2018 Winter Semester Program

PART I: Preparation at Base Camp

Our journey begins in January at Kroka village. We live on a farm and homestead at the edge of the wilderness, participating in the life of community while preparing for a four-month long wilderness expedition. The training includes nordic, backcountry and telemark skiing, ice-skating, ice climbing, and strengthening and conditioning. We sew and construct several essential pieces of equipment, make knives and practice navigation. Each student chooses a key expedition team assignment, or “Big Job.”

Semester Team

PART II: Winter Expedition

Leg 1: Vermont's Green Mountains

In early February, we depart on a two-week training expedition in the Green Mountains with a focus on winter wilderness skills. Traveling on skis and snowshoes, we learn winter camp setup complete with a student-made canvas tent, portable woodstove and evergreen bough floor. We develop an appreciation for winter, learn how our bodies respond to cold and practice traditional, indigenous and modern winter living techniques in order to not just survive, but thrive, in a winter wonderland!

Leg 2: The Chic-Choc Mountains

We are now ready to head north. Our destination is the Chic-Choc Mountains, the furthest northern reach of the Appalachian chain on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. Here in the vast wilderness of Park National de la Gaspesie we will undertake a 100 kilometer traverse of the park on skis, spending our nights in the warmth of the mountain huts. Traveling light, we will focus on becoming competent backcountry skiers as we carve turns in the mountain terrain below and above the tree line. The Chic Chocs receive more snow than anywhere else in Eastern North America!

Leg 3: The Uapishka Mountains

By the middle of March, we have learned how to comfortably live in, and travel through, the winter wilderness. Temperatures have moderated and we are ready to put our skills and our community to the test on a final winter expedition in the Uapishka (White in Innu, first nation language) Mountains on the Quebec/Labrador border. Crossing the Gulf of St. Lawrence on an ice-breaker ferry, we will head toward a magical place where the boreal forest gives way to the arctic tundra. Here we will traverse the massif on a self-sustaining ski mountaineering expedition experiencing life of the far north where snow depths routinely exceed 15 feet and winter extends well into May.