Mat-Su Valley to host the 2024 Arctic Winter Games | Sports and outdoors
The International Arctic Winter Games Committee on Thursday awarded the 2024 Games, which will be hosted by the Borough of Mat-Su, according to a press release from the Borough.
Alaska has not hosted the AWG since Fairbanks hosted the weeklong competition featuring athletes from Arctic nations competing in 21 sports in 2014. Alaska has hosted six AWGs in the past , and the 2022 games are slated to begin next year in Grand Prairie Canada.
âWhen I heard about the request to host the Arctic Winter Games, I knew the Mat-Su Borough was the place to be. We have huge outdoor facilities and ski trail networks. Hockey, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, all of those winter events we’re famous for, and I would definitely love to see the sled dog races brought back and the fat tire bike races added as a new event. I am convinced that Borough staff and all of our partners will organize the best winter games ever, âsaid Borough Mayor Vern Halter.
The total estimated amount needed to host the games is between $ 4 million and $ 6 million, and the Borough Assembly voted in favor of the $ 250,000 allotment in February. The newer Alaskan host community of Fairbanks has also donated $ 50,000 of its proceeds to help with the effort, although a large portion of the costs will be covered through grants, sponsorships and in-kind donations. It is estimated that 2,000 athletes and 2,000 other volunteers will converge on the Mat-Su borough for the week of cultural events and competitions. The borough is working with the Chickaloon Village Traditional Council and other tribal organizations to develop the cultural program.
âCongratulations to the MSB for being selected to host the 2024 AWG. The State of Alaska fully supports the borough’s efforts to host the games and we look forward to showing the best Alaska has to offer with our hospitality, competitive athletes and our vast and beautiful state, â said Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer.
When Fairbanks last hosted the AWG, its budget was $ 8.2 million, but only $ 4.7 million was spent on hosting the games. The economic impact of the 2018 games in the Northwest Territories, Canada was approximately $ 38 million.
The borough had been interested in the organization of the games for more than two decades, but did not have the necessary facilities. With the recent construction of the Menard Sports Complex, Government Peak Recreation Area, and Skeetawk Ski Area, the borough won the nomination as the only community in Alaska to apply to host the games. The host community rotates between arctic countries including Greenland, Canada, Yamal in Russia and Sampi in Scandinavia.
âMat-Su Borough’s 2024 AWG candidacy has been extremely professional and well received by the International Nominating Committee,â said AWGIC President John Flynn.
The weeklong games will feature 21 sports, including traditional Arctic and Dene sports, as well as regional sports to be determined. Last fall, Lieutenant Governor Meyer invited the Borough of Mat-Su to submit an application, as it was Alaska’s turn in the rotation to host and no other municipality had expressed interest. .
âThe virtual tour really blew me away. The enthusiasm of the community and partners was really felt throughout the tour, âsaid John Estle, AWGIC committee member.
The Assembly heard presentations by purchasing agent Russ Krafft, who then held the post of deputy director of the borough. Krafft briefed the Assembly on the associated costs and the legacy the AWG has accumulated over 50 years of competition among Arctic nations.
âWe believe that the borough has, with the possible exception of a biathlon range, all the necessary infrastructure to host the games. We have ice, we have Nordic and we have cross-country skiing, we have a lot of gymnasium space in the schools to accommodate all the associated games. The biggest challenge we see with the games will be funding the games, âKrafft said.
Now that the games have been awarded for Mach of 2024, a non-profit organization will be set up to raise funds and prepare for the games. Borough staff can sit on various boards of directors to offer their expertise as well as staff from the towns of Palmer and Wasilla, and a specific page has been created to allow volunteers to register.
âYes, it’s about athletes and sports and thus celebrating the uniqueness of our Arctic community, but it’s also about celebrating and sharing culture and traditions,â said Kim Sollien, Head of Arctic. planning services.