a Northern Star Council camp located in Birchwood, Wisconsin

Facebook and Twitter Icons

Planning and Resources

Snow Base Overview   |  Programs   |  Planning and Resources   

To Make a Snow Base Reservation:

Step 1: Review the program options with the unit and collect deposits.
Step 2: $25 non refundable deposit per person due at registration time.
Step 3: September 15th at Noon the registration site opens, no login information is required, it is a new reservation.
Step 4: Register the youth and adults that are for sure attending, others can be added to the same reservation, based on availability by logging in.

Download the Snow Base Video and share it with your Unit.

Quick Links


Leader Information

Before Arrival:
  • Remind participants about what gear they must bring (Remember not to bring any cotton)
  • Fill out your roster on your online registration
  • All Crews and Troops should plan to arrive at Tomahawk Scout Reservation between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Friday night.
  • There is a lot to do Friday night (check out gear, pack food, pack sled, and winter camping orientation). It is important to arrive on time. If you are running late please call the Snow Base Director at 651-252-4776
Leader Requirements:
  • Scout troops and Venture crews need to provide two leaders for each crew. Some troops may elect to split their group into two crews. In this case, each crew will need to have two adult leaders
  • Staff will not be considered adult leadership under any circumstances. The policy for “two-deep” leadership must be followed, including one registered leader who is at least 21 and one adult leader who is at least 18 years of age. 
  • If a Venture crew has both male and female participants then the adult leadership for that crew must contain at least one adult male and one adult female, both age 21 or greater.


  • Snow Base will remain open under most conditions. Please refer to the ‘Severe Weather Policy’ 
  • We ask that you call us if your unit chooses not to attend due to bad weather. Please call the Scout Service Center at 651-254-9158 between 8:45 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., or call the Snow Base Director at the number below and leave a message.

Emergency Phone #

  • The phone number for the Snow Base Director in case of emergencies is 651-252-4776 (answered Friday 6PM – Sunday 3PM).
Important Notes
  • All Scouts in attendance must be registered with BSA or complete a BSA Application.
  • Alcohol & illegal drugs are not permitted on camp property.
  • Before you arrive, please review with your Scouts the guidelines for Winter Camping as outlined in the Guide to Safe Scouting
  • Upon arrival you will meet your Crew Guides for the weekend. These Snow Base Staff Members will lead you through your training, equipment issue, crew prep and packing.
  • There will be a cracker barrel and presentation at 9:45 p.m.
  • You will sleep in White Pine Bunkhouse Friday night.
  • Dog Sledding Crews stay in the dog sledding lodge located in Navajo.
  • Saturday you will eat breakfast and leave base camp towards the camping destination and program.
  • Snow Huskies have the option of sleeping outside in front of the Program Building, sleeping bags are limited and will be on a first come first serve Saturday Night.
  • Crews will return in time for Sunday lunch and banquet.
  • The program will end Sunday with a recognition lunch. Departure is between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m.
Trading Post
  • Snow Base operates a camp store with souvenirs and some equipment.


  • Each participant will receive the latest Snow Base patch!
  • Zero Hero Award - If the temperature reaches zero degrees or lower while you are sleeping out, Snow Base has the council’s Zero Hero 3” round patch and Zero Hero Segment available for purchase in the Trading Post.

Equipment List: 

Snow Base Provided Gear:  Gear and equipment included with all programs

Sleeping (Spearhead/Expidition Only) 

  • Sleeping system – Marmot™, Mountain Hardware™ and Midwest™ (-30 degree F) mummy bags. No one has ever reported to be cold at night.
  • Sleeping pads – Two Ridge Rest™ pads.
  • Sock liners – 2 pair - Wigwam™ Gobi Polyester sock liner.  
  • Socks – 2 pair - Wigwam™ -40 degree wool/synthetic blend
  • Boots – We have Sorel™ Impact boots rated to –40 degrees. Snow Base has 185 pairs in size 6 to size 17.  Each participant will get an extra pair of liners with the boots.  These boots have high uppers with a drawstring closure – gaiters are not be needed.
  • Hat – A fleece hat with windstopping ear covers.
  • Balaclava – A stretch-fleece full headpiece to be worn if it gets windy or very cold and can be worn at night.  This Head Hugger design includes a neck and shoulder cover.
  • Pants – We have wool pants and suspenders. Pant sizes 38+ are limited so it is recommended if you have your own wool or snow pants to bring them. 
  • Shirts – Wool shirts and sweaters for Scouts who need warmer alternatives.
  • Mittens – Ragged Mountain Mittens.  This mitten includes a shell layer as well as a removable insert.
  • Glempers Glove Liners as the wicking layer. 
  • Water bottle and carrier – Drinking lots of water is important.  We will provide 16 oz. wide mouth nalgene water bottles with a carrier so you can wear it around your neck and close to your body so it doesn’t freeze.
  • Stuff Sack – We will issue everyone a Stuff Sack to use to pick up the equipment you get from us.  This will stay in the building when you go out to the campsite on Saturday.  You can leave your personal clothes in this when you change into your outdoor clothes.
  • Sled – We have two person gear sleds, similar to ice fishing sleds for your personal gear. We recommend using a sled versus a back pack for a couple reasons. It is 3x easier to pull something than carry on your back and when cross country skiing it is easier for 1st timers to pull something rather than carry.   
  • Snowshoes – We have lightweight snowshoes.  We have mostly 25” and some 30”.  
  • Cross Country Skis – We have backcountry skis with bindings that will fit the Sorel boots.  
  • Every crew will be issued the following crew equipment: Crew Sleds, Parachute shelter, Shelter Tarps, Ground Tarps, Ice Chisel, Shovels, Cooking Stoves, lanterns, cook ware, kneeling pads, fuel bottles, and a crew box with a first aid kit, toilet paper, map, compass, and other supplies. 

Participant Provided - Items you will need to provide
The Snow Base winter program will provide much of the equipment needed for your weekend.  The following items will need to be provided by the participants:


  • Long Underwear (not cotton)
    • This is a very important part of a successful winter camping experience. The biggest winter camping mistake is to wear cotton.  Cotton absorbs moisture and holds it next to the body, which then causes heat to be drawn away very rapidly.  Unfortunately, many Scouts will already own cotton long underwear.  Scouts and their parents need to be told the importance of this piece of equipment.  A non-cotton long underwear bottom and top are needed.  Medium or heavy weight is best.  Two light weight layers will work too if the participant is also involved in activities like cross country ski racing where light weight is best. Cost effective long underwear can be found at major outdoor retailers such as Gander Mountain.  Long underwear is available for purchase at Snow Base, but supplies and sizes are limited.
  • Upper body layers – Two to three pieces are recommended.
    • An important principle for winter camping is layering.  Several layers of non-absorbing clothing that can be taken off when active and put back on when less active is ideal.  These layers should be of non-absorbing fabrics again like wool or polyester.  Fleece or wool sweaters or vests are great, and cotton should not be used here either.  
  • Outer Shell – A winter jacket with hood works great.
Eating Utensils
  • Eating Utensils - A plastic bowl, plastic spoon and insulated mug.  It works great to package them in a plastic bag for carrying. Metal utensils could stick to your tongue.
    • Note: Snow Huskies only need an insulated cup for hot chocolate. 
  • Personal items – Toothbrush, toothpaste, handi-wipes, deodorant, etc.  Packing them in plastic bag is helpful to keep them together and makes it easier to find.
  • Sleeping bag – You will sleep in your own sleeping bag in a bunk house—this can be an ‘indoor’ bag.  
  • Regular clothes – Come out to camp in regular clothes.  You will use your winter clothes starting Saturday after breakfast through Sunday before lunch.  Bring a change of socks and underwear.
  • Lip protection – A Chap Stick type product.
  • Sunscreen – The sun reflecting off the snow can easily burn your face and ears.
  • Sunglasses – Needed to protect your eyes from the bright winter sun and reflection off the snow.
  • Flashlight or headlamp – bring extra batteries.
  • Personal medical supplies – Bring any medicine you will need in its original container with name and dosage.  Give these to your leader.
  • Health History – Fill out and bring a Health History Form.
  • Camera
  • Optional:  Ski Gloves, head band, frame pack, rain suit (good for carving out snow shelters and as an added layer), pocket knife, small garbage bags for packing clothes in backpack