A 500 mile journey for the future under our own power.
January 13– June 7, 2025

Ages 16-21

Join us on a journey from the heart of the winter wilderness to the waterways and coastlines of the North East as we intimately follow the seasons from January to June. For 5-months we will traverse northern New England under our own power on a climate forward journey.  Kroka’s Full Circle Winter Semester combines two months of backcountry skiing expeditions with homesteading, hand craft, a traditional wilderness canoe journey and a final bikepacking trip home to Kroka.

On the heels of the hottest summers on record and unprecedented natural disasters impacting our local communities, Kroka is committing to a Winter Semester that traverses the mysterious and beautiful wildernesses of the Northeast without the use of private vehicles.  We will weave together deep observation with action, the past with the present and future, and academic studies with active hope. 

You will develop sound judgment for healthy risk-taking and competency in technical adventure sports of backcountry skiing, whitewater canoeing, mountain bikepacking, and marine navigation. You will engage in a rigorous experiential curriculum encompassing the humanities and natural sciences. You will emerge from the program empowered and inspired to transform what you have learned in nature and community into altruistic action. Join our expedition team!


Block 1: Building Community

The first three weeks of the semester are devoted to community development, Nordic ski training and the practice of winter adventure sports (telemark skiing, ice skating and sledding). Students develop sustainable living skills and a sense of earth stewardship while residing in hand-built Earthen Lodges at Kroka’s campus. The academic studies are focused on geography and navigation, exploration of sense of place and expedition leadership. Students embark in preparations for every aspect of the four-month-long wilderness expedition ahead of them.

Block 2: Winter Expedition

We depart in the deep of winter from Kroka and head north. The first weeks are spent developing winter expedition skills: from staying warm and reading the forested landscape to finding dry firewood and making a snug home for the night. We live in a handmade expedition-style canvas wall tent complete with a portable titanium wood stove. Each day we make camp along the frozen lakes and bogs, gather boughs to insulate us from the snow, and set a cozy camp. As night falls each day we study forest ecology, thermoregulation, winter adaptations in plants and animals and develop observation skills through journaling.

“The wind, snow and sun are our companions as we move northward. Our skies forecast the weather and tell us the time. The earth warms us from beneath as we sleep at night. We breathe the clean air deeply and smell the hemlocks and spruce. We take in this life in hopes of handing down our learning when we leave here.”

– Semester Student

For two months we move through Winter–learning that home is not on our backs but all around us–and gain a comfort and familiarity with the land in the coldest time of year that is unique and exceptional. Here, we learn to thrive.

We become competent skiers as we climb the mountains and descend into the valleys, carving endless telemark turns. At night, cozied by the titanium wood stove we carry on our backs, we study the relationship of humans to nature through environmental history, boreal forest ecology and classic literature. 

With time, we gain the skills to travel with increasing skill and independence. Now, with knowledge of wilderness living skills, backcountry skiing and navigation we traverse more vast and remote wildernesses. Here, the group transforms into a well-functioning expedition team working towards the common goal and putting individual and group skills and endurance to the final test. 

We will feel the transition of the season and end of the expedition on our skin as the air begins to warm, the snow sticks to our skis before disappearing, and mud replaces frozen ground. Facing East, we feel the warm breath of spring and celebrate the end of winter.

Block 3: Mud Season Layover

As snow melts we return to a place-based study and practice of daily life rooted in reciprocal relationships with the land. We will engage with critical questions and learn practical skills for sustainable living and homesteading. For this month ash for our baskets is harvested from the woods, and sweet sap drips from the sugar maples. We find meaning not from our destinations, but from the work we do in reciprocity with the Earth and in a close-knit community. As we delve into working with the forest, we consider questions like: How does a human come to belong to a place?  How do we practice reciprocity?  How do we align our values and our life? How do we carry the wild rapture and lessons of the far north into meaningful long-term living?  This block explores our potential as positive agents of change in an ecosystem and beyond.

As we engage with traditional handwork crafting our own baskets, paddles, and knives for the spring expedition, we will also give back through meaningful service to community members and elders in the local area. As ramps begin to carpet the woods and buds surge in the red maples, we will turn our attention to preparation for the spring expeditions!

Block 4: Spring! Rivers, Ocean and Home, Again

This journey will focus on creating a deep connection with the land and its story as a tool for envisioning a positive future. Feasting on wild spring foods and the gifts of the water, we will paddle and sail and learn to navigate with chart and compass. Our nights will be spent on beautiful islands as we reflect on the interconnectedness of our surroundings, and end our days in song and celebration of our simple lives and nomadic life.

In the full bloom of Spring, we trade our hand carved paddles for pedals and set our sights on Kroka. Largely student led, the final two week biking expedition is a culmination of all that we have learned on our journey. Working together, each with our own Big Job, we seamlessly journey as a team to our final destination of Semester. Kroka’s campus, which was quiet and stark in February, warmly welcomes us back into its buzzing vibrancy.

Block 5: Home in Kroka Village

At long last we return to Kroka Village, the familiar warmth of the Earth Lodges and excited shouts of young students as we are welcomed back home by a circle of friends. We have changed — transformed by our journey, by everything we have seen and experienced. Our final weeks are time to reflect, celebrate and give back to the larger community. We will engage in campus construction projects to leave a legacy in return for our learning; we will work on the farm helping to prepare beds and plant seeds for the coming season, and culminate our five-month long journey with a theatrical presentation to the community.