• 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

    2nd annual ‘Stop the Violence’ block party: ‘We all can play a role’

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 01, 19:02

    The group We Are Anchorage hosted a block party in the parking lot of the Northway Mall on Saturday. The event, called “Stop the Violence,” aimed to gather people from across the city to take action against the recent violent crimes involving Anchorage’s youth. “It doesn’t matter what you look like, what part of town […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather forecast, Aug. 1

    by KTVA Weather on Aug 01, 18:50

    Anchorage Expect plenty of sunshine on tap for the weekend as high pressure is in control of our weather pattern. This will leave our temperatures well above normal into the low 70s. Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound Mostly sunny skies with a few clouds from time to time will be the weather story for […]

  • Lifestyle

    Web Extra: An inside look at Alaska’s renewable island

    by Hope Miller on Aug 01, 12:23

    Planted on Pillar Mountain, Kodiak’s six wind turbines are a fixture in the community. At 80 meters tall each — a bit smaller than a football field — they perch above the town and serve as a symbol for the area’s movement toward renewable energy. In fact, Kodiak Electric Association — which serves the City of […]

  • Sports

    Palmer golfer takes bronze at Special Olympics World Games

    by Megan Mazurek on Aug 01, 12:05

    A golfer from Palmer is a bronze medal winner at the Special Olympics World Games. Garrett Stortz, 24, played in four 18-rounds of golf at Griffith Park. Stortz is a level 5 golfer and improved his personal best every day of play throughout the competition. It was something his coach, Scott Johnson, always knew was […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Playground fire at Alpenglow Elementary considered suspicious

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 01, 11:33

    Two months after a playground fire at a South Anchorage elementary school, the Anchorage School District is reporting another playground destroyed by flames. Crews responded to the fire on the Alpenglow Elementary School grounds just after 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to the Anchorage Fire Department dispatch. Photos released by the Anchorage School District show charring […]

  • News

    Anchorage in Transition: Paul Alcantar reveals new ideas for Solid Waste Services

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 22:32

    With the election of Anchorage’s new mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, comes a new administration. All this week during the 6 p.m. Evening News, KTVA be interviewing newly appointed department heads about their plans for the future of Anchorage. Friday, we were joined by Paul Alcantar, the new director for Solid Waste Services. Alcantar touched on the […]

  • News

    Berkowitz names new Anchorage Public Transit Director

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 31, 21:55

    Anchorage’s new mayor has announced another addition to his transition team. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz chose Jody Karcz as the new Public Transit Director for the Municipality of Anchorage, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. She will replace current director Tom Wilson, who retired July 14, People Mover said in a statement. The Public […]

  • Sports

    East High School moves closer to playing football on campus

    by Dave Leval on Jul 31, 21:41

    Canyan Linderman loves football, especially for East High School. “It feels amazing to put on the wings,” Linderman said, who is entering his senior season at cornerback. Linderman and the Thunderbirds want to improve on last season’s dismal 1-7 record. This year’s team is excited about the upcoming season, and not just for what may […]