Alaska Air Forwarding Sends Opening Ceremony Cauldron to 2024 Mat-Su Arctic Winter Games

The 2024 Arctic Winter Games returns to Alaska March 10-16. Alaska Air Forwarding is honored to send the cauldron for the Opening Ceremony to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley (Mat-Su Valley) in Southcentral Alaska. The Opening Ceremony includes a parade of nations, the torch relay’s final leg, and the cauldron’s lighting to officially start the games.

The Arctic Winter Games, first held in 1970 and a biannual event is the premier sporting competition and cultural gathering of and for the Arctic North. Over 2,000 athletes will compete in 20 sports, and thousands more will attend or watch.

Several things make these games truly unique. First, the participants are from the Circumpolar North, more commonly known as the Arctic. This is to help keep the sporting level and cultural significance tied to the area. The teams for 2024 are Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Alberta North, Nunavut, Nunavik-Quebec, Kalaallit Nunaat, and Sápmi.

Second, events include games unique to the North that are part of the traditions of indigenous people in this region. Called Dene Games, they have roots in hunting and fishing techniques. Snow Snake, similar to Javelin, involves throwing a spear over a long distance. This game is similar to training to accurately target and hunt prey. Another game, Finger Pull, tests endurance and was initially played to strengthen fishermen’s fingers carrying fish back to camp. There are several different jumping, kicking, and hand games, too. Other events held throughout the week include gymnastics, curling, snowboarding, several skiing events, archery, basketball, and more.

The Arctic Winter Games were first held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, in 1970 and have been hosted there many times since. Additional host locations include Yukon, Quebec, Alberta, Greenland, and Alaska. This year’s event is returning to Alaska in the Mat-Su Valley, located in the south-central part of the state.

At the end of the games, the team to “best exemplify the ideals of fair play and team spirit” is awarded the Hodgson Trophy and a special pin for their accomplishments. The trophy, named for one of the event founders, Commissioner Stuart Hodgson, is a Canadian Arctic Intuit art piece featuring a bear nearing the top of an engraved narwhal tusk, symbolizing the competitive spirit, and at the bottom of the trophy is a carved walrus that wraps around the tusk. Fun Fact: The Hodgson Trophy is displayed on the second floor at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon. The winning team receives a framed photograph of the trophy to protect the art piece from harm.

Best of luck to all competitors, and congratulations to all involved with this unique cultural event!

Alaska Air Forwarding is a shipping company with the expertise, knowledge, and experience to get your equipment and goods to Alaska quickly and efficiently. If you have freight shipping needs, let us give you a quote!

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