Feb 2013 - 10 Day Survival Challenge plus Cold Water Immersion


"Just a quick shout to say thanks for the great course.

Driving home from the Solo, I literally was looking at the bush along the highway saying to myself "That's a good dead fall for firewood", "there's a root buttress there I could use as a shelter", and "lots of spruce trees for a smoke generator there and a good place to aim a shelter SOUTH for warmth & less wind". On your website where it says You won't look at the bush in the same way again -- it's true, I'm looking at things quite differently now".

Ted T.



"I took your Intro & Basic Survival courses on Dec 1-2, 2012".

 So here I am up in the north.  We take a 44 km stretch of winter road back and forth to our sites.  Well last night I was 30 seconds behind a head on collision between a pickup truck and a semi-trailer. I was first responder, and your course came into play & the training kicked in. I didn't even flinch from the blood!

4 people in the pickup various injuries from a cut up face to a lady that had pain in her back and most likely internal bleeding.  I was able to keep one step ahead that no one else was thinking of.  (Prioritizing) Get the people sitting down, addressing the injuries of 5 people (including the trucker), talking to each one every few minutes for shock, keeping them warm, dressing wounds, building a fire, using a tarp to reflect heat on the worst injuries. Starting the fire, warming water for water bottles, placing signs on the road. (Taking charge) I used up a lot of our winter survival gear and emergency gear, the gear you suggested we should have.  Neither the trucker nor the pick-up had any survival gear. It was an hour before anyone showed up.  We were prepared.  Much of the survival/emergency kit that we had in the truck was from your suggestions.  So without our gear, I am sure at least one person would have died from shock with the -25 temps within that hour.

Thank you!  Dave.  Your training did help me a whole lot.  It was not me that needed help to survive, but other people and your course did help them stay alive".  

- Travis


"It was an honour to be a  part of your first course as ICSOS, and I will definitly recommend your company and your courses to many.  Its very obvious during the first day that you're well trained, very  knowlegeable, and have extensive experience in what you are teaching. You are excellent communicators and teachers  and able to build trust with your students easily. Photos  and  stories of personal experiences help in both building trust and emphasizing the importance of the knowlege and skills you are teaching us. The day outdoors was a perfect balance of demonstrations and hands on  practice to keep us moving and warm. Even though I'd taught many firebuilding classes teaching outdoor ed, I learned a lot of things I never knew before including how to start fire with out birch bark and matches. I think we were all pretty facinated with the mini lesson on edible plants and trapping. It was a great course, and there's no one I'd rather learn all this from than you and your team. I will definitly be back for more courses."

- Julie

"I am with Manitoba Hydro and we are having a Wellness & Safety Seminar . I am wondering if Dave MacDonald is available to speak to our group of about 60 people.  I have attended some other events in which Dave spoke and found them very informative and interesting.  I would like the topic to be Winter/Wilderness Survival.."

- Kathy

"We thoroughly enjoyed the course, but we'll have to take a rain check on this one. Not sure when we'll be able to do it but will get in touch when we have a better idea!!"

- Catherine

"Hi Dave, I think they really enjoyed it. We were just talking about it again on Friday night and there was some discussion about the next levels and doing CPR and first aid training. Every now and then they tell us a tidbit. Gina was explaining about keeping dry and not eating fish with out scales!!!! We will keep in touch".

- Cathy

"I'm happy to report that I've purchased my compass (Silva), and I went to the maps office that you mentioned and picked up a 1:50,000 map of central Winnipeg. Next weekend, I'm going to find myself in Assiniboine park reviewing the orienteering exercise that you applied. (I attached an image). I've also been reading a little more on declination (east is least & west is best).
There was something that I've been thinking about since my time with you that I found very revealing. (It applies to your observation on how "people have lost touch with their environment").
In my career, and much of life these days, we are graded on the measure of our steps. We are deeply conditioned to this.
I'm evaluated on "did I fill in all of the paperwork", "did I finish the project on-time", "did I estimate the project accurately"... and so on. None of these things evaluate "Did I accomplish the ultimate goal or destination" just how accurately I took the steps along the way. And this is not the same thing as setting an objective and then achieving it or moving toward it.
The revelation came to me with something that you pointed out during the navigation exercise. When I asked you "what would you have done different", you pointed out that I was so obsessed with checking the compass every few seconds and that I was very set on keeping in a straight direction that I was taking some risks over rocks and inhospitable terrain.
Dave, this is where I would have never realized how conditioned I have become and how out of touch with my "environment" I am as a result.
How does this apply to businesses? I'd bet money that many people think and approach things the same way (because we've been conditioned to it over the years). Businesses are looking for and asking for "Innovative Thinkers" and people have forgotten how to Innovate. Some say that this is because we no longer set our perspective on a destination and just plot a course to get to there, but we measure every single step and get lost in the granular details.
Taking your course very much gets you out of thinking in terms of those individual steps and shows the importance of looking at the whole territory. It set me right.
Innovation is a simple matter of recognizing that I need to walk around the tree, estimate the distance there, and continue to my next destination. The ultimate goal is getting back to the house.
I've been thinking about that conversation a lot. It actually exposed something that I wasn't aware of with my thinking and it proposes that "Innovative Thinking" is something that can be taught.
I think that is a very unique idea and I know that a lot of people are stuck in the same rut not knowing "how to innovate".
I've said it before, your course is more than just survival training. It really will start your reconnection with your environment whether it is natural or occupational.
Wow, this would have been a good conversation to have over a cigarette outside. Looking forward to more of those in the future.

- George

"Survival Training by I.C.S.O.S. was an experience that prepared me for the challenges of survival. Starting with in-class briefings and then doing hands on learning, I was given the knowledge of how to treat multiple injuries, start fires, build shelters, utilize signals, stay hydrated and obtain food. This is a course I would recommend to anybody who enjoys the outdoors and wants to learn how to survive".

- Avery

© ICSOS is licensed by Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship as a Resource Tourism Operator and authorized as an outfitter to conduct Angling, Eco-tourism, and Safety and Survival Training.

What you can expect from us



"Each of our staff members possesses a minimum of 20 years serving Canada, in various positions as members of the Canadian Forces. These professionals have unique skills in the outdoors and a desire to pass on their knowledge to you".


Who needs this training and why ?


Snow Hut


"Our programs are designed for individuals who work, play,or commute thru and over the Canadian wilderness".