A family of polar explorers. Richard, Josée, Tessum and Nansen have spent the past 25 years exploring the polar regions. Having lead some of the first polar expeditions to successfuly reach the North Pole, set speed records at both poles, recipient of the Order of Canada, renowned Arctic Wildlife photographer and worldclass polar guides, the Weber family knows Arctic. They’ve skied, kayaked, hiked and explored across Canada’s far north.
One of the world’s pre-eminent polar explorers with more than 60 completed Arctic, North and South Pole expeditions, Richard is the Founder of Weber Arctic. His long and diverse list of polar firsts and record-making accomplishments include: The first surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Canada; the first snowshoe trek; and in 1995 the first (and only) unsupported return trip to the North Pole. Richard began working in Arctic tourism in 1993 when he guided the world’s first commercial trek to the North Pole, and conducted hiking and kayaking trips on Baffin Island. To date, Richard has the distinction of having the most successful treks to the North Pole of anyone in history.
Accomplishments & Awards
2015 - Order of Canada recipient for “Pioneering acts of polar exploration and for his efforts to increase awareness of environmental threats to the North”
Co-author of two books Polar Attack: From Canada to the North Pole and Polar Bridge: An Arctic Odyssey
2011 - Opened Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge
2010 - Guinness World Record speed record to the North Pole
2009 - Guinness World Record speed record to the South Pole
2008 - Purchased Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge
2006 - North Pole Classic (unsupported)
2000 - Purchased Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
1994 & 1996 - Meritorious Service Decorations from the Governor General
1995 - Weber-Malakhov Expedition - first and only unsupported return trek to the North Pole (completed)
1993 - North Pole Dash - first commercial expedition (completed)
1988 - Polar Bridge Expedition (completed)
1986 - Steger International Polar Expedition (completed)
1985 - Began trekking in the Arctic
Three medals from the Russian and Soviet Governments
Member of Canada’s National Cross Country Ski Team (seven years)
BA in Mechanical Engineering - University of Vermont
While not chasing polar bears out of the kitchen, Josee is out on the tundra and constantly improving the clients experiences. Josee has adventure in her soul: she is a polar guide who has traversed the Arctic since 1987, pioneered women-only expeditions to the North and South Poles, sea kayaked and hiked Baffin Island; spent two summers with a nomadic Inuit family in an outpost camp on Baffin Island; and assisted her husband, Richard on many of his expeditions. As a botanist and teacher, Josee has a passion for youth education and food. She is the driving force behind the Arctic Change Program.
2013 - Opened Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge
2011 - Purchased Arctic Haven Wilderness Lodge
2007 - Led an all-women trek covering the last degree to the North Pole
1999 - 2004 - Conducted and led annual treks covering the last degree to the North Pole
2001 - Led Woman Quest - an all-women trek to the North Pole
2000 - Purchased Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
1988 - First Arctic expedition to cross the Penny Ice Cap on Baffin Island
1985 - Began trekking in the Arctic
Member of Canada’s National Cross Country Ski Team
BSc in Botany - University of Vermont
Teaching Certificate - University of Quebec
Nansen grew up spending summers traversing the Arctic. Now a professional wildlife & Arctic photographer and polar guide for over a decade, Nansen’s expertise spans logistic work with top wildlife film production crews to technical expeditions such as alpine touring in the Arctic Cordillera range. Along with his brother Tessum, he has pioneered a polar first - the world’s northern most heli-skiing. When not guiding international guests for Weber Arctic, Nansen travels the world on photographic projects with organizations like National Geographic & Netflix. Most of the photos on our site and in the blogs are courtesy of Nansen. To view more of his spectacular works, visit his website listed below.
When not found in the Arctic, on the trails or skiing a glacier, Tessum can be found on the stage promoting and fighting for the north. Tessum is the youngest person to ski to the North Pole. He made his first forray to the Arctic at six weeks of age. His passion for introducing more people to the magnificence of the North has helped expand the offering from Arctic Watch and Arctic Haven include Arctic heli-sking. He and his brother have launched the most northern heli-skiing in the world from the Baffin Island community of Clyde River. A polar guide and avid traveller, he’s spent nearly 30 years across the Canadian Arctic.
Alexandre Deschenes Philion
From Gatineau, Quebec, Alex has always been an athlete - hiking, biking, kayaking and snowboarding as he explored the great outdoors. He has a deep passion for environmental conservation. Alex is a Polar Guide and Kayak Specialist with Weber Arctic leading paddling and biking excursions on the Northwest Passage and central Arctic regions of Nunavut. In addition, he guides polar expeditions to the high Arctic and Antarctic.
Interior British Columbia native, Drew grew up climbing, skiing, and biking the Rockies, Selkirks and Monashee mountain ranges. His passion for mountains and the wilderness drew him to the Arctic where he has multiple first ascents/descents on Baffin Island. Now a Polar Guide and Mountain Specialist with Weber Arctic, Drew also leads kayaking and fly fishing excursions. Drew has helped launch the Baffin Island heli-ski project.
A third-generation chef from Kingston, Ontario, Justin is always finding new and inventive ways to utilize local and seasonal ingredients. Since graduating from culinary school at St. Lawrence, Justin has worked in the Ottawa/Gatineau area at numerous noteworthy establishments such as Odile. During his tenure, they participated in the prestigious Gold Medal Plates, and was listed as one of the top 100 Restaurants in Canada by Vacay Magazine. A semi-finalist in San Pellegrino's Best Young Chefs on Earth, we are fortunate to have him as our Executive Chef since 2012.
A passionate naturalist, Dave has lived in the Arctic for over a decade and is involved in numerous research projects such as flora surveys, bird counts, snow sampling, ice-coring and monitoring polar bear populations. He's completed many voyages throughout the Northwest Passage, East and West Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and spends half the year in Antarctica. Dave is a Guide at Weber Arctic specializing in Wildlife viewing and archeology.
Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains by a grizzly bear biologist, Emilie is as comfortable in the Northern Arctic as she is climbing granite peaks. Having studied documentary filmmaking, Emilie seeks to connect people to a place through story. When she's not a Guide and resident blogger for Weber Arctic, Emilie spends her time rock climbing, back country skiing, trail running and perfecting her fly cast.
From Arctic Bay, Baffin Island, Seemee is an Inuk man with a passion for the tundra and an excellent guide. An integral part of Weber Arctic's team, he is our mechanic, maintenance person and is an exceptional boat and snow machine driver.
The Arctic is one of the last unspoiled areas on earth, it’s somewhere everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Richard and Josée first began exploring the Arctic in 1985, and in 1993 they ran their first commercial trek to the North Pole - and Weber Arctic was born. From 1993 to 2000 the Webers organized skiing, hiking and kayak adventures throughout Nunavut.
In 2000, Arctic Watch on the shores of Somerset Island in the Northwest Passage was purchased because it offered so much of what the Arctic holds - all in one location. Guests can kayak with beluga whales; fish for Arctic char; go ATVing or river rafting; see icebergs, polar bear, and muskox; visit archaeological sites and bird rookeries; hike the Badlands; and so much more. Since the existing structure had been empty for several years, it required a lot of hard work to prepare for guests. In 2007, a bulldozer was driven across the ice of the Northwest Passage from Resolute Bay to Arctic Watch. It took a week, but enabled them to build an airstrip so now guests can comfortably fly direct from Yellowknife, NWT in four and half hours. Arctic Watch has a short summer and is only open for the months of July and August enabling guests to take full advantage of the midnight sun.
By 2008, it was time to look for a location for a second Arctic lodge. The Webers found it on Ennadai Lake in the Barren Grounds. The original structure was built in 2002 as a fishing & aurora borealis lodge that ran from 2003-2005. In 2013 after partnering with Aleeasuk Idlout and Aziz Kheraj of Resolute Bay, Richard and Josée reopened the lodge and renamed it Arctic Haven. The location is a perfect complement to Arctic Watch - it’s an equally magnificent, yet completely different region of the Arctic. Home to hundreds of thousands of caribou, wolves, wolverines, foxes, birds and more. Experience world-class fishing, hike alongside caribou on their migratory path, kayak the 84 km long lake, and snowmobile. Arctic Haven offers adventure packages in the Spring (April-June) and Fall (End of August - September) - the perfect time to take in the majesty of the Northern Lights.
We can’t thank you enough for the extraordinary time we spent at Arctic Watch in July. It was a great week for so many reasons, not the least of which was your kindness, good humour and effort. The entire Arctic Watch “team” are to be congratulated on their effort and attitude! We are fortunate to have shared this time with you. It was sad to leave.
Wonderful journeys, great sights, food out of this world and the best people. We’ll see you again.
We had such an amazing time up at your lodge. What a truly unique experience. We will not soon forget the absolutely amazing hospitality, great food, and of course the stunning beauty of the area in which you are located. You are all amazingly gracious hosts. The service level was truly exceptional. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us this great opportunity and keeping things open for us well into the cold season so that we could all get a taste of that part of the world.
Thanks again... You have a wonderful family and team.
Second time here and it’s still a wonderful place to be. Thank you so much … we will always remember the sound of broken ice and the colors of the water.
Thank you for much an incredible eye-opening, life-expanding experience! We’ve seen and done things we couldn’t have imagined before—the canyons, the deep blue water and ice, belugas and so on as so many have written. It’s an adventure we and our children will always remember. We’ve been amazed by the delicious food, incredible planning, imagination and vison you’ve had to see this place and realize the potential in it. We know this trip will inspire us to more adventures in the future. You’ve made such a warm welcoming home here in the Arctic!
My thoughts are continually drawn back to Arctic Watch — to the fresh air, the whale songs, the delicious foods, and the delightful camaraderie of staff and guests! I especially enjoyed the silence — no traffic noises, no beeping or ringing or honking, no planes overhead, no TV or radio, no sounds of industry or construction — just the wind, waves, and whales. The silence was a complete surprise to me. I hadn’t really given it a thought beforehand, but it was incredible and welcome.
The race (not that I was actually racing in the sense of moving along quickly) was spectacular! I stopped worrying about polar bears fairly early on because there was so much beauty to contemplate. Who’d have thought that dirt and rocks and hills and floating ice chunks would be totally captivating?! And I had been very concerned about crossing ice-cold streams and having to run many more km’s with wet feet (having been mildly frostbitten many years ago). As many streams as we crossed (it was about 75, right?), I never noticed whether my feet were wet or cold or unhappy. I was too busy looking around me and marveling at how many colors there are in dirt and rocks. (Oh yeah, and I was also trying to find the next orange flag…)
I cannot thank you enough — all of you! — for providing me with a unique and wonderful experience. You are excellent hosts/guides/companions, and Arctic Watch itself is just perfect! (And did I mention that I’ve been unable to make anyone believe that the “kitchen gang” could turn out food that was delicious beyond description!)
Now I understand the comment of one of your guests who was flying out of Arctic Watch as we were flying in. He said it was a “magical place”. He was spot on! And although I had thought this would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me, I’m not so sure I won’t be back. I have no idea how or when, but I know that I want to return.