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Athletes tackle slick challenge at World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

By Heather Hintze 6:39 AM July 18, 2014
FAIRBANKS –

It’s a slippery spectacle.

“It’s very slick, very hard to describe. Just a slick, smooth surface,” Sam Strange explained.

Athletes do their best to cross a Crisco-covered pole at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks.

“Average lengths are about three to four feet. The pole is a 10-foot pole,” Strange said. “We do get guys every once in a while that can balance and go all the way down but it’s very rare. Most people go maybe halfway, that’s a pretty far mark.”

The greased pole walk represents the balance hunters needed to have while walking on ice or a slimy fish wheel.

“I’m going to try my best,” Amber Vaska laughed. ”Hopefully I’ll go more than two inches.”

She does her best to maintain her balance but it’s clear the pole presents a little bit more of a challenge. Luckily, spotters are there when she takes a spill.

“Let’s see how lucky we get,” said Christian Warrior, smiling.

He makes it look like a cakewalk, gliding on the grease with ease.

“It feels like walking on a soaking wet log with moss on it,” he said. “Real slippery.”

For many, the oily obstacle is too much to overcome — but athletes said it’s really about the fun they have before they fall off.

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