Every January, in the thick of the Wisconsin winter, we team up with survival expert and outdoor guide, Greg Weiss up in Cornocopia, WI to learn and play the snow. This is kind of like a winter survival skills course, but don’t worry, we don’t drop anyone off in the woods to survive on their own. It’s a time to learn some primitive skills, bond with likeminded individuals and get back to how you were without all this modern tech.
This would be considered an advanced skills course even though we’re beginning this winter skills course at Level 1. Level 1 means we’ll be sleeping indoors and finding a way to make the best of the daylight hours with skills training. On the last night we’ll have the option of spending the darkness in a snow cave.
WHAT WILL WE DO?
The exact schedule changes a bit based on who is there, but we’ll do the following main things:
Day 1: Travel to the retreat via Duluth, MN. We’ll depart Duluth sometime between 4-8pm Please try to arrive sometime in the afternoon. Debrief and Introductions when we get to base-camp (dependent on when people arrive).
Day 2: Blade work / hatchets. Skills demos. Prep snow shelters. Winter & survival phycology and physiology. Winter dress. Working with edge tools; hatchets & knives. Skill demonstrations, fire building basics and shelters; expedient and longer-term. Knots and ropes.
Day 3: More fire building, signal fires, travel in snow, finish snow cave shelters, winter food, water, and cooking outdoors. Opportunity to sleep outdoors in snow shelters or tents.
Day 4: Overnight stay debrief. Animal tracking, winter teas, and natural history. Finish projects and winter survival kit. (thinking they can go away with a zip-lock bag of fire starter material, knife, cook can/pot for making tea, shelter tarp or emergency blanket, etc. Travel to Duluth. Plan to depart after 1pm from the airport.
WHERE DOES THIS COURSE FIT IN?
Level 1: Earth Skills. Start a fire. Build a snow cave. Know your knots. Travel in winter conditions.
Level 2: We’ll live outside, but you’ll have everything you need. We’ll prepare for what you might need to do in Level 3.
Level 3: You live and breath the wild while on this. You have access to water, but you’ll need to find and make your own shelter and learn to hunt for your own food.
Level 4: You are given warm clothes and a knife. You’ll learn to survive in the winter with nothing else on you.
HOW MUCH IS IT?
The course cost is 500 USD. That will cover everything you need after you get off the plane in Duluth, Minnesota. All you’ll need to do is get flights to and from there or plan to meet us in Cornucopia, WI. We’ll cover lodging and meals while you’re on the course.
IS IT TOO ADVANCED FOR ME?
It’ll probably be the perfect course for you if you’re asking this question. It’s good to be cautious. Here are a couple questions to ask first. Have you ever camped? If no, maybe the winter course isn’t your first option. If, however, you are interested in spending more time outdoors and learning from the experts, this is a fantastic course. Even a seasoned camper or hiker will love this course because you’re getting the expert knowledge from the locals here in Northern Wisconsin. We’ll mix in various bushcraft skills as well. Plus, if you haven’t already taken a level 1 course, you’ll need to it progress to the other levels.
HOW DO I SIGN UP AND COME?
Registration is limited but we’re here to help make it easy for you. Trip logistics are being handled via Greg and Rob. If you’re interested here are the steps you’ll take.
- Email Rob Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you’re interested and to see if there are spots.
- Rob will then send you an invoice via paypal, which you’ll be able to pay online.
- Fill out this release form by Dec 15th. It helps us figure out dietary requirements, makes sure you understand your risk and is our release form.
- Look over the packing list. Greg listed everything you need and a bunch of “good to have” items.
- Book your ticket and let us know when you’re coming.
Want a few quick trip primers?
Try to tie these 5 knots and see how you go.