How the Arctic Games can survive without snow: BBC

By Andrew Blackman - March 11, 2024
The Arctic Winter Games returned in 2023 after a five year hiatus. (Arctic Winter Games)

Hundreds of athletics have gathered in Alaska for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games. As the BBC reports, the week-long event will see indigenous communities compete in both local and more mainstream sports.

  • In this year’s “Olympics of the North,” hosted by Mat-Su Borough near Anchorage, athletes from Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Scandinavia will compete in events ranging from the “finger pull” (a two-person finger tug of war) to sports like ice hockey and skiing.
  • A lack of snow and ice has forced organizers to phase out some northern outdoor pursuits, such as dog mushing, and threatens others such as the sledge jump (derived from reindeer herding). It has also started to affect events including speed skating and skiing.
  • The Arctic has been warming four times faster than the rest of the planet and summers here could be sea-ice free by 2030. More temperate, rainier weather is threatening subsistence living and traditions of northern people. However, the competition—held for the first time in 1970—continues to allow athletes to keep their northern traditions alive through extreme conditions, isolation and colonization.

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