Emily Ford is an aspiring winter adventurer and thru-hiker based in Duluth, Minnesota. She has completed many thru-hikes in the midwest including the 1,200 mile Ice age trail, which crosses Wisconsin east to west from Potawatomi State Park to St. Croix State Park on the Minnesota border. Also, in the winter of 2022 she completed a solo 180-mile ski route across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Wilderness with her Alaskan Husky, Diggins. With an understanding and drive to show that anyone can adventure and everyone deserves to discover the outdoors, regardless of race, gender identity, or upbringing, she continues to seek adventure and represent the underrepresented in outdoor spaces.
As a child of camp directors, Pam Wright’s early life was steeped in the outdoors of eastern Montana and woodlands of northern Minnesota. For the past 20 years she’s been adventuring and leading others into the BWCAW and other backcountry locations throughout the US and Canada. When she’s not dipping a paddle, she enjoys ultra-running, winter camping and backpacking. She takes joy in introducing everyone to the beauty of the north country, hoping that they too will be caught in the wonder of the wild. She currently works as a guide for Women’s Wilderness Discovery in Ely, MN as well as a volunteer leader for Thrive Women’s Outdoor Adventures, Hudson, WI.
Curt Isaacson is an avid craftsman, trekker and camper from Nebraska. He’s been exploring the outdoors since childhood and developed an early knack for making and modifying his own gear. He especially enjoys promoting the intersection of the oft-forgotten tools of traditional craft and outdoor travel, especially as they relate to winter. Curt has fond memories of growing up working alongside his father in the workshop while learning tending the wood stove at the heart of it. His grandfather Karl immigrated from Kisa, Östergötland County, Sweden, giving Curt a deep appreciation for the culture, tools and lifestyle of Scandinavian peoples. He recently joined the ambassador team for Hults Bruk Axes of Sweden (also in Östergötland County) helping to produce content for their North American social media platforms. You can find them both on Instagram @hultsbruk1697 and @4esttrekker.
Karla 'withak' Iseler
*She started camping as a middle-aged adult and two years later, she started camping at least one night a month (currently on year 7) and exclusively hammock camps *She hosts BACONFEST camping weekend “where bacon is consumed with every meal.” More info: https://bit.ly/baconfestWI *She camps with her rescue cat, Kizme (Kiz-mah) and runs the Facebook group Camping & Hiking with your cat. *Karla’s goal is to camp in every Wisconsin state park. *Her favorite camping foods are anything in a pie iron, dutch oven, and any type of woofum. *She collects a patch from every park she has visited and wears them on her red wool vintage Valeninto cape. *Follow her: https://www.instagram.com/i.am.karla.with.a.k/
Ryan has been on the Winter Camping Symposium Board for the past 10 years. He is a husband, father, and an avid outdoorsman. In the Winter he can usually be found on trail pulling a toboggan, or in a canvas tent, having a staring contest with a wood stove. Ryan has been teaching the Hot Tent 101 course for the past several years as well as a first time toboggan travel class. If you're new to Winter Camping, you don't want to miss these classes.
Greg Wilcox is the co-founder of Country Ways and for the past twenty-five years has brought us the very best in showshoe kits and finished outdoor equipment. Greg will be teaching a seminar on snowshoe lacing and repair.
Michael Neiger lives in Marquette, Michigan, along the south of shore of Lake Superior. Since 1984, he has organized and led 100's of backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, winter-camping, and caving trips and expeditions in the bush between the Upper Great Lakes in Michigan and the Arctic Ocean in Canada.
Co owner of Cooke Custom Sewing. Winter camper for over 40 years . Leading Winter camping trips into the BWCA since 1974. Mostly ski-tarp camping until making sil nylon hot tent in 2008. With CCS has over 30 years experience designing and sewing winter camping and mushing clothing and sled bags.
Scott loves getting outside--no matter the time of year--to explore, enjoy the wild, and test his outdoor skills. He eagerly works to convince others to join in the fun--in hot or cold weather--as he is thoroughly excited to introduce people to the outdoors and the adventure it holds. No stranger to cold weather camping, Scott earned his first "Zero Hero" more than 25 years ago, sleeping in a quinzhee on a frozen lake. An Eagle Scout, he is currently involved in teaching at the BSA's Winter Camping School and Okpik Cold Weather Leader Program, as well as developing and coordinating other advanced outdoor training programs. Scott is also a Registered Maine Guide, and co-owner of Bull Moose Patrol, an outdoor skills and adventure company.
Ben’s full time job is testing, researching, and selling tools and outdoor goods for life in the north woods. He uses hand tools like axes, hand-saws, and knives daily for fishing, hunting, foraging, self reliance, and primitive bushcraft. His goods can be found at Bensbackwoods.com
Jason Gustafson, founder and owner of Lester River Bushcraft (LBR), born and raised in Minnesota; living in Duluth since 1997. While LRB is primarily now known for the 100% wool Boreal shirt, it started with a different intent. I am fascinated with primitive skills and adapting to modern day bushcraft. I’ve trained with Mors Kohanski in the states and on location via Karamat in Edmonton, Canada. I continue to work on expanding my skill base and put those skills to use while camping and hiking year round.
Sydney Tanner and Jim Nosker
Sydney Tanner and Jim Nosker are Azen Lodge Outfitters and Winter Camping Symposium board members. They’re parents of 10 children, have been cooking together, for groups, for decades. They’ve camped from coast to coast, from the rain forests of Central America to the Arctic Circle, in all seasons. They’ve hiked, backpacked, run dog teams, skied, showshoed, canoed, kayaked, hunted, fished and trapped at one time or another throughout their lives and have been long term Boy Scout leaders.
They will be hosting the kids program this year.
It all started when he was at wilderness camp in Northern Alberta Canada. He had just turned 11, this 'old guy' with a beret on his head and a thick beard shows up. He starts off by whipping up a pack frame with 3 sticks, throws it on he's back and and takes them on a two hour hike that would change he's life forever. On that hike that "old guy" must have showed them over hundred amazing things about the bush. He had them smell it , feel it, taste it and share it's secrets. It was like a veil had been pulled back and he would never look at the bush the same again.
Learn to make your own soap! This demonstration will teach the cold process method for batching soap. Join Deb Johnson, founder of Painter Creek Soap Co. We will make a 100% coconut oil soap that is non-gmo and contains high quality essential oils. All ingredients are natural, pure, earth-friendly, and contain stuff you can recognize. We take great pride in creating amazing, all-goodness soaps with the health of your skin and the planet in mind. Painter Creek Soap Company LLC is located in Independence, MN and has been evolving for 8 years. It began with a mom, passionate about kids with sensitive skin.
Don is the proprietor and owner of the Four Dog Stove Company. He has been designing and building portable wood stoves for the past 23 years. From a 2¼oz titanium back-packing stove to a large steel stoves that can heat a 14’ x 20’ wall tent at -30 below. He is known as the leading innovator in trail stove design and construction. All stoves are hand crafted with his wife, Roxanne on their back 40 acre Minnesota-based workshop/farm, where they enjoy family, friends, raising a large garden, chickens and working their mules. Don’s passion for creating time tested and proven items for use in the harshest wilderness conditions is evident by the testimonials of hunters, trappers, outfitters, guides and adventures throughout the globe.
Jerry Ward has been a life-long student of the wilderness and the skills it takes for humanity to thrive there; from both the historical and modern perspective. From an early age, he took to the forest and fields more-so than the hustle and bustle of a life in town. After receiving his BA in Wildlife Biology, Jerry’s research and work has taken him to 48 of the 50 states and many countries abroad. He most recently hails from Interior Alaska where he pursues one of his favorite of pastimes; fur trapping. Over the last 15 years, Jerry has trapped in multiple states successfully harvested 25 different species for both food and fur.
Rhonda Reynolds has been winter camping for over 20 years. As with many of us, it started when I began to notice how the "warm season" backcountry was becoming more populated. So I looked for ways of enjoying the winter season with safety and comfort. It naturally led to canvas tents and wood stoves. Eureka! I had found it! Solitude, peace, beauty and warmth. When it is not winter, I enjoy solo canoeing and riding around the North Country with my trusty sidekick "Mooloo: The Worthless Furbutt" in a sidecar rig.
Jim Bishop lives in Spooner, WI. is a long time winter camper whose excursions focuses on lakes with fish. He has ice fished in Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana and Lake Superior. A board member of FISH - Friends Into Spooner Hatchery - a friends group of the state hatchery, where they put on fishing programs for youth and elderly. He is retired Public Affairs Manager with the WI- Department of Natural Resources.
"Jon Maruska is an Engineering Technician in Duluth, MN. He is addicted to making gear, skiing lakes and hot-tent camping in northern Minnesota."
Empire Wool and Canvas Company
David Hoole’s first WCS was in the rains of 2009, covering winter camping as a tv newsman for KBJR in Duluth. Since then he has jumped ship for Frost River and been a staple among the cast of characters at the Symposium and beyond.