• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 35s

Snow snake ‘part of the spirit of the games’

By Heather Hintze 5:50 PM March 18, 2014

The Dene game is based on Arctic hunting skills.

FAIRBANKS – When you see the five-foot-long wooden stick slide along the ice, it’s not hard to see how the sport of snow snake got its name.

Like the other Dene games at the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, it has a deeper meaning behind it.

“When the hunter was on the ice looking for a seal or polar bear or moose or something, he sneaks up to the animal, getting as low as he can, and throws the spear and the spear travels on the top of the snow and if the moose or caribou is sleeping, hopefully they have a good score,” explained Chris Anderson, a Dene games official.

Competitors throw the spear underhanded down a long runway of ice. It’s not as easy as it sounds; some of the spears veer off course and slam into snow banks.

Athletes said the sport takes a lot of technique.

“You’ve got to hold it a certain way. You gotta make sure that when you release it, you release it evenly and flat,” said Marjorie Tahbone, a member of Team Alaska from Nome. “When you release it, you have to flick your wrist a certain way. It’s all technique and it’s really amazing to see all the skills that people have to do this game.”

Competitors say it makes them proud to play a sport their ancestors have been playing for generations.

“I think it’s wonderful we get this opportunity to compete in events that we can call our own, events our ancestors created,” Tahbone said.

Anderson agrees.

“It’s part of the spirit of the games,” said Anderson, who was also the MC for the event. “You talk about your grandfathers, your great grandfathers, they’ve done these games. It’s so neat the Arctic sports and Dene games are having these types of things, these indigenous games.”

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    Can breakfast help keep us thin? Nutrition science is tricky.

    by Associated Press on Jan 21, 18:45

    Cereal makers have happily encouraged the belief that eating breakfast can help keep us thin and bring other benefits, partly by paying for studies that seem to support the idea. So, does that mean breakfast is bad for you? Not that either. What it does show is how difficult it can be to sort the […]

  • Lifestyle

    Funding for opioid overdose kits offers ‘hope’ for Alaska’s drug epidemic

    by Johanna Eurich / KYUK on Jan 21, 18:30

    The state government is gearing up for a major battle against the opioid epidemic sweeping through Alaska, according to a report published by KYUK Public Media. Andy Jones, the section chief for the state Department of Health and Social Services, is heading up a new, statewide program to get the drug Naloxone, also known by […]

  • Politics

    Women’s March on Washington draws hundreds of thousands to nation’s capital

    by CBS/AP on Jan 21, 18:22

    Wearing pink, pointy-eared “pussyhats” to mock the new president, hundreds of thousands of women massed in the nation’s capital and cities around the globe Saturday to send Donald Trump an emphatic message that they won’t let his agenda go unchallenged over the next four years. As night fell on the East Coast, thousands of protesters […]

  • News

    Turkey fryer blamed for Colony Loop house fire

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 18:13

    Slick, snowy roads made it difficult for emergency personnel to respond to a house fire Saturday. Shortly before 2 p.m., the Anchorage Fire Department issued a statement that 15 units had been dispatched to a home on the 2400 block of Colony Loop, where the fire was reported. According to firefighters at the scene, the […]

  • News

    Heavy snowfall causes Dome roof to bow

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 17:02

    Events at The Dome were canceled Saturday afternoon when heavy snowfall caused the roof to bow. “The snow load is causing some slight depression in the roof, and we’re working to remove the snow from the top of the facility,” explained Mike Martin, chairman of the facility’s board. The Dome, located at 6501 Changepoint Drive, […]

  • News

    PHOTOS: Women’s March on Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 16:01

    While thousands of men and women attended the Women’s March on Washington, thousands more took to the streets in sister marches across Alaska. With a new president in the White House, many have wondered what new laws will be enacted and what laws would be repealed, such as the Affordable Care Act. The marches were a way […]

  • APD investigates homicide of 17-year-old boy shot in the back

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 16:01

    A 17-year-old boy died Saturday after he was shot in the back in Government Hill, Anchorage police said. The boy was found in the roadway on the 700 block of Birch Street just after midnight, police said in a statement. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital alive, but he later died there from […]

  • News

    APD urges public to be aware of winter conditions following 2 possible cold exposure cases

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 21, 15:13

    Last updated at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21 The Anchorage Police Department says one person’s death Saturday may likely be the result of exposure. A second person was later found with similar symptoms, and has also died. The first victim’s death was reported Saturday morning after a male’s body was found outside near the intersection […]