About Winter Count

Winter Count is a primitive skills gathering that has been taking place every February in the stunning Sonoran desert of southern Arizona since 1995. Founded by Dave and Paula Wescott, Winter Count (along with its sister gathering, Rabbitstick) is one of the preeminent gatherings of its kind. Instructors and students spend one week together sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge of skills such as fire making, archery, basketry, hide tanning, pottery, flintknapping, and much more. Winter Count is known for the high quality of its instructors and small class sizes.

Winter Count is a "conference " style event that was started for instructors and people in the field of primitive living skills, experimental archeology and survival skills to come together, spend time with their peers sharing knowledge, offering their skills and hopefully, having a good time. Instructors at Winter Count are not paid but instead receive compensation from networking we facilitate during the year, sharing what they have learned, and giving them a place to have a week off from their normal schedules.

This year's event will take place FEBRUARY 11-17, 2018. The event has been growing over the years, and last year drew about 630 people, including students, instructors, and camp staff, who camp together, share meals, teach, learn, tell stories, and play music around the campfire. Many of the folks who come to this gathering have been attending for many years, bringing their kids to what has become for them a "family reunion."

We are a diverse group of people from many experiences, opinions, family backgrounds, and levels of expertise who come together to share what it is that makes us excited about life.

We provide a camp with some of the best instructors in their fields, teaching what they have learned through experience, experimentation and through source materials. Some of the instructors have spent many years perfecting their crafts. Some have managed archeological sites while others have lived deeply among the wild places, hunting, raising their own food and making their own clothing and tools from the most basic elements.

Winter Count is moving after 20 years at the Abril family land in Maricopa. We will now be about 30 minutes east of Florence, AZ. Whether you have been to Winter Count before or not, you will want to read ALL the materials we send you so as not to be surprised by all of the changes.

The new site is very different from the old site. The elevation is 2600ft instead of 1300ft. We have no neighbors, a beautiful view of the Superstition Mountains, and stunning night skies. We will be camping differently than we have in the past; because the desert vegetation at the site is more dense, we will ask you to park in designated areas and camp away from your car.... unless you are sleeping in your vehicle.

Local flora ranges from palo verde and ironwood to saguaro and barrel cactus. The adage that "Everything in the desert sticks, pricks, bites, and stings" is more fact than fiction. Catclaw, mesquite, jumping cholla, and other pricklies are regular residents. Animal life ranges from toads to javalinas, deer to tortoises, fox and much more.

To get news and updates on Winter Count, SkyEarth (Texas) and their sister gathering, Rabbitstick (Idaho), sign up for our newsletter HERE.

Winter Count, Rabbistick and SkyEarth are drug and alcohol free events.