1995 found a group of Traditional Northern Winter Travelers gathering at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, Vermont. Their idea was to share stories, trip routes, ideas about equipment, trail skills, and northern culture. Their goal is to see old friends, and meet new friends, and have a good time talking about their passion, the North and winter. This was the beginning of the Snow Walkers Rendezvous every November. The event has grown and expanded but maintains a feeling of a comfortable and relaxed group. Presentations and Workshops vary in subject, but all focus on traditional travel and winter. We have "traveled" on weekend winter camping trips all the way to 3 month expeditions in the North.
The weekend is organized by a committee of volunteers who are always scouting for ideas.
For more information or to share your ideas, email us here.
This Year's Snow Walkers Rendezvous was held on November 11-13, 2016.
Thanks to all for making it a successful conference!
You can download the registration form below. Please print the form and mail it to:
Hulbert Outdoor Center
2968 Lake Morey Road,Fairlee, VT 05045
Space is limited; registration will be accepted in order received. Payment must accompany registrations. Sorry, no telephone or email registrations, and we cannot refund for cancellations. Meals must be preordered/ prepaid in this registration.
Click HERE for the 2016 Registration Form.
Schedule - Snow Walkers’ Rendezvous
November 11-13, 2016
Hulbert Outdoor Center, Lake Morey, Fairlee, Vermont
FRIDAY afternoon – wall-tent set up
4:00 - Self Registration - Library
5:00 - Wine & Cheese (BYOLibations)
6:00 - Dinner
7:20 - Welcome - Seth Gibson
7:30 –7:55 - Willem Lange - Readings
8:00 –8: 25 – Leah Titcomb – Forest Cabin Winter Adventures
8:30 – 9:00 – Laura Rietveld – The Making of Okpik’s Dream
9:00 - Music - Snacks - Schmoozing - Stories
7:30 – BREAKFAST
8:25 - WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS
8:30 – 8:55 – Lou Falank – Keeping the Trail Alive
9:00 - 9:25 – Paul Stonehouse - Leave “No” Trace Practices for Traditional Winter Travel
9:30 - 10:00 – Murray Hamlet – Cold Weather Injuries
10:35 -11:00 – Rebecca Finger – The Changing Ecology of Snow and Ice in the Arctic
11:05- 11:30 – David Gilligan –WINTER STORMS Pacific Cyclones and Dreaded Nor'Easters: Dynamics of the Sub-polar Front
11:35 – 11:55 – Door Prizes - Announcements/authors/vendors/workshop descriptions
2:00 - Tour of the Tents
12:30 - 1:30 -LUNCH
1:00 - 2:00 - TAILGATE VENDORS, DISPLAYS, DEMOS, SWAP TABLE,
2:00 -4:30 - PRESENTATIONS & WORKSHOPS
2:00 - 3:00 - FIVE WORKSHOPS - Choose One
1. Dave Brown – Using a Map and Compass - *Please bring your own compass.
2. Garrett Conover: An Introduction to Finnish Style Sauna in N. America
3. Paul Stonehouse: Using online mapping software plan expeditions
4. Ed Blechner: Sled Dogs
5. Film: Okpik’s Dream
3:00-3:30 – BREAK
3:30 - 4:30 – FIVE WORKSHOPS - Choose One
1. Tim Smith: Trail Medicine Below Zero
2. Garrett Conover: An Introduction to Finnish Style Sauna in N. America
3. Lou Falank: Trail Skills for Winter Preparedness
4. Ed Blechner: Sled Dogs
5. Film: Okpik’s Dream
5:00 - 6:00 - Wine & Cheese, (BYOLibations) and YOUR COUNTRY FOOD FOR SHARING!
6:00 - DINNER & door prizes
7:30 - Gather & Last Door Prizes
7:50 – 8:20 – Conor Mihell - The Polar Vortex Inspires a Unique Winter Trip on Lake Superior’s N. Shore
8:25– 9:00 – Elizabeth Bradfield - Toward Antarctica: Ground-Truthing a Dream
9:00 - Closing thoughts - Seth Gibson & Wendy Scott – Snack - Schmooze, Music (bring your fiddle, guitar, voice.)
7:30 - 8:15 - BREAKFAST
8:00 – 10:00 Build Your Own Toboggan – (pre-registered) Woodworking Shop
9:00 – 12:00 Make Your Own Blanket Shirt
9:00 – Film TBD
Click HERE to download the 2016 Schedule.
Presenters - Snow Walkers Rendezvous 2016
Ed Blechner – Ed has been running sled dogs since 1975 and has been giving sled dog presentations for over 35 years. He also ran trips for the public for years but now, as he approaches his 70th birthday, he mostly goes out with the dogs for himself. After going on a ten-day trip to Labrador in 2013 he is planning a return trip next March. He is the Head Track Coach at Middlebury Union High School and lives with his wife Nettie and their Alaskan Huskies in Addison, VT.
Elizabeth Bradfield - Elizabeth is a naturalist and poet. Her collections include Once Removed, Approaching Ice, and Interpretive Work, and her poems often refract and plumb the world of natural history and “exploration.” She teaches in the low-residency MFA program at University of Alaska Anchorage and works on Eco tour expedition ships in the high latitudes, from the Antarctic, to Svalbard, to Baffin Island.
Dave Brown - Dave’s first winter camping experience was in the early 60’s on a Boy Scout overnight along the Gulf Coast of Texas. We had been told that old newspapers provided wonderful insulation from the cold ground. More recent winter travels in Vermont, Ontario, Quebec and Labrador have allowed me to test some better options for sleeping pads.
Geoffrey Burke – Geoffrey Burke has been a builder of all wood boats for over 30 years and is an ardent lover of wilderness travel. He has had extensive experience in hand tool use, expedition canoeing, winter travel and bush craft.
Garrett Conover - Garrett enjoyed a 28-year guiding career as one half of the North Woods Ways team; leading traditional canoe and snowshoe and toboggan trips in Maine, Minnesota, Labrador, and Quebec. Books include: Beyond the Paddle, The Snow Walker’s Companion (co-authored with Alexandra Conover Bennett) and his novella Kristin’s Wilderness has won four awards. In addition to moonlighting at Northwoods Canoe Company making and restoring classic wood and canvas canoes, he worked at Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary, and is currently a craftsman at Sheldon Slate Company.
Louis Falank – Lou Falank is Owner and Operator of Mountain Bear Programs and Guide Service. He currently spends most of his days with his young son gathering food and exploring the world around them. The other days and evenings Lou spends presenting outdoor programs at schools and after school programs in Portland, Maine and beyond.
Rebecca Finger - Rebecca is a PhD student in the Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems and Society Graduate program at Dartmouth College. As an Arctic ecologist, Rebecca has conducted research in both Alaska and Greenland on the effects of climate change on plant and soil communities. Additionally, Rebecca is a Joint Science Education Project Fellow and helps teach a multinational high school science field camp near her field sites in western Greenland. Outside of scholarly pursuits, she is also an avid skier, hiker, traveler and fat biker and is often found playing outside.
Seth Gibson – Seth started leading wilderness trips for Keewaydin in 1967 in Quebec and the Misstissini Lake region and on the George River, and went on to become the Coordinator of their Wilderness Trip Program. In August 2014, after 46 years, he retired from that position. Between summers at Keewaydin, trips to the Hulbert gatherings, the Toronto Van Committee and trips to Ouje Bougoumou (’98, ’99, ’02, ’04, ’06), he works as a chauffeur and bus driver in Middlebury, Vermont. Seth has been the “MC” of the Wilderness Paddlers Gathering and Snow Walkers Rendezvous gatherings at Hulbert since they started.
David Gilligan - David is a professor at Sterling College. He teaches natural history and ecology courses and leads wilderness expeditionary programs is places such as Maritime Coast, Newfoundland, the Sierra Nevada and the American Southwest. He also enjoys writing books, carving knife handles, making music and meditating by the wood stove.
Murray Hamlet - Dr. Hamlet was born in 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He currently resides in Kingston, Massachusetts with his wife, and two sons. He attended Valley City High School in North Dakota and later attended Southern Illinois University, majoring in zoology with a minor in chemistry. He then graduated as a D.V.M. from Washington State University in 1969. That same year he entered the Army as a Captain in the Veterinary Corps, and was assigned to the Arctic Medical Research Laboratory in Alaska, for three years. He came to the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) in 1972 as the Director of the Pathology Division in charge of both pathology research and animal care. With the closure of the Alaska laboratory, cold research was added. Later, he served as the Director of the Research Programs and Operations Division, and is now recently retired. He continues to lecture widely to both military and civilian audiences on cold injury recognition, prevention and treatment. He was recognized as the institutional memory for cold injury and is frequently asked to make contributions to textbooks, publications and training documents.
Will Lange – Will is the guiding spirit of the Geriatric Adventure Society, which, among other things, has been paddling in the Arctic since 1989. He has a particular affinity for rivers of the Barren Lands beyond the tree line, and has bathed (often accidentally) in several.
Brian Manning – Brian is a New York State Guide and Survival Skills Instructor who has trained under such notables as Mors Kochanski, Dr. James Halfpenny, Jim Bruchac and others. He teaches at the Adirondack Folk School and the Maine Primitive Skills School. He was a master instructor an the Pathfinder School. Brian is trained in Search and Rescue navigation and is a Wilderness First Responder.
Conor Mihell - Conor is an award-winning adventure travel and environmental journalist based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He contributes to Sierra, Canadian Geographic, Explore and many other Canadian and U.S. magazines, and serves as an editor-at-large with Canoe & Kayak. An avid canoe tripper and snowshoe and toboggan traveler, Mihell has completed numerous multi-week expeditions in Canada’s far north. He also works as a sea kayak guide in his favorite place, Lake Superior’s north shore.
Laura Rietveld - Laura is a writer, director, filmmaker and recent laureate of the Counsel of Arts and Letters of Quebec Prize for Work of an Emerging Montreal Artist. Her first documentary, Okpik’s Dream, was nominated for Best Documentary Program at the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards, won Grand Prix, Rigoberta Menchú Award at the 2015 Montreal First Peoples Festival, Honorable Mention for the Grand Prize at the 2015 Innsbruck Nature Film Festival in Austria, and continues to screen at festivals and events throughout Canada and internationally. Driven by a deep desire to explore thought-provoking, socially relevant stories, Laura resigned from a successful corporate career in media sales and publishing to become a filmmaker. She holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business, a BA in History from Queens University and frequently speaks about her experiences leaving the corporate world to pursue a creative one.
Tim Smith – Tim is the founder of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School since 1999. He is a registered Maine Guide.
Paul Stonehouse (PhD) - Paul is an Associate Professor of Adventure Education at Green Mountain College in Vermont. He gratefully teaches a mixture of classroom and field-based courses, ranging from environmental philosophy to an Immersion Semester. His research interests, adventures of a different sort, lie in the relationship of moral philosophy and theology to wilderness experience. With his students, he existentially searches for beauty, knowledge, and goodness, while exploring wild and liminal places by foot, ski and canoe.
Leah Titcomb – Leah is a registered Maine Guide who educates youth about the natural world around them. She works with youth in both classroom and wilderness settings, teaching and developing outdoor programs. She received her BA in Outdoor Experiential Education from Prescott College and her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Leah grew up adventuring outside in all seasons, exploring winter wilderness in New England since she was able to put on a snowsuit and strap on snowshoes and skis.
Click HERE to download the presenter bios.
Partial Listing of Speakers and Activities from the last few years:
Louise Abbott, Quebec “Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story”
Alexandra Bennett Conover, Maine “What’s in your Winter Backpack?”
Louis Falank, Maine "Building Life Skills with Kids of all Ages"
Jake Hoeksema, Wisconsin "Winter camping in Quetico"
Ruth Heindel, Vermont “Stories from the Poles: Science and Adventure in Greenland and Antarctica”
John Houston, Nova Scotia “Voices of the Inuit Elders: Filmmaking in the Canadian Arctic”
Kroka, New Hampshire "Kroka Expeditions: 11 Years of the Vermont Semester”
Hugh Stewart, Quebec "Billy Hoare: Snowalking for Jesus and the Canadian Government"
Don Tedstone, Quebec "Winter travel in Les Monts Groulx"
Integrating Wild Harvested Foods
Reconnecting to the World Around Us
Working with Sil-Nylon
Build Your Own Toboggan Workshop