Workshops and Seminars



Snowshoe Lacing- Workshop
with Jackson Harren & Greg Wilcox

The 2023 winter camping snowshoe lacing class is on and will start on Friday October 21 at 9 am in the main hall. To reserve a spot in the class call 218-242-3234
Cost this year for registered WCS attendees is $140.00  We will need to know size and style of snowshoe kit.  Bindings will be available for purchase at the event.  Sign up here - 

Solo Back-country Winter Camping and Trekking

With Pete Brautigam

A one hour presentation on how to prepare for a solo winter trip. We will discuss gear, route selection, safety and key points to ensure the trip is a success. 


Winter Photography 

with Mark Morgen

What do you do when the fish aren't biting, and you are surrounded by miles of wilderness?  Why, pull out that camera and start taking pictures!  Winter photography can be challenging, humbling, exciting, and great fun.  Operating a camera system in the winter can be very frustrating, but you can learn the tricks of the trade on keeping warm, keeping your gear functioning, and taking great photographs during that epic winter camping adventure, or around home. 

Tarp Rigging Demo

With Dan Cooke

Does your rain-fly flap in the wind?  Have you ever wanted to leave the tent behind and sleep in a tarp shelter?  Dan Cooke, of Cooke Custom Sewing, will show a variety of ways you can utilize a tarp to better enjoy your wilderness adventure.  He’ll demonstrate various rigging methods, suggest some creative ideas to common challenges and show the best knots for setting up a storm proof shelter for winter or summer.

Carving Class

With Roger Pilsner

Roger Pilsner’s Carving Class

Woodworking in the Hanson Building – all day Friday and all day Saturday, come and go as you please.

Let’s try a bit of a new approach, Spoon carving went well but needed some changes, chair making was too much given the time and tools. How about Chip carving and carving tools. I will bring spoon blanks as before, but let’s pursue embellishing them since you are all experts on making spoons. In addition to the normal carving tools, I will bring a selection of simple chip carving knives made from bandsaw blades. They will need sharpening frequently, which gives us a chance to practice some new sharpening skills. If you bring tools, beware of pocket knives that do not lock. Also try to avoid stainless steel blades if possible. Actually, simple X-acto craft knives work pretty well. Any short, thin, sharp blade with work.

No time schedule, come and go at your leisure. No charge for materials. Please bring a camera and take pictures. Ideas and suggestions are really needed. What else can we make???

Cost:   Free, donations, refreshments, take pictures

Time:  All day Friday and Saturday. Come and go as you please.

Where:  In the Hanson Lodge, by the fireplace.

Questions:  Contact Roger Pilsner, 715-428-2329 or 

Antler Handle Knife - Workshop   
Warren Peterson

Making an Antler Handle Knife Participants will learn to assemble a small blade into an antler handle as well as stitch together a sheath that will hang around the neck and will be provided information on sources for knife blades, leather, and tools required to make knives on their own. All materials are provided by the instructor. Cost is $50.00 per person. Contact Warren prior to Symposium if interested in taking this workshop. Warren M. Peterson, cell # 715-314-0797, email: 

 Screen Print Class
With Leigh and Amy Hunter

Are you tired of mass produced, corporate controlled, elitist trophy t-shirts? Well here’s your chance to screen print like an amature, and impress your friends! We are excited to unveil our unique, and exclusive Winter Camping themed t-shirt design, that you can print on a shirt you bring from home. We’ll have a short presentation on the process, and then get busy making fabric memories.

Come join us for a fun workshop, and leave with the satisfaction of making something that you can someday throw in a laundry hamper. I know what you all must be thinking right now, but no, there will be no charge for this workshop. We are, however, suggesting a $5 donation to cover paint costs (kids print for free). You can drop off your shirt, and we’ll print it for you, if you're busy attending a class with actual camping content!

Each participant needs to bring;

100% cotton T-shirt/Hoodie (cotton blend will work) any color. 

A willingness to have fun.

Patience to wait for paint to dry.


The BWCA: Three Favorite Winter Routes  
Pam Wright

A wilderness guide shares three of her favorite winter routs in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. She'll also be sharing some favorite day-trips too. Included is an interactive presentation of photos and videos.

Tales from the Trail: Adventures of a Wilderness Guide 
Pam Wright

With over 25 years of exploring wilderness areas, Pam will share some of the highs and lows of her hob as a wilderness guide. Her adventures include guiding people on winter camping trips as well as summer canoe trips.

Forging Demos by SUBTLE FORGE

Paige and Jamiah will be back as vendors, but will also be running forge demos all weekend. 

Traditionally knife makers would work together allowing each maker to perfect their craft. The smith would forge the blade and then pass it on to the handle maker and then on to the sheath sewer, this was not always the case but it was a very effective system. While Jamiah does follow the more modern approach of making the entire knife he also participates in the old tradition with fellow knife maker and close friend Paige May over at Wilderness Effects. Jamiah forges and grinds the blades and then Paige finishes the process by creating excellent traditional scandinavian style handles and sheaths. 

Pull Your Own Weight; Toboggan 101:  
With Ryan Fox

If you are thinking about moving your Winter Camping experience to the backcountry and want to start pulling a toboggan or pulke, this is the class for you. Ryan will discuss methods, equipment, loading, physical challenges, training, and many other topics. Question and Answer segment at the end of the presentation. 

Winter Camping 101
With Joe Stromski

This class will explore techniques to make a beginner's first forays into the field a bit smoother. A wide ranging discussion about how to execute a typical novice weekend trip. While aimed at newbies, even old hands may find something new and useful. 

Sunrise Hike
With Pam Wright

Join wilderness guide, Pam Wright on a casual morning hike. We'll explore the woodlands around Sturgeon Lake, pausing to enjoy the late autumnal beauty. 

Approx. 1 hr long, great for all ages. Please wear comfortable shoes and bright colors. 

Camp Cooking Fuels & Stoves  
With Pete Brautigam

Iso-butane, white gas, propane, wood, etc. Follow me for a one hour deep dive into the various camp fuels and their stoves for when the temperature drops. Many tips and tricks to ensure your gear will work when expected. 

Outfitting for an Expedition at 40 Below:
With Nick Gordon

Join Nick Gordon, lead guide and owner of NOW Outdoors

for a talk on outfitting for a winter expedition. In order to fully embrace the cold and deep snow of the north, he uses specialized equipment both traditional and modern. Nick will share insights on clothing and gear considerations necessary for extended winter excursions. 


UHMW Toboggan Workshop:      
With Nick Gordon

A toboggan is a great tool for hauling the gear necessary for extended treks in deep snow country. Join Nick Gordon of NOW Outdoors to build your very own 8 or 10 foot UHMW toboggan just in time for winter. The satisfaction that comes with building your own gear is great and these premium toboggans are built to last! We will blend modern materials with traditional design to create a means of moving your winter camp with ease. When class is over, these toboggans can be easily rolled up to fit inside your vehicle. This course includes all materials, tools, and hardware. We do invite you to bring a drill if you have one. If you are unable to attend the workshop, we will have some fully assembled toboggans available for purchase as well.

Workshop Cost: (8 Foot $260) (10 Foot $300)

Space is extremely limited. Reserve your spot by emailing us at  

Camp Axe Use and Safety
with Curt Isaacson

A hands on presentation to learn how to use an axe efficiently and safely. Discuss different axes and their purposes.

Tastes Like the Wild    
With Andy Wright

Tastes Like the Wild: Foraging For the Winter Camper

Deepen your wilderness eating experience! In this class you’ll learn about regional wild edibles and how to ID and ethically gather them. We’ll also cover ideas on how to optimize them for winter camp meals… and yeah: There will be [limited] samples—woo hoo! A foraging hike may also follow, conditions permitting.

Let’s talk all things Winter Camping in the BWCA!
 With Earl Swenson

Winters coming fast and you want to be ready! Make this the first year you go or the year you go back!  We’ll talk when to go, where to go, where to camp, travel tips, tips for staying warm and more. Bring your own experiences and share them as well. 


Learn To follow a Bearing Through the Bush With a Compass
With Michael Neiger

This presentation will cover how to use a map and compass, small land navigation course throughout the campground and help check accuracy of your own compass if you have one.

One Log Challenge- learn to start a fire with just One Log.
 With Michael Neiger

This challenge/class is to learn how to start a fire using only one log, bowie knife, baton, magnesium tinder rod, ferro sparking rod and scraper. Please bring safety glasses, and gloves. Everything else is provided.- Adults only. 


Backcountry Winter Angling
With James Bishop

This class is for the back country winter angler looking for lake trout, brook trout, walleye and northern pike. Instructor provides suggestions on where to target these fish on a typical boundary waters lake.  Emphasis too on light weight gear such as rod-reels, tip ups and augers, clothing and other essentials to catch fish and enjoy doing it while on the trail in temps that can range from 40 above to 40 below.  And then a few tips on how to prepare them in camp.

Woodstove Selection and Lighting
 With George Wells

Stove selection is a common question regarding hot tents. There are many tents and stoves on the market, this can be confusing and overwhelming. Please join me in a one hour discussion how to size your stove properly for your tent. I will also talk about the different options on tent lights. 


Wood Stove Design, Operation & Maintenance
With Brian Maruska

Please join me in a one hour presentation on wood stove maintenance and restoration. We will go over tips and tricks to ensure your stove lasts for years. 


Choose your Tent
With Jonah Lottig

Please join me in a one hour presentation on tent selection. We will discuss the different fabrics and types of tents used for winter camping. 


Winter Camping 101 From a Woman's Perspective
With Peta Barrett

This is a class for women of all ages who’ve been thinking about winter camping but just aren’t sure what it’s all about when it comes to female campers. Sounds kind of crazy! Novice or moderately experienced, if you have questions or simply don’t know where to begin, you’ll find some answers and peace of mind in this fun, informative class.


Other Style of Winter Camping
With Jeff Hasse

Do you think that hot tenting is the only way to enjoy winter camping?  Think again!  In this session, we will explore a style of winter camping that doesn't rely on external heat.