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  • "my name is kyle worl" - Team Alaska Changes lives

    “My name is Kyle Worl. I am from Juneau, Alaska, and a proud member of team Alaska. This is my fifth Arctic Winter Games. It also marks 10 years from my first AWG which was also held in Alaska in 2014. Now, 10 years later, we're back in Alaska. It's a nice arc for me, a 10 year span of participating in the Arctic Winter games and seeing my growth as an athlete—to now being one of the senior athletes, one of the oldest athletes, and now shifting more to a coaching role. It's [Arctic Sports] a sport I love.” In a recent interview, I was fortunate to be able to speak with well known athlete and coach Kyle Worl. My goal? To bring to light the incredible mission of Team Alaska as a whole, Team Alaska Executive Director Sarah Frampton, and Kyle himself. The accomplishments and athletic proficiency of Kyle are well known. What is not widely known, and which hardly gets the recognition it deserves, is the impact that Team Alaska and the Games have on the participants and their community, and the dedication and hard work of those who make all this possible. “The Arctic Winter Games focus is on community and personal growth.” - Kyle Worl Kyle works to outreach to local and remote places in Alaska with the mission of bringing the opportunity that the Games afford the youth who participate, to as many people as possible. Much of this outreach is to the communities of southeast Alaska, as well as Statewide. He sees involvement in Arctic Sports as a life changing experience for himself and wants to share that growth with as many as possible. It's a path toward being able to feel a sense of belonging. Joining a sport means feeling like you're part of a community and part of a team; and that can be really uplifting for youth. When you are competing in Arctic Sports you are working on a personal record, It's not about outdoing the person next to you. You're working on self growth, and your fellow athletes whether they are on your team or not, are all there to support you in that growth, which is a really powerful thing for the youth competing. Your coach and coaches from the opposing teams will be there cheering you on. “The kids don't have to be stellar athletes,” he said, “they can just be themselves in the sport.” Kyle emphasized that we are all part of a community and all trying to do our best. That is really the spirit of the Games, It's a healthy mindset and that sense of community and belonging is why he sees the youth he works with so impacted. They're part of something, and there's people in their corner that care about them.  Particularly with Alaska native students, where there are a lot of negative stereotypes about Alaska Native people and a difficult history—sometimes native youth have a difficult time embracing their own cultural identity. Through Team Alaska, and Arctic Sports in particular, these are indigenous games, and it's uplifting for Alaskan participants to see that this is something that is a part of their culture. It's highlighted on the world stage, just as any other sport. They feel pride in themselves to be Alaskan or Alaskan Native and it makes them want to stay involved. He went on to tell me how this relates to leadership because leadership is being involved. It's not being on your own and doing your own thing. leadership means that you have an important role in your community.  And that is what Team Alaska teaches our athletes; that our youth have an important role in their community in different ways. Whether they go on to become a coach or take on jobs in their tribe, government, or schools, it's simply being active in your community and seeing your impact. It can be hard to describe how important the Arctic Winter Games are for some people. It's unfortunate, but it happens that many children are being raised under conditions of neglect and abuse. When asked, Kyle said that in these circumstances, it's particularly uplifting to see youth with harsh backgrounds become involved with Team Alaska—as community and sense of belonging is so foreign under these conditions. In their journey of personal growth they often feel the positive impact of what they are learning and fully embrace these qualities. Going on to become good future leaders and positive role models for their peers. Kyle’s love of Arctic Sports and their positive impact is inspiring, and his mission to share them with others saw a major win in February when he successfully advocated for the adoption of Arctic sports into the North American Indigenous Games, a battle that took years to win. Kyle Worl and Team Alaska are illuminating a path of hope and personal development for Alaskan youth. It is my hope that they will see your support in the years to come, as we work together to bring this wonderful opportunity to as many people as possible.

  • Indigenous Alaskans Weave Cultural History into Wearable Art

    Indigenous Alaskans have been weaving for centuries. From weaving long strands of grass to yarn made out of mountain goat wool. Some of their more traditional weaving techniques include Chilkat and Ravenstail. Chilkat weaving is a traditional weaving technique practiced by the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, as well as Northwestern Coast tribes of Alaska and British Columbia. Chilkat weaving is traditionally used to weave intricate patterned robes and blankets worn by high ranking tribal people. These tribal people would wear these robes/blankets during civil and ceremonial ceremonies events, including dancing. Chilkat blankets were almost always, black white, yellow and blue colored, with a long fringe that sways when a dancer moves. While mainly chilkat weaving is used for robes/blankets it can be applied to almost any type of cloth from shirts and vests to hats and wallets, as well as wall hangings. Ravenstail weaving is considered a precursor to chilkat. Both originate from the NorthWest coast of Alaska and Canada, specifically among the tsimshian. Ravenstail is composed of sharp geometric lines with minimal colors, while chilkat is more natural looking with curved lines and more colors. Ravenstail is traditionally weaved out of mountain goat wool, but modernaly made of merino wool. Ravenstail weaving colors consist of black, white, and sometimes yellow dyed wool. Both Ravenstail and Chilkat both started to die out due to the invention of faster and easier weaving techniques and machines. However, they both have started to revitalize themselves due to multiple different people and tribal people aiming to re-discover their roots and keep history alive. While there will not be anybody adorning chilkat or ravenstail at the indigenous fashion show, there will be lots of other native clothing being adorned. All the fashion designers are native here in Alaska, and plan to honor and keep traditions alive. All the designs were inspired by native traditions and culture as well as the nature that surrounds them. Sources: Chilkat%20 weaving,are%20broken%20into%20vertical%20columns.

  • Intense Gold Medal Finals for U18 Futsal Ahead of Closing Ceremonies

    The female matchup on Saturday morning was between Alaska and Yukon. The first half bounced between a fast and slower pace, it picked up speed during the second half. The second half became aggressive as well. First half finished with a score of 3-2 Alaska in the lead. It ended with a score 4-3 with Alaska winning. The U18 female futsal ulu’s were given out after the end of the game. Bronze was won by Nunavut, Silver went to Yukon, and Alaska won the gold. Coach Will Lucero said “It feels amazing to win gold in our own state. I mean, it's representing Alaska. You know, the last frontier, it's the best feeling in the world.” The male game was played by Yukon and Nunavut. Stands were filled with supporters for all different teams, and chants were echoing in support for both teams as they played. The first half was fast and aggressive with Yukon in the lead with a score of 4-6. The second half continued to be fast and aggressive with chants from the stands overlapping. Towards the end of the second half, Yukon’s goalie made an epic save against a penalty kick taken by Nunavut. In the end Yukon pulls through with a score of 6-4. The U18 male futsal ulu presentation ceremony happened after the game. No bronze medal was presented, but Nunavut took silver and Yukon claimed the gold. Coach Travis Banks said in response to winning the gold, “It’s been a long time, I think, since Yukon senior boys have won a gold medal game, and I think it means a lot. A couple of our other teams got silver and so we really wanted to bring a gold home. That feels great.”

  • What is Sami Yoik Singing?

    If you want to understand what Yoik singing really is, you need to start by understanding the Sámi people. The Sámi are the Indigenous people of the Sápmi cultural region across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. They have nine closely related languages. Sámi Yoik singing is one of the oldest and longest standing cultural traditions of the Sámi people and of Europe in general. A Yoik (Yoik is English, Joik is Norwegian/Finnish/Swedish) is a traditional Sámi song used to express relationships about people, nature, animals and emotions. It consists of a melody, rhythm, chanting, animal mimicked sounds, lyrics/words, sometimes facial expressions, and gestures as well. Yoik can be performed as a form of entertainment but can also be part of spiritual rituals. A Noaidi (Sámi shaman) would perform Yoik while beating on a Sámi drum to contact the spiritual world. Every Sámi in the community is given their own Yoik at birth or adolescence, kind of like a signature. Their Yoik follows them through their lifetime. A person's Yoik is considered so closely related to them that Sámi say “Joiking someone” vs “Joiking about someone”. It's considered poor behavior to sing your own Yoik, as a Yoik could describe your personality and appearance. It would essentially be bragging about yourself. But other Sámi can sing your Yoik in front of you. Yoiking and drumming were suppressed in the 17th century. Yoik singing was considered by some as a form of witchcraft, and became a capital offense. Many Sápmi were executed for it. It continued on in secret but with grave penalties. It wasn't until the late 1960’s (360 years!) that Yoiking started to be revived as an art form. Today Yoiking is taking a modern turn, with one famous song being used in Disney’s Frozen. The introduction song right before “Frozen Heart” is a Yoik called “Eatnemen Vuelie (Song of the Earth)”. Want to hear more? Here is a playlist of Yoik songs for you to listen to.

  • Closing Ceremony Passes the Games to Yukon

    Eight chickadees flocked out onto the floor of the Curtis J. Menard Center to entertain the audience gathered for the Closing Ceremony. They danced and bowed, separated and rejoined as dignitaries took the stage. Some of the dignitaries included Senator Lisa Murkowski, Governor Dunleavy, state Representative Cathy Tilton of Wasilla, and Traditional Chief Gary Harrison of Chickaloon Native Village. Teams marched onto the floor behind their regional flags, snaking across the auditorium until it was filled with thousands of athletes. Large screens showed video clips highlighting each sport. To the cheers of the red-and-black plaid contingent, the Hodgson Trophy for Sportsmanship was awarded to Team Yukon. Finally, the torch for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games was extinguished and passed on to Whitehorse, Yukon, which will host the 2026 Arctic Winter Games. Yukon’s Theatre for Young People led the crowd in singing an uplifting song about the ice and snow and light that everyone from the north could relate to. As Chief Gary said in his spirited speech, “Without all of you we wouldn’t have all had a really good time.” Thanks to all the athletes, mission staff, volunteers, and spectators. We hope to see you in 2026 in Whitehorse!

  • Safety and Security—Your Guardians at Your Games

    From as far north as Fairbanks and as far west as St. Lawrence Island, dozens of men and women in the Alaska State Defense Force stepped out of uniform to become your guardians in blue coats and yellow vests during games week. They were here to manage everything from the local Security Operations Center to manning the crosswalks and handling traffic. They committed themselves to sleepless nights and days that seem endless, keeping in touch with law enforcement and emergency services to ensure swift response in the event of an incident, an injury, or a threat to visitor safety. One soldier from the village of Quinhagak said his father joined the State Defense Force during World War II to protect the islands of Attu and Kiska from attacks. “My father served for years,” he said “I joined when the colonel came to my village and told me I could join, that I could help the people.” They didn’t have a unit at the time, but now about nine people from the village of 600 have joined. “This is the fourth mission I have been on. I have never seen this many people, all together, with joy on their faces for a game.” Another soldier came from Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island. “Back home, I am captain,” he said. “I have traveled every inch of my island, every mile. I know the current. I know the waters…the people of the Bering Strait are hunters. We depend on the land for everything.” “Back home, we don’t have cars. We have ATVs. We don’t have roads. It’s tundra. It’s a once in a lifetime experience, coming here, helping people.” Such as helping attendees with wheelchairs during the Opening Ceremony. He has a special connection to the Arctic Winter Games, having participated in Yellowknife in 2008. “I was a champion in the Winter Games once. I was champion in the snowshoe race many years ago.” “I learned because we use snowshoes on our island sometimes,” he said. “I was fast, and I trained for a long time to compete.” He has a mission to build shelter for the homeless on the island. “I work for a company, a company that builds houses for them. This year, we have already built two. But there are so few of us, and too many who have no shelter.” Many soldiers in the State Defense Force have similar experiences. They train for years, developing skills, harboring a passion to give people aid, and are available when they are needed most. A year of preparation has gone into helping at these Games. Command staff has grown gray hairs over it. But the effort is not without good cause for the safety of visitors, athletes, families, friends, strangers, neighbors, leaders, and special guests.

  • Connections and Community in Speed Skating

    John Monroe is the Arctic Winter Games (AWG) Sports Chair for short-track speed skating. He credits the success of this week’s events to the people around him. This includes officials from the North West Territory, Yukon, Nunavut, and Alberta. It also includes the volunteers. It includes General Manager Kevin Sommer's team at Eagle River's Mac Centre. AWG alumni Andy Kelly, whose Dad Tim coached Team Alaska, was one of the first volunteers to get involved. He signed up as a track steward. So did AWG teammate Joe Fish. Joe kept the water buckets filled for floods between races and presented ulus on the podium. Upon reflection, Assistant Referee David Gilday says, "Tim Kelly was great." His passing created a hole in a lot of people’s lives.” He was also an “amazing cyclist; on-road, back-country, and fat tire. He cycled all seasons.” One of his cycling buddies was Joe Fish. When David needed studded fat tires, he asked Joe for a recommendation. Joe told him that Tim rode on ‘Cake Eaters’. Without hesitation, that’s what David purchased. He says “If they were good enough for Tim, they were good enough for me.” The Alaska Speedskating Club presents the Kelly Family Award, for long-term commitment. Chuck Gilbert is the most recent recipient. He has been on the board and volunteering for decades. He was also on the official timing deck this week for the AWG. Dr. Charles Hansell has retired. He has dedicated many years to speed skating in Anchorage. He's even known to drive the Zamboni. But this week he was on skates with a squeegee, spreading water to keep the track safe. John Monroe’s connection to skating fast and turning left goes deep. He was the assistant coach of the US National Short Track Speed Skating team. He coached Team Netherlands at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He also helped to create Canada's speed skating athlete development model. John comes from a competitive cycling background. He first laced up speed skates at 22. At that time, the head protection was capped with strips of leather. He went on to win two medals at the Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Championships. He was also crowned the 1990 North American Short Track Champion. John was also on the Canadian Inline Speed Skating Team for five years. Then, he switched from athlete to coach. He coached the Canadian Inline Speed Skating Team at the 1999 Pan-American Games. Fun fact! John’s inline speed skating teammate was future Olympian Clara Hughes. Since 2006, Peter Haeussler has coached Team Alaska. His wife Katie was a medical volunteer rinkside this week. Their children also competed at the AWG. Ben was in Iqaluit in 2002, Hannah in Kenai in 2006, and Kara in Grande Prairie in 2010. Peter also put on the Team Alaska skinsuit and speed skates Friday afternoon for a fun skate. Kevlar lines the skinsuit for cut protection. Team Alaska Coach John Katz Brown joined him. Also, there were coaches Martine Dupont and Hailey Roberts of Team Nunavut. Plus, Phil Hoffman of AWG 2026 hosts Team Yukon and Owen Cook of Team Alberta North. Owen’s daughter Leila earned a Gold Ulu in the Under 15 Girls 3000m team relay. They broke a record that someone had held for 18 years. His co-coach Hailey Winnicky-Lewis was an AWG athlete in Whitehorse in 2012. She says she is happy to see the "improvement and dedication" the athletes have shown over the past year. Team Alberta North won 14 Ulus (4 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze) and had 9 top-five finishes. They also set new AWG records. Jane Lynch set the record in the Girls U15 400m. Ola Gawlak set records in the 500m and 1000m. Ola was Team Alberta North’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremonies. Akutaq Williamson-Bathory of Team Nunavut now holds the record in the U19 Girls 500m. She also earned 4 Gold Ulus. Lochlan Dunn of Team Northwest Territories set a new record in the U19 Boys 777m. He earned 4 Gold Ulus. His mom Jana officiated as Chief Lap Counter. Saiya McEachern of NWT set four new records for U15 Boys in the 400m, 500m, 1000m, and 3000m relay. He earned 5 Gold Ulus. His proud parents were at the Mac Centre to see it happen, as Dad Menzie was the Chief Place Judge. Seiya’s speed skating siblings were also fast on the Mac Centre ice. Brother Yuma earned 1 Gold and 2 Silver Ulus, and sister Maica earned 1 Gold, 1 Silver & 2 Bronze Ulus. Announcer Candace Boechler and her husband Derek traveled from Grande Prairie to Mat-Su. They came to volunteer. They also came to cheer on their son Derian. He earned a Bronze Ulu in the team relay and a personal best 4th in the U19 1000m final. She agrees with John Monroe. They were reflecting on their week in the valley. "The people we connected with were amazing!" We’ve made so many fantastic new memories!” They’re already looking forward to Yukon 2026 and connecting with “friends we haven’t met

  • Chickaloon Native Village (Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax) Infuses Language and Culture Into 2024 Games Experience

    Chickaloon Native Village (Nay’dini’aa Na’ Kayax) has been an integral part of the 2024 Arctic Winter Games. At least one hundred Tribal citizens and staff participated in the Games, but prior to that Chickaloon was involved for over two years. Kim Sollien, planner at the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, was a force behind getting the Games to be in the Borough. She worked for Chickaloon Native Village for many years, and asked them to bring in the cultural piece. Chickaloon Native Village is an Ahtna Dene Tribe governed by the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council (CVTC). Their administrative offices and departments are located in Ts’es Tac’ilaexde (Sutton), as is the Tribal school Ya Ne Dah Ah. They have worked for decades to bring language and culture back to their citizens. “I will never forget the first time I heard a Land Acknowledgement in public,” said Lisa Wade, Executive Director of Chickaloon Native Village. “It was read at the Mat-Su Health Foundation. I was with (elders) Uncle Albert and Uncle Don and I saw their faces. Uncle Albert said it was pretty cool, that he had never heard anyone say this was our place before.” It used to be scary to be visible. “Our role has really been infusing as much language and culture into the events as possible, to bring it center stage.” Lisa said. Prior to the games, they came up with the Chickadee (Ne’iine) as the animal ambassador and helped design village pins. At the Opening Ceremonies, two Chickaloon youth lit the torch, Traditional Chief Gary Harrison spoke along with Shirley Chilligan of the Native Village of Eklutna, and dozens of Tribal citizens and staff joined a traditional dance. Throughout the week Chickaloon Village was instrumental in organizing events at Participant Villages such as beading lanyards at Palmer Junior Middle School and Palmer High School. Dimi Macheras led a comic art activity. Dimi is a Chickaloon Village Tribal citizen who went through the Ya Ne Dah Ah school. He has published comic books based on traditional stories told by his mother, storyteller Patricia Wade. “We wanted to create fun activities for host villages,” Lisa said. “And there was bingo; it was hilarious.” Staff at CVTC and youth from Ya Ne Dah Ah hand-made banners for the teams at the villages. “It’s important for the kids to know that we are here, and to make them feel at home,” said Angie Wade, a Chickaloon Tribal citizen and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. She also made them feel seen and cared about by supplying a labeler so youth could make corrections to pronouns on their identification. Wellness is an important theme for the Tribe and encompasses physical and mental health. “So many of the traditional games are about wellness, staying well through long winters. Think about the One Foot High Kick. We were inside all winter long, that is an activity that can be done in a small space.” Angie said. Chickaloon Village also helped to choose the Indigenous food vendor, and CVTC staff helped to prep and serve the feast. “It was such a pleasure to put food out that was so cared about and serve to grateful people.” Wellness also means facing the past and moving through it with resilience. This was embodied by the Activation around Boarding Schools that Angie led at Raven Hall on Friday and Saturday, to educate the public and further the healing process (see Ulu News issue #xx). Jessica Winnestaffer, director of the Chickaloon Native Village Environmental Stewardship Department, said she was thrilled at how the importance of culture has been infused in this international event. “It’s inspirational, refreshing, and heartwarming to see culture be such a major focus of the events.” For so long their government just wasn’t invited to be involved.” Lisa Wade summed it up. “Our hope is that our community can see the value of having our language and culture embedded here.”

  • A Walk in the Park

    The 2024 Mat Su Arctic Winter Games have sparked considerable excitement within the Valley. Game’s week is packed with events. There are people to meet, sports to watch, and pins to trade. While most of the venues are indoors, the natural beauty of the Valley should not be missed. The stunning mountain views along the highway make for a great photo opportunity. I love watching light play on the snow capped ranges throughout the day. At one of my volunteer sessions, a local suggested that I visit Reflections Lake during my stay, so I decided to check it out.  Trails like these provide a nice break from the fast-paced highway scenery. Finding the spot off the highway was easy, although signage advertises the nearby Knik river. Seeing parked cars I figured I was in the right place. The snow covered forest and lake looked beautiful in the winter sunlight. The trail contains packed snow, making it important to watch your step. Halfway around the lake, I found a lookout tower, which offered great views of the mountains. During my brief excursion, I met over a dozen locals out for a walk, showcasing the strong sense of community this trail fosters. I admired the runners who managed the ice with ease. Dogs have to be on leash to help protect the bird habitats and clean up stations were easy to access. Reflections lake promotes community engagement and caters to various fitness levels.  As a moderately fit individual, I found the walk manageable despite some icy patches.  As a solo traveler, I appreciated the well-maintained facilities, including toilets, dog waste stations, and ample parking. Reflections Lake was a welcome break for all the indoor excitement of Game’s week. Make sure not to leave the Valley before taking time to take a walk and appreciate our scenic surroundings.

  • High Kicks and Kneel Jumps at the Arctic Sports

    The atmosphere in the Colony Middle School gym on Thursday intensified as the U17 Male One Foot High Kick event progressed towards the final few competitors. In this event, each competitor gets three chances to kick a small ball, dangling from a string held by a metal frame. The athletes must kick this ball with one foot, then land on that same foot. In the final rounds, this ball was suspended well above the athletes’ heads. It’s a sport that takes incredible skill, including strength, flexibility, and coordination. The audience that packed the gym’s bleachers was respectfully silent as each competitor prepared for his kick. But some athletes preferred noise and signaled the audience to clap in unison. A steady drum beat of claps and foot stomps grew louder and faster as the athlete prepared for his attempt. Whether silent or loud, the air was thick with the audience’s anticipation as well as the competitors’ concentration. Then, release and an athlete’s foot hit the ball! Unsuccessful attempts drew disappointment but also encouraging words and applause. Finally only two competitors remained. They would attempt the highest kicks yet, at 106”: Lars Jeremiassen of Team Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) and Leif Richards of Team Alaska. Unfortunately, neither was able to make contact with the ball. Both had successfully kicked the ball at 104”. Because he’d had fewer misses at lower heights, Jeremiassen took first in the event. Richards came in second, and Carlos Magsucang of Team Yukon took third, with his highest kick at 102”. Next was the Open Female Alaskan High Kick. While the set up was similar to the One Foot High Kick, the Alaskan High Kick is a much different type of sport. Competitors sit on the ground, holding one foot in their opposite hand. They then balance on the other hand and kick the other foot up towards the ball. They must land on their kicking foot, without any other part of their body (aside from the hand they’re balanced on) touching the floor. Again, it’s an impressive event that necessitates strength, flexibility, and great coordination. The women concentrated intensely as they prepared for their kick, demonstrating that the sport took as much mental skill as physical prowess. The final round had the ball at 5’8” and three contestants were still competing. Danica Taylor of Nunavut kicked the ball at that height, taking first place, Ali Johnston of Alaska came in second, and Kate Koepke of Yukon was third. Meanwhile, records were being set at the Open Men’s Kneel Jump. In this event, competitors have to start in a kneeling position and jump as far forward as possible, launching from the tops of their shins and feet, and landing in a standing position. Colton Paul of Alaska set a new record with a jump of 65 ½”, Joseph Nowkawalk of Nunavik followed with a jump of 62 ½”, and Alaska’s Kyle Worl took third place with a 58 ¾” jump. Make sure to check out the results of all events online and make time to see some of these events in person if you have a chance!

  • Dazzle on the Ice! Team Figure Skating Has a Beautiful Showing at the Arctic Winter Games

    Team figure skating began on Friday with a three-minute warmup for the “jumper” skaters. The first element was the single axel, a hypnotic introduction to the rest of the competition with Team Yukon going first. Watching all the skaters introduce themselves via their flexibility and speed while the crowd watched enthralled set the pace for the rest of the elements. Double-double combination was next, starting with Alberta North, then Alaska, followed by Northwest Territories, and Yukon. All teams exhibited grace and agility even when some of their skaters missed turns or spins, though Team NT definitely led the others on the rink with a flawless double-double exhibition. Double jump was the third element, beginning with Team Alaska, displaying gorgeous form despite a stumble at the very end. Team NT was after, with a restrained but competent display. Quite a few of the skaters across all teams stumbled on the ice during this element but the crowd, as they showed all throughout the event, were supportive and cheering everyone on! Team Yukon and Team Alberta North had good double jump runs, especially Alberta North, who recovered admirably from an initial stumble on the ice. There’s always a nail-biting moment or two during this element and today did not disappoint! Jump sequence with axel was the next element with Team NT up first. They did a wonderful job, arguably the most poised in this element, side by side with Alberta North. The rink did seem particularly wet today, with many of the skaters struggling to land axles or jumps, perhaps a result of the rink being wetted down just before the initial warm up. This does not, however, reflect on how capable each skater was in getting back up and continuing their performance, always a graceful balance between the human and the sport. The fifth element was spins with Alberta North having a particularly strong showing in this element with some commendable knee control as they slid on the ice after each spin and some mesmerizing agility and dexterity. Alaska also showed beautiful spin control and symmetry on the rink, their second attempt likely one of the best in the competition, gathering quite the cheers and applause from the crowd. Team NT, with an intense swan-like pose that had the skater hold her chest to keep balance in the first attempt, was another Impressive moment during this element. What a hearty and dizzying collection of poses, a testament to every skater’s talent and devotion to their sport. Spin combination with no change of foot with Alberta North up again first. Their first attempt impressed their coach enough for the skater to receive an emphatic nod from them! Alaska and NT also shined during this element, maybe the closest at this point of the competition. Yukon was also quite excellent during this element. The steps sequence was the sixth element with Team Alaska opening it up. All teams seemed very, pun intended, in their element here, each providing a lovely and shining exhibition on the rink. Yukon, especially, nailed a lengthy and ambitious step sequence which had the crowd and the judges in rapt silence until the cheers broke. With one final bow from all the teams, including an adorable wave that included all the skaters, figure skating came to an end, and although all teams highlighted impeccable sportsmanship and devotion to their talent and hard work, it was Alberta North who received the gold with 18.36 points, with Northwest Territories and Alaska being awarded silver and bronze, with 15.85 and 10.97 points respectively.

  • Amazing Win For Nunavut

    Nuna What!? Nunavut ! You can hear these words chanted at all events this week. Team Nunavut joins the Arctic Winter Games from the Eastern portion of the Northwest territories. From arrival day at AWG, you can see the proud Team Nunavut in high spirits and even higher determination. Through the course of this week, Nunavut has taken: 16 gold, 9 silver, and 15 bronze medals, bringing them to a grand total of 40 medals. Nunavut has put their all into their sports. From Dene games to futsal, they have shown time and time again their sheer determination and spirit. In last night's futsal game, the crowd celebrated a powerful cinematic win for Team Nunavut. Tied with Northwest Territories, 5 to 5, and two overtime periods, Nunavut netted the winning kick with 3 minutes on the clock of the second overtime period. Silence only followed for just a moment before the entire crowd jumped to their feet. Team Nunavut has won - 6 to 5. Team members flooded the court as tears of joy were shared in celebration, and un-ending cheers echoed from the stands. It would be a night to remember for all of us! Team Nunavut is a contingent of 280, representing three regions: Qikiqtaaluk, Kivalliq, and Kitikmeot. These three regions encompass 25 communities also represented in this year's AWG. Team Nunavut has shown tremendous bravery and absolute comradery. Through all the challenges that they faced this week. To describe this experience as uplifting is an understatement, and their sportsmanship towards the other contingents, exemplary.  Let's go, Nunavut!

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