• 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

    Injured Iditarod musher must take year off, expects to race again

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 27, 18:02

    Musher Karin Hendrickson remembers everything about Tuesday night when a car crashed into her and her dog team near Mile 91 of the Parks Highway. “I had 14 dogs hooked up to a four-wheeler, we are still running four-wheelers because there’s not enough snow,” said Hendrickson, who was travelling south on a trail just a […]

  • News

    2 injured in small plane crash near Cook Inlet

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 15:05

    Two people were injured in a small plane crash on the west side of Cook Inlet Thursday, authorities say. The plane, which had lost engine power, went down across the inlet from Nikiski and hit an embankment, according to the National Transportation Safety Board and Central Emergency Services. A helicopter was sent to retrieve the […]

  • Crime

    Mother sentenced for Kenai parking lot shooting

    by Associated Press on Nov 27, 13:10

    A mother who fired shots at a car in a Kenai parking lot has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Kenai police say Ashley Nelund opened fired on a 17-year-old boy and another person driving a car outside the Kenai Walmart last year. She approached them saying she was owed money. Nelund told police […]

  • News

    North Pole sues over oil refinery contamination

    by Associated Press on Nov 27, 12:10

    The city of North Pole is suing two recent owners of an oil refinery over groundwater pollution. The lawsuit blames current refinery owner Flint Hills Alaska Resources and previous owner Williams Alaska Petroleum for releasing hazardous substances into the groundwater beneath the refinery. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://ow.ly/F03JX) reports the lawsuit filed Wednesday identifies sulfolane as […]

  • News

    Lights back on in Talkeetna after wanted man strikes power pole

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 11:35

    Update: 1 p.m. Power should be restored to the area, MEA says. “Thanks to our linemen and dispatchers who gave up their holiday today,” the company wrote on Facebook. “We hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!” Original story Some Talkeetna residents might be celebrating part of their Thanksgiving holiday in the dark after […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage Assembly passes $472M budget for 2015

    by Emily Carlson on Nov 27, 9:27

    The Anchorage Assembly passed the municipality’s 2015 budget Wednesday afternoon, but not before some debate on whether to cut additional staff and a surprise tennis court proposal. The $472 million budget passed unanimously in a two-hour special meeting. It’s a little more than $2 million over what Mayor Dan Sullivan proposed in October. The mayor […]

  • News

    Thanksgiving travel tales from the Anchorage airport

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 27, 8:02

    Spending Thanksgiving with loved ones isn’t possible for everyone. But for others, taking a flight or two is all it takes to get the family together. At the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Wednesday night, 2-year-old Rachael waited patiently for her dad to come home from the North Slope. Her mom, Melissa Chapman, is happy that […]

  • Sports

    UAA nearly holds the Tigers

    by Dave Goldman on Nov 27, 7:56

    The game counted as an exhibition for UAA, and the Seawolves nearly made the Pacific Tigers exhibit A. In a tightly contested game from wire to wire, Division II UAA nearly upended the bigger Pacific Tigers. But Division I got the last word in the balance of the rebounds in a hard-earned 71-62 win at the […]