• 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

    NTSB works to improve safety in Alaska skies

    by Dave Leval on Dec 18, 22:51

    The National Transportation Safety Board has several new investigators to find out what causes plane crashes in Alaska: There are now four in the Anchorage office after the agency recently added two new people. The two additions include the first female investigator in the state, Millicent Hoidal. “It shouldn’t be a surprise,” Hoidal said. “I […]

  • On-Air

    Get Out: Brett takes a phat ride on a fat ride

    by Brett Shepard on Dec 18, 22:25

    It’s been a bleak winter for snow lovers like myself, but that’s not stopping me from getting out. This week I took part in one of the fastest growing sports in Anchorage. “Everyone has a fat bike now. Anchorage is the mecca of fat biking, so it’s great,” said Will Ross, race director of the Abominable […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Dec. 18

    by on Dec 18, 22:01

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Mostly cloudy skies with some mountain snow and in the eastern Prince William Sound. Southeast Rain towards the south with rain and snow further north. Interior and North Slope Skies will be partly cloudy. On the North Slope skies will be cloudy with scattered snow showers. Mat-Su Valley Mostly […]

  • News

    Early homecoming brings Christmas surprise for Anchorage third grader

    by Heather Hintze on Dec 18, 22:00

    Sounds of Christmas cheer floated through the hallways at O’Malley Elementary School Thursday morning. The students from Renee Hughes’ third grade class, including 8-year-old Emory Fedd, thought the news cameras were there to hear them sing carols. Instead we were waiting for his mom, Capt. Katrina Fedd, home from deployment in Korea. “It’s the holidays. […]

  • News

    New fire station fills gaps in Mat-Su coverage

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 18, 21:21

    There’s a brand new public safety building in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Central Mat-Su firefighters and EMS are packing up and moving in. Station 51 is the borough’s largest: It cost $8 million and has a lot of unique features, including a drive-in apparatus bay for ambulances and fire trucks, a central warehouse for stocking medical supplies and […]

  • News

    Camp grows on sidewalk by Anchorage shelter

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 18, 20:23

    The death of an Anchorage woman in a tent across the street from the Brother Francis Shelter is shedding light on a growing problem — the number of people who camp on the sidewalk directly across the street. Dorothy Kinzie, 47, was found unresponsive in her tent last Saturday. The tent was pitched on the […]

  • News

    TSA rules for smooth holiday travel

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 18, 19:19

    People go through security at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport every day and every day, people get flagged at  the checkpoint. It slows everything down and during the busy holiday season, that’s something the Transportation Security Administration wants to avoid. When it comes to liquids in carry-ons, the TSA prohibits anything larger than 3.4 ounces. Other prohibited […]

  • News

    Laptop drive collects computers for foster kids

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 18, 18:38

    This holiday season, an Alaska group is stepping forward to help give local foster kids a leg up on their education. Facing Foster Care in Alaska — an organization comprised of youth and alumni of the state’s foster care system — recently launched its “Laptops 4 Foster Youth” drive, which aims to provide donated laptops […]