• 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

    Wrangell doctor sentenced in child pornography case

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 10:27

    A Wrangell doctor convicted of receiving and distributing child pornography has been sentenced to 20 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Department of Justice says 54-year-old Greg Alan Salard was sentenced Tuesday and fined $25,000 by U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess. Salard after a six-day trial in Juneau was convicted […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Mail carrier alerts homeowner to fire, calls 911

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 10, 10:14

    An Anchorage mail carrier is to thank for calling 911 and alerting a homeowner to a fire Wednesday morning, potentially saving his life. The mail carrier told KTVA that he heard three explosions and saw flames shooting from the residence. He called 911 and ran to the house to alert any potential occupants. The homeowner […]

  • Politics

    Democrat joins Republican-led majority in Alaska Senate

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 9:30

    The Republican-led Senate majority has added another member: Democratic Sen. Donny Olson of Golovin. The move, announced Wednesday, leaves four Democrats in the Senate minority. In a release, Olson says he’s honored to join the majority and “lend a strong voice for rural Alaskans.” Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman of Bethel is also a member of […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage Assembly sets rules for marijuana businesses

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Feb 10, 9:27

      ANCHORAGE — Anchorage Assembly members outlined a map of the proposed marijuana industry Tuesday evening, voting to keep marijuana businesses at least 500 feet away from schools and playgrounds. The Assembly previously proposed that pot retail stores would need to operate at least 1,000 feet from schools and playgrounds. By a 6-5 vote, Assembly members lessened […]

  • News

    Hollis man charged with driving through ferry security gate

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 9:15

    A 35-year-old southeast Alaska man suspected of driving a van through a security gate at a ferry terminal was arrested Tuesday. Alaska State Troopers say Kenneth Burchfield of Hollis about 1 a.m. broke into a secured yard at the Inter-Island Ferry Authority in Hollis and stole an IFA passenger van. Troopers say he drove through […]

  • News

    Report: Trees in Kodiak borough parcel likely to die

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 8:35

    An assessment into the damage from the August 2015 Twin Creeks fire on land owned by the Kodiak Island Borough has determined that many of the area’s trees will likely die. The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports that the borough hired Joe Stanley of Washington state-based NorthWind Forest Consultants to inspect the borough’s 800 acres of damaged […]

  • News

    Ahtna announces purchase of sand, gravel, asphalt company

    by Associated Press on Feb 10, 7:15

    An Alaska Native regional corporation says it has acquired a sand and gravel company in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Ahtna Inc. says it has purchased AAA Valley Gravel, LLC. Besides mining sand and gravel, the company has trucking and asphalt operations. Tom Maloney, chief executive officer of Ahtna’s business holding company, says in an announcement the […]

  • News

    That was fantastic!: Father helping son in wheelchair at skate park goes viral

    by CBS News on Feb 10, 7:15

      It’s the father-son bond that’s inspiring the world. A video of a boy with cerebral palsy zooming around a Sacramento skate park with his dad’s help is going viral. The look in 8-year-old Atticus Edmunds’ eyes and the huge grin on his face make it clear how much he loves action. “That was great!” […]