• 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

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 22

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 22, 20:40

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Sunny skies with cooler temps in the morning and daytime highs. Southeast Showers to the south and cloudy, mostly dry to the north with some sun breaks. Mat-Su Valley Sunny skies. Some clouds in the Basin. Interior/North Slope Mostly cloudy for Interior areas, the North Slope will get light […]

  • News

    JBER soldiers train in bomb disposal

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 22, 20:27

    Soldiers at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson conducted improvised explosive device (IED) training today, reminiscent of a scene from the movie “The Hurt Locker.” Members of the 716th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company are keeping their skills sharp. In the exercise, the unit’s explosives robot has malfunctioned, so a soldier dons the blast suit and goes in to check out an IED. […]

  • News

    Sitka family turns home brews into booming business

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 22, 18:05

    It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday in Sitka and Baranof Island Brewing Company‘s tasting room is packed. Residents are lined up out the door to get a taste of the brewery’s new Pumpkin Ale. The brewing company’s owners say business has come along way in just three years. “It’s been an overwhelming response,” said owner Rick […]

  • News

    Pebble Partnership sues EPA again

    by Sierra Starks, Hope Miller on Oct 22, 17:19

    The Pebble Partnership is again suing the Environmental Protection Agency, this time saying that the agency has been secretly meeting with environmentalists in an attempt to undermine the Pebble Mine Project. In a complaint filed Oct. 14, Pebble is requesting that the EPA produce documents that were “improperly withheld” after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) […]

  • News

    2 dead in shooting attack at Canada’s Parliament

    by CNN / AP on Oct 22, 12:08

    A Canadian soldier standing guard at a war memorial in the country’s capital was shot to death Wednesday, and heavy gunfire then erupted inside Parliament. One gunman was killed, and police said they were hunting for as many as two others. The bloodshed immediately raised the specter of a coordinated terrorist attack, with Canada already […]

  • Lifestyle

    Video game with Alaska Native storyline unveiled in Anchorage

    by Hope Miller on Oct 22, 12:03

    The first of its kind, a video game rooted in Alaska Native culture is set for release next month. Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is a one- to two-player puzzle-platform game. Set in the harsh and beautiful northern Arctic, it follows a girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox companion as they try to figure out what’s causing […]

  • News

    Anchorage police: 11-year-old runaways found safe

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 11:12

    UPDATE: The two 11-year-old girls who ran away from an Anchorage middle school Tuesday morning have been found safe, says APD spokeswoman Anita Shell. Original story: Authorities are searching for two 11-year-old girls who ran away from an Anchorage middle school Tuesday morning, according to the Anchorage Police Department. Early Wednesday morning, APD was notified that Katelynn […]

  • Politics

    US Rep. Don Young apologizes after suicide comment

    by Associated Press on Oct 22, 10:22

    U.S. Rep. Don Young has apologized after telling students at a high school where a child recently committed suicide that people kill themselves when there’s a lack of support from family and friends. Wasilla High School Principal Amy Spargo says students and adults at the assembly took offense because it was as if they were […]