Do you ever wish you knew how to carve your own Inuit-style snow goggles, or construct moosehide and canvas mukluks? Well now's your chance: the North House Folk School is offering their annual and wildly popular Winterer's Gathering and Arctic Film Festival on November 20-23 at their campus in Grand Marais, Minnesota. There will be classes in toboggan building and snowshoe-making, how to craft your own wood stove or felt your own slippers, seminars on winter wilderness travel and living skills, plus fascinating international films about Arctic life.
Why do they call it the Winterer's Gathering? North House Folk School explains:
The Winterers—or Les Hivernants as the early North American Voyageurs referred to them – were brave, experienced individuals who signed on after the summer’s end to work at winter outposts scattered throughout the ‘interior’ of North America. In respect for the skills, traditions and spirit of this devoted group, the annual Winterer’s Gathering happens each year at the North House Folk School campus on the shore of Lake Superior.
This year, the featured guest speaker is Garrett Conover, wilderness adventurer and expedition leader, and author of A Snowwalker's Companion. Coincidentally, Garrett and his wife Alexandra were profiled in National Geographic Traveler in our April 2008 issue, when writer James Conaway picked them to lead him through the Lake Onawa region of Maine as part of his multi-part Walk Into America series. For more information, check out the Gathering's website here. This year, in addition to the workshops, they offer a Snowshoe Shuffle Contra Dance, a Great Gear Swap, and the Deep Freeze Chili Feed.
Photo: North House Folk School