Winterers' Gathering & Arctic Film Fest 2023
2023's Winterers' Gathering saw warm, sunny days and crisp clear nights. From a joy-filled contra dance to fascinating speakers to films that left us in awe, we were amazed to see the outpouring of creativity and community on campus.
Thank you to each and every one of you who participated in this year's Winterers' Gathering & Arctic Film Festival—we hope the films, community, and conversation inspired you as we begin the journey into winter. Mark your calendars for next year's Winterers' Gathering: Nov 22nd – 24th, 2024.
If you couldn't join us on campus, get your dose of preparation for winter by streaming the films selected for the Arctic Film Festival that are freely available online and checking out the recording of Tim Cahill's Talk on 50 Years of Adventure Travel.
Celebrate the crafts, customs, and stories that have been inspired by winter at the Winterers’ Gathering & Arctic Film Festival! Featuring winter-centric coursework, a winter tent camp, gear sale, film festival, speakers, and more, this is a classic event to welcome the start of the chilliest season.
This year's featured speaker is Tim Cahill. His talk 50 Years of Adventure Travel will chronicle his life as the least competent adventurer of his generation. From his seminal role in founding Outside Magazine to his recently reported “death” in the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, Cahill delights in telling odd and offbeat stories. Join us in the Red Building and online Saturday, November 18 at 7pm.
From baking cornbread to setting up campus, join us to usher in the cozy season. Read the all about this year's Volunteer Opportunities and then Sign Up Here. See other year-round opportunities to volunteer here.
Writer Tim Cahill delights in telling odd and offbeat stories. He joins North House for an evening lecture to recount tales from his career of adventuring.
Arctic Film Festival
Friday – Sunday
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
Backcountry skis to winter canvas tents. Ice skates to kites. Winter boots to down jackets. Bring your outdoor equipment to sell or snag a great bargain.
Friday Evening Welcome
Join other "Winterers" on the commons to roast your dinner over the firepit, delight in a series of Arctic Short Films projected outdoors, and follow up with a poetry slam and/or contra dance.
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.
Arctic Awe | Rekindling a Sense of Wonder in Canada's High Arctic with Pascale Morceau
Friday, November 17, 11am
A 7-week ski journey where the goal was simply to be; erasing competitiveness and falling in sync with nature. From polar bear encounters, crevassed glaciers, and breaking through thin ice… we had no choice but to accept and find ease in things that are otherwise difficult. Discovering how adaptable and resilient we humans truly are and rethinking how we see the world and our place within it.
Bois Forte Heritage Center and the Bois Forte Native Names Map with Jaylen Strong
Friday, November 17, 2pm
The Bois Forte Heritage Center & Cultural Museum, located on the shores of Lake Vermilion, is owned and operated by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and is dedicated to telling the Bois Forte Ojibwe story. Heritage Center Director and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Jaylen Strong will speak about the Heritage Center and the region's indigenous cultural legacy. An important piece of this legacy is language, and through a new Bois Forte Native Names Map created by the Bois Forte Band and the Ely Folk School, original Ojibwe placenames and meanings of over 100 sites in the Lake Vermilion area are illustrated, restoring an invaluable piece of history and heritage.
Cold Water Adventures with Chris Bandy
Saturday, November 18, 9am
Chris has spent most of his life paddling sea kayaks in wondrous waters on this planet from Lake Superior to the South China Sea to the North Atlantic in Iceland and Greenland well above the Arctic Circle. Chris also serves the United States Coast Guard assisting in search and rescue on Lake Superior. He is also the site supervisor here at North House for the new Welcome Center project.
Come listen to his tales of life on cold northern waters.
Arctic Bound with Sarah Lakosky and Amy Varsek
Saturday, November 18 - Noon
In winter 2004, four female Outward Bound instructors traveled 98 days across the Canadian Barrens. Hear tales of their dogsledding and skiing adventures and view images captured along their route. Featuring Grand Marais native Sarah Lakosky and one of her teammates and friend, Duluthian Amy Varsek.
Skill Share Demonstrations
These short intensive sessions focus on particularly handy skills. Dress for a partially heated environment. Free to attend in the Blacksmith Shop.
Click the triangle to see each skill share description.
Friday 1pm: Handmade Shoes: Lasted Bootmaking - Alex Blust
Boots are essential footwear and most people know very little about how they're made! Learn about how layers of leather come together to make these mysterious shrouds. Terminology, pattern making, basic tools and different construction methods will be discussed!
Friday 2pm: Tale of Two Coffees with Josh Lindstrom of Fika Coffee - Josh Lindstrom
Come and share a good ol fashion fika with us while we share a little bit of our story and answer your coffee related questions!
Friday 3pm: Shrink Boxes by Hand - Paul Linden
Check out a demonstration of the tools and techniques used in making shrink boxes (Krympburkar) by hand.
Friday 4pm: Table-Top Workbench Tips & Tricks - Emma Mathews-Lingen
Learn how Emma made a table-top work-holding station that is portable and customizable. Get inspired to plan your own project, whether you are new to woodworking or looking to simplify your set up.
Saturday 11am: Meet the Plow Truck - Matt Nesheim
Come have a up close encounter with a denizen of the North more common than a moose: the tandem axle plow truck. Loaded with 10 yards of salted sand, these 30-ton beasts of burden are equipped with hydraulic wings and blades to keep 300 miles of wilderness county roads open year-round. Hop up in the cab and check out the view from behind the wheel in this interactive show and tell.
Saturday 1pm: Felted Balls for Decorating - Susan Ferguson
Here's a fun project for kids of all ages: learn to make felted balls with a little wool, water, and effort. Perfect for this season of decorating!
Saturday 2pm: Flurry of Faux Snow - Learn to Cut Paper Snowflakes - Libby Larson
Join Libby, North House's Grants Manager, to take your snowflake snipping skills a cut above the rest! Paper and scissors will be provided in this activity for all ages.
Saturday 3pm: Basics of Hand-Sewn Leather Work - Mazzy Flynn
Learn the basics of hand-sewn leather work: how to sew, wet molding, setting rivets, cutting and patterning pieces, and the tools you'll need to get started with leather.
Saturday 4pm: Trout Through Ice - Lindy Lee
Leave your sparkly bass boat at home. This session is all about a minimalist approach to wilderness lake and stream trout fishing. Lindsay has been pursuing wilderness trout on camping trips for the last 30 years and may have a useful trick or two up his sleeve.
Sunday 10am: Sweater Mending - Caroline/Liz
If your favorite sweater or woolen good has unwanted ventilation (ahem, a hole), it's probably fixable. Bring it down for advice and if you're lucky, a little help and supplies that will make those holes a distant memory.
Sunday 11am: Repairing Canvas with Hand Stitching - Ben Byron
Learn how to fix holes and rips in big canvas items without the need for a machine.
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 film screenings are free and held in the Blue Building.
Click the triangle to see each film description.
Friday, November 17
9:30am – Musher (70 min, Anuradha Rana & Laurie Little, 2022)Musher follows four women mushers and their sled dogs over the course of an exhilarating year as they prepare to compete at the annual Copperdog 80/150 Race held in March in the upper peninsula of Michigan. From the youngest, Kelsey Beaber, who just participated in her first race, to Blair Braverman, a published author who writes about her experiences, Alex LaPlante whose day job as a vet is a perfect foil to her hobby, and Martha Schouweiler, who climbs a 30-foot rope as part of her daily regimen, the film explores how women influence this sport. Language: English
Noon – AMKA (40 min, Eva Capozzola, 2023) and and Q&A with Lonnie Dupre
In 2001, Polar Explorer, Lonnie Dupre and his partner John Hoelscher circumnavigated Greenland. It took them five years to complete the project, traveling the northern half by dog-team and the southern half by kayak. A circumnavigation of Greenland had never been completed before and has not been repeated since. In 2022, Lonnie returned to Greenland for the first time since his circumnavigation. His aim - to assemble a dog team, train them and travel with them, alongside Inuit hunters throughout northwest Greenland. AMKA, meaning “one with a friendly spirit” in Inuktun, is the story of this return to Greenland.
This 40 minute film looks into the relationship and connection between Polar Explorers, Inuit Hunters and the Greenlandic Sled Dog. The focus of this story is not a final destination or successful completion of a specific objective on a map. Instead, it endeavors to illuminate how traveling in the Arctic by dog team is a deeply connecting force, no matter what culture or country one started from. AMKA shares the profound and lasting impact such experiences have on a person’s soul and celebrates the integrity of a culture amidst change.
Language: English Film content advisory: Brief hunting/slaughter scenes.
Immediately following the film showing join Lonnie Dupre for a Q&A This film and Q&A will also happen Saturday, November 18 at 1:30pm
3pm – Black Ice (45 min, Malik Martin, Rob Jackson, Austin Schmitz, 2020)
Since 2017, Memphis Rox climbing gym has brought the camaraderie of climbing to a Memphis inner-city neighborhood. In the winter of 2020, legendary climber Conrad Anker invited a crew from Memphis Rox to tackle ice climbing outside Bozeman, Montana. For some of the Black climbers, including filmmaker Malik Martin, the expedition was their first trip outside Memphis. The restorative values of outdoor recreation have never been so needed as they are today—a subject Black Ice addresses head on.
Language: English Content Advisory: Mature themes, language
4pm – Apayauq (16 min, Zeppelin Zeerip, 2023)
Apayauq follows Inupiaq dog musher Apayauq Reitan as she becomes the first out trans woman to complete the Iditarod, a 1,000 mile sled dog race across some of the toughest and most inhospitable terrain in Alaska. Along the way Apayauq reflects on the challenges she has faced coming out as trans, her journey to doing so, and what it means to complete the Iditarod as a woman. In an era when countless attacks are being launched against trans people nationwide, Apayauq works to create further empathy and understanding.
Language: English Content Advisory: Mature themes, some strong language
4:30pm – Beyond the Summit (33 min, Natasha Mynhier and Nate Luebbe, 2022)
After becoming the first person to ski the Seven Summits, team athlete Kit DesLauriers found herself searching for purpose beyond herself. And through an epic adventure of athleticism, survival, and conservation, she found it. Beyond the Summit explores her two weeks of traversing the arctic on skis, telling the story of a diminishing snowpack in one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the world—the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
9pm – The Fight for Greenland (98 min, Kenneth Sorento, 2020)
The Fight for Greenland offers a unique insight into the heated debate about independence, language, and identity that rages in modern-day Greenland. What does the future hold for Greenland? Should Greenland become a sovereign state or on the contrary strengthen its ties to Denmark? The film follows four strong-willed and dynamic young Greenlanders that disagree on which direction their country should follow, but all are fighting for a better Greenland.
Languages: English, Greenlandic and Danish with English subtitles Content Advisory: Mature themes including suicide, language
Saturday, November 18
10:50am – Radji (63 min, Georg Götmark & John Erling Utsi, 2021)
In northernmost Sweden and Norway, a conflict over land and borders seems insoluble. Simon and Beatrice Marainen and their three kids belong to an indigenous Sami semi-nomadic community of reindeer herders that has traditionally moved freely across northern Scandinavia following the natural movement of their herds. But nationalism, bureaucracy and politics threaten this traditional way of life.
Languages: Sámi, Norwegian, and Swedish with English subtitles
1:30pm – Film AMKA (40 min, Eva Capozzola, 2023) and Q&A with Lonnie Dupre
In 2001, Polar Explorer, Lonnie Dupre and his partner John Hoelscher circumnavigated Greenland. It took them five years to complete the project, traveling the northern half by dog-team and the southern half by kayak. A circumnavigation of Greenland had never been completed before and has not been repeated since.
In 2022, Lonnie returned to Greenland for the first time since his circumnavigation. His aim - to assemble a dog team, train them and travel with them, alongside Inuit hunters throughout northwest Greenland. AMKA, meaning “one with a friendly spirit” in Inuktun, is the story of this return to Greenland. This 40 minute film looks into the relationship and connection between Polar Explorers, Inuit Hunters and the Greenlandic Sled Dog. The focus of this story is not a final destination or successful completion of a specific objective on a map. Instead, it endeavors to illuminate how traveling in the Arctic by dog team is a deeply connecting force, no matter what culture or country one started from. AMKA shares the profound and lasting impact such experiences have on a person’s soul and celebrates the integrity of a culture amidst change.
Film content advisory: Brief hunting/slaughter scenes
Immediately following the film showing join Lonnie Dupre for a Q&A
3pm – Film Northern Nights, Starry Skies (57 min, Bob Foucault, 2022) and Q&A with Caroline Torkildson and Mark Morgen
Northern Nights, Starry Skies is a visually stunning celebration of our spectacular starry skies above the world’s largest designated Dark Sky Sanctuary. Ojibwe, Dakota cultural astronomers and other experts share the wonders of the heavens. The documentary, which was co-produced with Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education, also illuminates ways we can reduce the negative impacts of light pollution.
Immediately following the film, join Caroline Torkildson, dark sky advocate, for a Q&A
9pm – Full Circle (100 min, Josh Berman, 2023)
Full Circle is an unblinking examination of the challenges of Spinal Cord Injury, and a celebration of the growth that such tragedy can catalyze.
The film follows Trevor on a path towards post-traumatic growth in parallel with Barry, 50 years later. Their stories mirror each other, connected through time and space by common locations and motifs; injuries in the Colorado backcountry, rehab at Craig Hospital, fame in Jackson Hole; but also through their shared resiliency and refusal to let their zeal for life be limited by their injuries.
Barry shows that growth after spinal cord injury is possible for everyone, not just adaptive athletes. And yet his legacy paves the way for Trevor’s superhuman feats.
Six years after his accident, Trevor returns to the site of his accident in the Colorado backcountry with the goal of landing the world’s first double backflip on a sit-ski—the culmination of his own personal growth and reinvention.
Content Advisory: Mature themes, language
Sunday, November 19
9am – Handgames in the Delta (27 min, Taylor J. Smith, 2023)
A group of Indigenous Handgames players based in the Yukon travelled to four separate communities in the Delta region of the Northwest Territories (Inuvik, Aklavik, Fort McPherson and Tsiigehtchic) teaching Handgames to citizens. In addition to the history and culture being taught, selflessness and humility were major lessons in this ancient game. In the end, each community submitted a team to a Delta-wide tournament in Inuvik.
9:35am – With the Tide (26 min, Chelsea Jolly, Ryan Cortes Perez, 2023)
Set in the remote village of Yakutat, Alaska, With the Tide follows Tlingit youth as they explore their relationship to the ocean, themselves, and the expanse of isolated wilderness they call home. The story documents the formation and growth of the Yakutat Surf Club and explores how surfing can increase wellness and encourage valuing nature in a community that is constantly facing layers of adversity and the challenges of geographic isolation.
10:15am – Abaznoda (Basket) (11 min, Charlotte Gauthier-Nolett, 2022)
Charlotte is a young Abenaki artist who makes baskets from black ash. She carries on her shoulders the heritage of all the generations that preceded her, which pushes her to surpass herself in her passion for basketry. Abaznoda means “basket” in the Abenaki language.
Language: French with English subtitles
10:25am – This is Who I Am (12 min, Manual Ibanez, 2017)
A young Anishinaabe woman struggles with her identity in the big city. Though at first she finds it difficult to express herself, after a short series of events she realizes that she can still be Native while in a city. In fact, itʼs her responsibility to herself, her ancestors, and Creation. With this realization, she finds her strength.
Languages: English and Anishinaabemowin with English subtitles.
10:45am – Ice Breakers (15 min, Sandamini Rankaduwa, 2019)
Josh Crooks is a promising teen hockey star in a sport where Black players like him are chronically underrepresented. Ice Breakers reveals the buried history of a pioneering Black hockey league in Atlantic Canada, as Crooks discovers that his unshakable passion is tied to a rich and remarkable heritage.
11:15am – The Colour of Ink (105 min, Brian D. Johnson, 2022)
The Colour of Ink uncovers the medium’s mystery and power through the eyes of Jason Logan, a visionary Toronto inkmaker. Working with ingredients foraged in the wild—weeds, berries, bark, flowers, rocks, rust—he makes ink from just about anything. Jason sends custom-made inks to an eclectic range of artists around the world, from a New Yorker cartoonist to a Japanese calligrapher. As the inks take on a life of their own, his playful alchemy paints a story of color that reconnects us to the earth and returns us to a childlike sense of wonder.
1:15pm – Historjá - Stitches for Sapmí (88 min, Thomas Jackson, 2022)
Historjá is a poetic and strikingly told story of world renowned Sami artist Britta Marakatt-Labba. Her art describes the Sami culture, today and historically, and the reindeer husbandry threatened by the global climate crisis. For decades she has woven together the indigenous Sámi peoples’ political struggles and magical mythological world-view in her large-scale embroidered art. Now she, her family, and her people face an existential battle as climate change threatens their traditional way of life as reindeer herders on the Arctic tundra.
Language: Swedish and Sámi, English subtitles
Some of these great films are available to view online for free:
Hard Hat Tours
Join us for a tour of the construction efforts during Winterers’ Gathering to get a first glimpse of the new space! Join Greg Wright and Tom Morse Friday, November 17 at 5pm or Saturday, November 18 at 11am. Group sizes will be limited to ensure there is time for questions and conversations. We look forward to seeing you there. Sign up here to save your spot.
Harborside Winter 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: The Grand Marais Recreation Area is right next door to campus and is the place to pick a spot and register. Plenty of sites are available on a first come/first served basis, and they do not take reservations. The Park Office is open Monday - Friday / 8 am - 4 pm. There is also a night drop box if you arrive on the weekend. Campsites cost $10 rustic/night or $20 electric/night. Wood bundles, potable water and porti-poti onsite. Hot showers and more at the local YMCA.
Friday, November 17
Artisan Development Open Studio
Drop by the Artisan Development Program studios to meet our Resident Artisans Tara Austin, Caroline Feyling, Liz O'Brien, and Mary Tripoli 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
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. The fire will be ready by 5:30 and beginning at 6pm, we’ll enjoy a selection of winter short films. Bundle up!
Snowshoe Shuffle Traditional Community Contra Dance
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.
Cold Snap Poetry Slam
Cold Snap Poetry Slam is a friendly celebration of the spoken word and the glories of the frozen North! Join in the fun at 8pm 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!
Register to present a poem here: Poetry Slam Registration form
Saturday, November 18
The Great Gear & Ski Sale
9:30am check-in, 10:30am sale start
Bring your outdoor equipment to sell or get in on some great bargains & buy. Registration forms to sell your gear can be downloaded, prepared, and brought to campus with you and your gear at 9:30am. Backcountry skis to winter canvas tents. Ice skates to kites. Winter boots to down jackets. All are welcome.
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
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 enjoyed in the company of other hearty winterers. Hot chili (your choice: vegetarian or meat) is cooked up in the kettle and enjoyed in the company of other hearty winterers. $10/person paid at the door/ Kids 8 and under eat free. Blue Building.
50 Years of Adventure Travel, Tim Cahill
Saturday at 7pm, in the Red Building and online
On the eve of his 80th birthday, outdoor writer Tim Cahill will chronicle his life as the least competent adventurer of his generation. “I've exhibited legendary incompetence,” he insists. From his seminal role in founding Outside Magazine to his recently reported “death” in the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, Cahill delights in telling odd and offbeat stories.
The featured speaker presentation will be live streamed. Click here to register for the live stream.
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9am to 4pm