This stunning property is an exclusive-use mountain chalet sitting on a 6,000ft ridge in Alaska’s Denali National Park and is one of the world’s most remote places to stay.
Perched on a ‘nunatak’ (a rock outcropping from a glacier) on a 5 acre ridge above the Don Sheldon Amphitheatre on the flanks of North America’s highest mountain, Denali, this chalet takes remote travel to another level.
Providing ultimate seclusion, there are no roads, railways, and the closest town of Talkeetna is 55 air miles away. As a result, the only way to access the chalet is by private helicopter which is exclusively offered by the family that owns this place - the only people permitted to land in the Denali National Park.
The Chalet is a true masterpiece that was once a vision held by its legendary creator, In 1938, Colorado-born Don arrived in Talkeetna at the age of 17, keen to diversify his prospects beyond farming. Don soon trained to become a pilot and later served during World War II as a tail gunner). During his time in the forces, he survived two plane crashes and selflessly volunteered to fly extra missions to come to the aid of his fellow crewmates. Awarded for his acts of heroism and bravery, he returned to Alaska and launched the Talkeetna Air Service, which became the most versatile bush-pilot operation in the whole of Alaska. However, Don had a bigger dream.
With an ambition to put Denali on the map, Don and a renowned explorer, set out on a ten-year odyssey to explore the vast Alaskan mountains. The pair discovered what is now known as an impressive, solitary nunatak that outcropped its surroundings. Don embraced its potential and secured a land patent for what is today the foundation stone of this Chalet.
In 1966, the 200 square foot Mountain House was built in this astounding amphitheatre by Don and his wife, to provide respite for climbers exploring the valley. A prototype for the larger Chalet, it became a basecamp for keen explorers, hikers, and skiers. The hexagonal structure was and still is a piece of architectural innovation, built by strapping the wood and steel materials to the side of Don’s specialty aircraft.
The Chalet was then later built between 2015 and 2018, after the family found Don’s original construction plans to build his dream chalet before he unexpectedly passed away in the 1975 Honouring Don’s dreams, his son , daughter, and daughter-in-law brought the Chalet to life. Three generations later, today the chalet is managed by the family who each help to carefully curate every guest’s stay.
Prior to the Chalet, the only way to experience Denali overnight was as a climber, sleeping in a light fabric tent. Never before has anyone been able to experience the majestic setting of Denali National Park whilst being enveloped in pure luxury.
Located on five private acres (the only privately owned land in Denali), the chalet runs largely on a combination of solar and generator energy created and stored for use in a new green technology known as super capicators. Designed to emulate the Mountain House, the clever hexagonal structure means it is able to deflect the strong Alaskan winds, whilst providing ultimate insulation and warmth. Heated by a wood-fired masonry heater, combined with its specialised insulative exterior envelope system, the Chalet offsets its low diesel consumption via a high-efficiency turbine generator.
The five-bedroom chalet accommodates just ten guests at a time on an exclusive-use basis, and provides a truly intimate, one-of-a-kind experience for travellers, with each room providing spectacular views of the Denali mountains. The chalet has a sauna located beneath its helipad, a central wood-burning stove in the living area, and a balcony providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding slopes.
Unsurprisingly, there is no wi-fi at the chalet, meaning guests are truly disconnected from the outside world; left to immerse themselves in the natural outstanding beauty that surrounds them.
The wonder of a stay begins on the private helicopter flight over the valley, when guests can marvel at the beautiful wildlife that roams beneath them in the Denali National Park, including moose, bears, caribou and coyote. Once landed, guests are greeted with a specially prepared Alaskan seafood extravaganza, paired with Champagne.
After the first cosy evening in the chalet, the true adventure begins. The day starts with a gourmet breakfast cooked by one of the chalet’s resident chefs (there are two chefs who alternate) who create delectable dishes using locally sourced Alaskan ingredients and tailor bespoke menus for every individual guest.
After a delicious start to the day, guests embark on a series of incredible experiences to explore the surrounding slopes. All guests are given a glacier training course to ensure they are fully prepared to encounter the wonders of the national park.
From March to June, the Amphitheatre becomes a skiing paradise, with endless untouched powder to enjoy. Glacier guides lead guests through the vast terrain via backcountry skiing, glacier mountaineering and summit climbing. Other unique, once-in-a-lifetime activities that are exclusive to chalet guests include full-moon glacier trails, gourmet glacier picnics, ice climbing and meteor shower gazing. Sheldon Chalet truly is beyond anything guests have ever known.
Guests staying at the family-run Chalet also have one of the highest chances to witness the Northern Lights in the entire world. Also known as the ‘aurora borealis’, Chalet guests can experience this phenomenon during the long Alaskan winter nights when there are just four hours of daylight, and the lights illuminate the hundreds of peaks surrounding the chalet.