• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 40s

Up, up and away!

By Heather Hintze 8:00 AM March 20, 2014

Arctic Winter Games athletes took a break from competition to enjoy the blanket toss

FAIRBANKS – Athletes at the Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks put competition aside Wednesday night to have a little fun.

They celebrated the midway point of the games with the blanket toss.

“Three, two one, pull!” shouted head official Sanford Strange.

“It’s where you have a celebration when there’s a successful hunt. They’ll put ladies on the blanket and toss them up and pass out gifts to the crowd around the blanket,” Strange explained. “It can also be used for a spotting tool to be able to see the whales out in the ocean and spot them as they’re getting ready to go hunting.”

The blanket used Wednesday is more than 50 years old and made from walrus hides originally used to cover hunting kayaks.

The weathered brown leather has been patch-worked together after decades of use.

“It’s great to be able to share that rich culture that isn’t directly related to the Fairbanks area,” Strange said. “As you know, Alaska is so rich in so many different cultures, it’s nice to be able to share — as all the contingents do — all the cultures and how rich the history is in all the area.”

Many of the athletes have done it before. Some even compete at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics.

Even pulling takes a lot of teamwork: Participants work to make sure the person getting tossed doesn’t fly off the blanket.

About 40 people stand around the edge of the blanket holding it by rope handles. They rhythmically pull in and out until it’s time to give one big final pull and send the person airborne.

“It’s always great when you have new people that have never been on it,” Strange said. “As you get ready to go you throw them up in the air and they give a little scream or a little ‘whoa’ and it’s such a neat, new experience when you see those new people on it.”

Latest Stories

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to multiple accidents on Glenn Highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 25, 13:26

    As of 12 p.m. Saturday, the Anchorage Police Department says that there have been 20 accidents reported in the Anchorage area since midnight. APD says 11 of those accidents — two of which resulted in minor injuries — have happened on the Glenn Highway. This comes after the department sent out a warning to drivers […]

  • Sports

    South defeats West for state football title

    by KTVA Sports on Oct 25, 12:34

    Five weeks ago, the South High Wolverines and the West High Eagles met for a matchup, in which the Wolverines won 55-9. A month later, the two teams met for a chance at the state title on Oct. 24. South’s head coach John Lewis warned his team that a blowout like the first may not be […]

  • News

    Alaska Federation of Natives Convention Day 2: Courting the Native vote

    by Rhonda McBride on Oct 24, 23:31

    Candidates have traditionally courted the Alaska Native vote at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this election-season ritual has reached a fever pitch this year. Some of that could be due to the formation of the Unity ticket; the merged campaigns of Bill Walker, who was running as an independent candidate for governor, and […]

  • News

    Steese Highway collision kills 1

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 23:00

    One person is dead and another injured following a head-on crash outside Fairbanks Friday night, Alaska State Troopers said. The collision on the Steese Highway near Hagelbarger Avenue was reported to troopers in Fairbanks just before 7:15 p.m., according to an AST dispatch. One person was seriously injured and later succumbed to their injuries, troopers […]

  • News

    South Anchorage crash injures 1, temporarily closes highway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 24, 22:15

    Both lanes of the Seward Highway were closed for more than two hours Friday evening following a two-vehicle collision that left one person hospitalized. According to the Anchorage Police Department, the crash happened just after 5:30 p.m. near the highway’s intersection with O’Malley Road. A vehicle heading north crossed the median and hit another vehicle […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 24

    by KTVA Weather on Oct 24, 19:58

     

  • News

    Dam expansion increases Sitka’s power production

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 24, 19:44

    The Blue Lake Project in Sitka is set to dramatically increase the production of hydroelectricity for the city. Five miles out of town, up a one-lane dirt road, tucked into the mountains, construction crews work on the expansion in the windy canyon. The project is so massive it takes Alaska’s largest, 600-ton crane to make […]

  • News

    Anchorage mom loses boxing match, still wins big

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 24, 19:18

    Maria Edwards had never boxed before she got in the ring Thursday night at the Egan Center. But she had a good reason for taking part in Anchorage’s Thursday Night Fights: She was trying to earn enough cash to afford gymnastic lessons for her 3-year-old son. Edwards had her eye on the prize money, $50 […]