experience," Lauterjung said. "It's a 'choose your own adventure.' We want to tailor the experience for each guest."
Even getting there offers a range of options to choose from.
Guests can take a helicopter from the Bay Area, Sacramento or Reno and land right on the property. They can drive up and park in a snow cleared parking lot and can receive a ride in from a snowcat or snowmobile, or they may hike the distance. They can also bring their own snowmobiles.
Once at the resort, guests can hike to their adventure, they can be guided, they can rent a helicopter to pick out what mountains they want to ski or snowboard down and they can rent snowmobiles.
The lodge's top guide will be Bill Flemming, of Truckee, a professional helicopter pilot who holds a level-3 certificate from the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, according to Lauterjung.
After shredding untouched terrain all day, guests will be fed a communal dinner by an on-staff chef.
"We call it elevated dining prepared with homemade values," Lauterjung said. "It's a way to meet people cut from the same cloth."
Lauterjung said the cost of staying at Hideout Lodge is maybe 60 percent of what lodges up north in Alaska ask for.
Packages start at $2,700-$2,800 and are more time effective — meaning you can take in a complete tour in fewer days. Prices go up with equipment rentals like snowmobiles or helicopter service.
"Rather than have it be a costly 5k minimum before the plane ticket, we cut out a lot of the expense," Lauterjung said. "You can take thee or four days off and have a three or four day tour. It doesn't take a week to have a three-four day tour here like it would in Alaska."
The cost includes an hour-long safety orientation, walkie-talkie, backpack, beacon, probe, shovel and guide service.
"What makes it different is that we're tailoring the experience to what guests want," Lauterjung said. "We're offering intimate private untouched terrain, exclusive to a group of friends to make it as memorable as possible."
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