We offer this course in April, when the arctic snow cover is thickest, the lakes are frozen and temperatures are below zero.
This is quite an extreme course targeted at people who are truly interested in testing their limits in order to stretch their comfort zones when out in nature or on an expedition. Of course there will also be a chance to exprerience some of the classic arctic activities but it is important to understand that the majority of the course is spent outdoors in self-made arctic shelters and there is little chance to escape from the elements. This is not an easy winter course with good facilities to run home to, like in our alternative 'Introduction to Arctic Survival' Week like in the majority of 'Arctic' courses you can book from non-Scandinavian companies operating here.
Fatigue, hunger, pain, thirst and even a measure of fear are, to an extent, routine features of an expedition. However, it is unlikely that you will ever ever experience a true survival situation in which life and death hang in a fine balance and all other concerns become secondary. Most 'survival' situations are played out in the course of hours and days rather than weeks and months. However, developing skills and knowledge in the art of survival will still give confidence when heading out into the wilderness and will help you to be resourceful and to have the will to adapt, improvise and overcome, when necessary. Hence, this course is about honing and enhancing all of the typical arctic survival skills - shelter-construction (which you will then utilise, most nights), fire-making, ice-fishing, cold-related hazard avoidance and first-aid, winter navigation, etc - whilst also navigating along an A-B course using skis or snowshoes.
In this course we will look at the degree to which your equipment choices, physical condition (health & fitness, stamina, acclimatisation to altitude, cold, heat etc, reserves), knowledge and skills (adapt, improvise, overcome), and 'will to survive' (courage, determination, resourcefulness, tenacity, team-spirit, humour, faith) all play a key role in survival. We will also look at the particular threats and demands that travelling through the northern wilderness places on people and the need to have reasonable contingency plans, reserves and communication & evacuation plans in place to cope with likely problems.
Our aim is for you to develop sufficient skills and confidence to be able to survive with minimal equipment and clothing, should you ever find youself in such a situation in a winter setting. To this end, you will have a very exact Kit List to follow and will not be able to take anything else with you, including supplementary snacks or extra clothing.
If this sounds too extreme, opt, rather, for our 'Introduction to Arctic Survival' Week in which participants return most nights to a warm shelter and spend their days being introduced to the type of skills outlined above. Alternatively, if you would prefer a course with more training in physical skills relating to movement in the arctic vs mental training in arctic skills, then opt, rather, for the polar preparation course. Whilst it is designed as a training course for those undertaking polar expeditions, and assumes a degree of competence in XC skiing, the key aspects targeted specifically at expeditions are the theoretical topics covered in the first days (fundraising, equipment selection and expedition planning and packing).
Both courses are taught by Pasi, one of Finland's foremost survival instructors and an active member of 'Survival Guild Finland'. Our premier survival course is an adaptation of the Winter Survival Guild Course we teach each year but without the prerequisite of having had to have completed a previous summer survival training course.
Programme Duration: 7 day package (5-day course)
Accommodation & Board