Winterers' Gathering & Arctic Film Fest
Celebrate the crafts, customs, landscape, history and stories of winter travel and traditional life ways in the North. Featuring winter-centric coursework, a winter tent camp, gear swap, film festival, speakers, this is a classic event to welcome the season of white.
The Winterers' Gathering & Arctic Film Festival is a multi-day educational event that celebrates the crafts, customs, landscape, history and stories of winter travel and traditional life ways in the north. Winter travel enthusiasts and northern culture admirers merge on the North House campus for four days of winter travel seminars, courses and workshops complemented by multiple evenings of inspiring thought-provoking international films about arctic life.
Anton Treuer will be the Featured Speaker at this year’s Gathering. His talk, Ojibwe Winter Stories will feature tribal oral traditions, Ojibwe language and lore for the coming season. Join us in the Red Building on Saturday, November 19 at 7:00pm. Anton's talk will also be streamed for those who can't be on campus - advance registration required. (The recording WILL NOT be available after the talk, so join us live if you want to participate in the stream).
Anton Treuer (pronounced troy-er) is a Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 18 books. His equity, education, and cultural work has put him on a path of service around the region, the nation, and the world.
The Winterers' Gathering Event Guide is hot off the printers! Read through it to see what portions of the event you are most interested in.
We need volunteers to cook chili & bake cornbread, serve chili, set up campus and be film fest attendants! Learn more about the volunteer positions here.
Featured Speaker Anton Treuer
Saturday, November 19 at 7:00pm; Free
Ojibwe Winter Stories will fill the Red Building with tribal oral traditions, Ojibwe language and lore for the coming season. Also streaming live as a "Crafting in Place" webinar.
Arctic Film Festival
Friday – Sunday; Free
This one of a kind festival features films from around the globe that visually tell the story of the North.
The Great Gear & Ski Sale
Saturday, 10:30am – 11:30am
Skis, camping equipment, warm clothes looking for new owners. Bring your outdoor equipment to sell and/or get in on great bargains.
Friday – Sunday; Free
Four, 45 minute presentations on meaningful winter-related topics: Winter Weather Forecasting, Polar Life in Northwest Greenland, Why Dark Skies Matter, and Spirit of Fire.
Friday-Sunday; Materials fee may apply, payable at door.
Short intensive sessions focused on learning particularly handy skills take place in various locations on campus.
Harborside Winter Tent Camp
All Weekend; Cost varies; call (800) 998-0959 to register.
Bring your favorite warm weather shelter to pitch in the Grand Marais Rec Park Campground. Participants are invited to be a part of the Winter Tent Tour scheduled on Saturday at 2pm.
Deep Freeze Chili Feed
Saturday 5:30pm; $10 per person, paid at the door
Grab your bowl for this traditional winter favorite: chili & freshly baked cornbread.
3pm - late night; Free
Grab dinner on a stick, tour the ADP artist studios, (contra-)dance the night away, or take part in the Cold Snap Poetry Slam.
Event Seminars are 45 minute presentations that cover a variety of winter-related topics: from camping tips to travelogues, cultural reflections to winter sport secrets, these inspiring talks offer something for everyone and take place throughout the weekend. Held in the Blue Building.
Winter Weather Forecasting Up North with Joe Moore
Friday, November 18, 3pm
Are you ready for winter weather? Meteorologist Joe Moore will discuss winter weather safety, forecasting challenges on the north shore (it's more than just lake effect!), and the products and services the National Weather Service offers to help you stay ahead of the storm. Beyond just the basics, Joe will discuss all different kinds of winter precipitation (sleet, snow, freezing rain), how to find probabilistic snowfall forecasts (what are the odds we see more than 8 inches?), and even how you can help the National Weather Service this winter! Whether you dread our long winters or you find joy in watching the flakes fly, this talk is for everyone who wants to learn more about winter weather forecasting.
Polar Life in Northwest Greenland with Pascale Marceau & Lonnie Dupre
Friday, November 18, 4pm
From January to May 2022, Pascale Marceau and Lonnie Dupre lived amongst the Polar Inuit of Greenland in one of the northernmost communities in the world. From Polar night through to 24hrs of daylight, they experienced an incredible world of snow and ice, a place where life is uniquely challenging and incredibly breathtaking. Together they built a komatik (dog sled), acquired a dog team and trained them to be expedition ready. With local hunters, the team launched on a journey further north. What unfolded was a story of resilience through roadblocks, of optimism despite disappointment, of creative problem solving in the face of a warming planet.
Embrace the Darkness: Why Dark Skies Matter with Caroline Torkildson
Saturday, November 19, 12pm
Caroline Torkildson will give an introduction to why we need to protect the night sky, and how we need to change how we light the night. She will talk about how wasted light, known as light pollution affects everything from humans, to nature and our psyche. She will offer simple solutions we all can do at home to create healthier and safer lighting. Torkildson is an amateur astronomer and board member of Starry Skies North, the Minnesota Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association works to protect the night sky for present and future generations. She has lived in Cook County for three years and feels fortunate to have three recently designated dark sky places nearby.
Oshkigin: Spirit of Fire with Vern Northrup
Sunday, November 20, 1pm
Join Vern Northrup, a retired wildland firefighter and elder of the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe to learn how Anishinaabe and other indigenous peoples have used fire to shape the land for millenia. Vern will share his experiences using fire as a tool and discuss how traditional knowledge that has been too long dismissed can help us better care for the boreal forest.
Skill Share Demonstrations
These short intensive sessions focus on particularly handy skills. Dress for a partially heated environment. Free to attend, materials fee occasionally applies, payable at door. Blacksmith Shop.
Friday, November 18
- 1pm: Quilting Bee with Laura Brown: Help tie a community quilt! No experience necessary
- 2pm: Ropework: Short, Long and Eye Splices with Ted Gephart: Learn ropework from one of the best. Ted will cover the short splice, long splice, eye splice and tidy up the end, working with three strand round line.
- 3pm: Darn It!: Mending Sweaters with Christine Novotny: Learn to repair those pesky holes in woolen goods with a few simple tools. $3 materials fee
- 4pm: Helving & Prepping Kolbulle Pans with Paul Linden and Joe Beres: Kolbulle is a traditional Swedish pancake made over the campfire with limited ingredients. Buy the pan in the school store and we will help you to make handle for it and get it all ready for the cook out on Friday evening.
Saturday, November 19
- 1pm: Pack and Gear Mending with Amir Najam: Get advice on how to repair small tears and other malfunctions. If time allows, some repairs may be possible
- 2pm: Cinnamon Rolls in a Dutch Oven with Martha Williams:Delicious, just the right amount of gooey: campfire cinnamon rolls in a Dutch oven are sure to win your heart. Learn Martha's tricks for making sure they turn out perfectly every time.
- 3pm: Saddle Stitch on Leather with Candace LaCosse: Practice this handy stitch on your own card holder. Materials fee of $10 applies
- 4pm: How to Taste Coffee with Fika Coffee: Learn how to brew great coffee at home and how to taste the coffee you make.
Sunday, November 20
- 10am: Calories to Carry You through Winter: Starch Extraction with Eric Edgin: Learn how to extract pure starch from any starchy foods unlocking huge potential with a number of wild foods.
- 11am: Beyond Bannock with Emily Derke: Baking on the winter camp woodstove with simple ingredients and no measuring tools. Cookies are important fuel for cold nights.
Arctic Film Festival
This one of a kind festival features films from around the globe that visually tell the story of the North. Documentaries, features and shorts showcase arctic landscapes, traditional cultures, northern adventures and changing climates. All films screenings are free and held in the Blue Building.
Friday, November 18
10am: This Bountiful Land (97 min, Ásdís Thoroddsen, 2019)
Elín Methúsalemsdóttir and her family, from the old farm Bustarfell, take us through the history of Icelandic food traditions, from the settlement period to the present day. In the beginning, Icelandic cooking was characterized by scarcity, and Icelanders had to be extremely resourceful with the little that nature provided. Now, however, the Icelandic kitchen exists in the modern world, influenced by immigration, food tourism, and global trends in farming and cuisine.
12pm: Built with Love (27 min film, Mike Scholtz, Editor, 2022)
World Premiere! Following the film will be a Q & A with filmmakers and hardanger fiddle performance.
The film follows Pioneer PBS Senior Producer Dana Conroy as she travels north along the coast of Norway to meet some of the last few people still building boats in the old Norwegian tradition. Along the way, Conroy discovers what her own great-great-grandfather gave up when he moved to America for the woman he loved. Learn more about the film and this world premiere event at pioneer.org/builtwithlove
1:30pm: Freshwater (51 min, 2021)
This film is the full-length release of the film featured at AFF as a short last year. Freshwater is a documentary that dives into the cold waters of Lake Superior along Minnesota’s North Shore. Despite the fact that it contains ten percent of Earth’s freshwater, this massive force of nature remains largely unexplored. One group of people, however, is intimately aware of its power. From the surfers who catch its waves to the scientists who study its depths, learn why Lake Superior is a precious resource that should never be taken for granted.
9pm: Woman at War (101 min, Benedikt Erlingsson, 2018)
Halla is a 50-year-old environmental activist who crusades against the local aluminum industry in Iceland. As her actions grow bolder, her life changes in the blink of an eye when she is finally granted permission to adopt a girl from the Ukraine. Content warning: nudity.
Saturday, November 19
9am: Exposure (89 min, Holly Morris, 2022)
As the Arctic polar ice cap melts, reaching the North Pole has become increasingly dangerous. Yet an expedition of ordinary women from the Arab World and the West strap on skis and haul heaving sledges toward true North, against all odds and polar advice. Award-winning filmmaker Holly Morris (The Babushkas of Chernobyl) captures it all, from frostbite and polar bear threats, to sexism and self-doubt in this intimate story of resilience, survival and global citizenry - on what may be the last-ever expedition to the top of the world.
10:30am: Craft in America: HOME episode (55 min, Carol Sauvion, 2022)
The episode is part of the newest season of Craft in America, the Peabody Award-winning documentary series discovering the beauty, significance and relevance of handmade objects and the artists who create them. The idea of Home has taken on heightened importance in recent years. Craft in America’s new episode embraces its many meanings—from the physical structure, to the belongings we cherish, to the meals we share with family and friends. Featuring Syd Carpenter, Helen Drutt, Wharton Esherick, Biskakone Greg Johnson, North House Folk School, and Sim Van der Ryn.
11:30am: Imalirijit (27 min, Vincent L'Hérault and Tim Anaviapik Soucie, 2021)
Tim is a young father living in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. As his grandfather did before, he wants to start his own research to study water quality to benefit its community. Tim embarks on an inspiring journey that will lead to empowerment and cultural revitalization. The experience becomes an awakening for Tim and his team, a wind of change and adaptation for the community challenging the modern reality of the Canadian Arctic.
1:30pm: A Voice for the Wild (19 min, Jesse Roessler, 2022)
Emily Ford and sled dog Diggins attempt to cross the secluded Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in winter during subzero temperatures to raise awareness about copper mining threats.
2pm: Šaamšiǩ - Great Grandmothers Hat (60 min, Anstein Mikkelsen and Harry Johansen, 2021)
For a long, long time, perhaps since the dawn of time, the Pasvik Sami managed their small borderless area in harmony with nature. Then Norway, Russia and Finland divided the area between them. Mining and power plants changed the landscape and the river. On the Norwegian side, the language and culture were almost obliterated. But they never managed to eradicate the East Sami genes. In the film, we follow Venke Tørmænen who wants to learn to sew the Skolt Sami womenś hat her great-grandmother wears in an old picture. “I feel that when I can sew it and put it on my head, the ring is closed. I want the world to know that we exist. We are here and we live here. ”
3:10pm: The Arctics (60 min, Suzanne E. Greening, Naomi Mark, and Marty O'Brien, 2020)
A documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games, The Arctics is a never before seen look at the history and impacts of the Arctic Winter Games, an international biennial multi sport games that has been celebrating circumpolar sport and culture in the North since 1970. This short documentary follows the stories of participants from across the 9 contingents that make up the international competition as they prepare to partake in the 2020 Arctic Winter Games which mark 50 years since first opening in Yellowknife, NWT.
4:15pm: Angakusajaujuq - The Shaman's Apprentice (21 min, Zacharias Kunuk, 2021)
In this stunning animation, a young shaman must face her first test-a trip underground to visit Kannaaluk, The One Below, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill.
9pm: The Alpinist (82 min, Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen, 2021)
Marc-André Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. The free-spirited 23-year-old makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. With no cameras and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure.
Sunday, November 20
9am: Spirit of the Peaks (41 min, Connor Ryan and Tim Kressin, 2021)
Skiing in Ute Territory has always raised questions for Connor about being in reciprocity with the land and its people. As a skier who connects with the land through sport, he empathizes with the injustices that have displaced the Utes and ongoing colonization, erasure and extraction impacting the Ute people. This story connects conflicted pasts to an awakening in cultural awareness that can create an equitable future for Indigenous people and skiers.
10am: Classic (81 min, Dr. Tim Kaminski, 2021)
The documentary Classic spotlights the townspeople of Nenana, Alaska as they prepare for and celebrate the Ice Classic — an annual betting of when the ice will melt. Every year since 1917, Nenana residents come together to pull off the Nenana Ice Classic, a charitable guessing game that challenges any player to predict, at $2.50 a guess, the exact minute the ice on the Tanana River will break up.
11:30am: Stronger Together (20 min, Brandon Watts, 2022)
It has taken time for Alexandera Houchin to weave layers of her identity together. First and foremost, Alexandera is an Ojibwe woman. She’s also an artist, a farmer, a mechanic, a cyclist and a person who cares deeply about her community on the Fond Du Lac reservation near Cloquet, Minnesota. Stronger Together takes an intimate look into Alexandera’s life while examining concepts of identity, forgiveness and what it means to merge seemingly different aspects of your soul in order to continue moving forward, one pedal stroke at a time.
12pm: Into the Dark (28 min, Michael Snyder, 2021)
Battling subzero temperatures and forty-foot seas, a team of scientists embark on a perilous winter expedition into the darkest regions of the Arctic. Their mission: to understand how trace amounts of light may be radically altering the mysterious world of the polar night. What they discover has implications for the global climate and the future of the Arctic.
1pm: Oshkigin: Spirit of Fire (16 min, Tom Deschenes and Andrew Bydlon, 2021)
Following the film will be a discussion with retired firefighter, Fond du Lac elder Vern Northrup.
Not all fire is bad. Increased droughts and longer fire seasons in recent decades have caused more frequent, dangerous, and intense fires across the country. But for thousands of years, Native people used fire to prevent these intense fires, while also using it to cultivate the land, build communities, and preserve natural forests. Current laws preventing controlled burns have changed both the environment of the Upper Midwest and the culture of Native Tribes. Like the fire that rejuvenates the forest, a small group is working to revive this valuable practice. Oshkigin - Spirit of Fire shows the ways that traditional fire uses can reconnect us with the land and preserve the natural world.
Harborside Winter Tent Camp, All Weekend
An opportunity for winter campers to set up their shelter near campus, whether it be a canvas wall tent, an expedition or 4-season nylon-grade tent, or a traditional Mongolian yurt, and share information and ideas about winter camping in the elements of cold weather. Participants are invited to be a part of the Winter Tent Tour scheduled on Saturday at 2pm.
Costs vary; payable to the Grand Marais Rec Park (advance registration required).
Artisan Development Open Studio, Friday, 3pm-5pm
Drop by the Artisan Development Program studios to meet our Resident Artisans, Delaney Keshena, Wesley Hathaway, Nate White and Laura Brown and see some of their current works in progress. The Artisan Development Program is a two-year professional development and residency program for craftspeople through North House. Location: Betsy Bowen Gallery and Studios building, 301 1st Ave W
Open Fire Dinner on a Stick & Outdoor Shorts Film Festival, Friday, 5:30pm
Gather around a bonfire and cook over an open fire as a community. Participants bring their own food; we’ll provide the fire and the pointy sticks. Sausages to steaks, pudgie pies to home fries, it’s all welcome. Beginning at 6:00pm, we’ll enjoy a selection of winter short films.
Snowshoe Shuffle Traditional Community Contra Dance, Friday, 7pm family dance, 8pm community dance
Don your winter wardrobe and warm up at this friendly community contra dance. The dance takes place in the historic timbered woodshop and features Cook County’s own Over the Waterfall.
Cold Snap Poetry Slam, Friday, 8pm
Cold Snap Poetry Slam is a friendly celebration of the spoken word and the glories of the frozen North! Join in the fun by reading one of your own works or any selected seasonal poetry of your choosing. By sharing your favorite hibernal verse, presenters will receive wide recognition as cultural icons, as well as a free bottomless bag of popcorn for the weekend!
The Great Gear & Ski Sale, Saturday, 10:30am – 11:30am
Bring your outdoor equipment to sell or get in on some great bargains & buy. Registration forms to sell your gear are ready. Backcountry skis to winter canvas tents. Ice skates to kites. Winter boots to down jackets. All are welcome.
Registration for items in swap is required, registration forms available online and in-person the morning of the event
Sled Dog Puppy Meet and Greet
11am-1pm, drop in
Join handler Linda Newman of Points Unknown Dog Sledding to meet some furry friends, and get inspired to plan a dogsledding adventure of your own.
Winter Tent Camp Tour
2pm, meet at the Fire Circle
Peek behind the flap of some of the tents set up for the weekend. Hot to cold, yurt to quinsey, there’s always an intriguing variety of cozy habitations on display.
The Deep Freeze Chili Feed, Saturday 5:30pm
Bundle up and grab your bowl for this traditional winter favorite: chili & freshly baked cornbread. Hot chili (your choice: vegetarian or meat) is cooked up in the kettle and ejoyed in the company of other hearty winterers. ($10/person paid at the door) Blue Building
Featured Speaker Talk, 7pm
The Lake Superior region and beyond have been home to the Anishinaabe people for thousands of years, which of course means thousands of winters. Join Featured Speaker Anton Treuer to learn about the oral traditions, Ojibwe language and lore for the coming season. Join us in the Red Building on Saturday, November 19 at 7:00pm or view the lecture from the comfort of your home via North House's "Crafting in Place" effort to be inclusive of watchers far and wide. (There won't be a recording available after the talk, so join us live if you want to participate in the stream).
9am-5pm each day