Monday, March 9, 2009

2010 Arctic Winter Games Hosts One-Year-Out Celebration

Grande Prairie, Alberta - With only one year left, the countdown is on for the 2010 Arctic Winter Games. The 2010 Games celebrated by hosting an indoor and outdoor event for the family today in Grande Prairie, the host city for next year’s Games.

“Less than a year from today, about 2000 participants representing nine contingents will come to our city for an international sport competition and a friendly exchange of cultural values,” said Debbie Reid, president of the 2010 Arctic Winter Games.

“These Games are already in motion. Athletes are training, performers are rehearsing, our team is planning, and our community and region are preparing to showcase all we have to offer.”

Those attending the afternoon event had the opportunity to view and try out some traditional aboriginal sports. For many, this was their first time seeing some of the Arctic and Dene sports featured in the Games, such as the snow snake, Arctic High Kick, and stick pull.

The celebration also featured a number of cultural performances including singers, aboriginal dancers, and the local band, the Astronotes, whose three young members were Team Alberta’s Cultural Contingent at the 2008 Games in Yellowknife.

There was also an opportunity to sample variety of cultural foods, including bison, which is raised in the area, and purchase local handicrafts.

During a short program, Reid announced the name 2010 Arctic Winter Games mascot, which was introduced to the public late last year. The pachyrhinosaurus dinosaur, which was introduced to the public late last year, was named Aluk (pronounced A-luke). The name was inspired by local school teacher, Al Lakusta, who discovered pachyrhinosaurus fossils in what would become a world-renowned fossil bed just west of Grande Prairie.

Reid said inspiration for name also came from its Arctic references – Aluk is a breed of Alaskan Malamute, as well as the name of an island in the Arctic.

Aluk kicked off the online volunteer sign-up program, which went live today to the public. Several volunteers were already signing up at the event to take part in next year’s Games.

Reid then was pulled on a dog sled from the College through Muskoseepi Park to take part in the outdoor festivities. Dog mushing is one of the 21 sports that will be featured at the 2010 Games.

Participants for the 2010 Arctic Winter Games include teams from Northern Alberta, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alaska, Greenland, the Russian region of Yamal, and the Sami (Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia).

The Arctic Winter Games is an international sport and cultural event that provides Northern youth with an opportunity to participate in a variety of sports and showcase their talents. The 2010 Games will be held in Grande Prairie from March 6-13.

For more information about the Games, go to www.awg2010.org.

For further information contact:
Debbie Reid, President
2010 Arctic Winter Games
Cell: 780-512-6346

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