Paul Beaulne of Team Nunavik catches seven feet of air in the Inuit 2-foot high kick.
Photo by Allan Rudisill
The athletes and participants in the Arctic Winter games live in “villages” quite unlike the villages they call home in the Circumpolar North. However, while they may not look like home, almost all the comforts are available.
Several schools on the Kenai Peninsula have been transformed into “villages” where the participants eat, sleep and meet new friends. About 300 are staying at Kenai Central High School, and similar numbers are living at Skyview High School, Soldotna High School, Redoubt Elementary, Sears Elementary, and Kenai Middle School, according to Alan Fields, Accommodations Chairperson.
AWG participants use the internet caf at KCHS
Photo by Allan Rudisill
“We had about 150 school kids stay after school and help set up the rooms and beds. They were really excited about the games after setting up the rooms,” said Fields. There are 25 to 30 bedrooms set up in each of the villages with about 16 beds to a room. The Games purchased six truckloads of mattresses and seven truckloads of bed frames that will be used throughout the games and then given to the Canada Games to be used for traveling athletes this summer.
“These beds will probably make their way to the 2008 Arctic Winter Games to be held in Yellowknife. It’s recycling on a grand scale,” said Terry Brookes, a member of the 2008 AWG host committee.
AWG participants us the internet cafe at KCHS
Photo By Allan Rudisill
The participants were each given a sleeping bag and duffel when they arrived in Kenai for the games. The duffel bags were donated by Coca Cola and the sleeping bags were purchased for the athletes to keep by the Kenai host society. After finding out the bags would not be ready until April, a secondary source had to be found to provide the bags, according to Fields.
“Drivers from Peterkin Distributors drove non-stop from the East Coast to get the bags here on time. They got here on Thursday, the day before athletes got here.” said Fields.
“I have had trouble sleeping,” said Cody Pequeno, a member of Team Alaska. One night a boy was sleepwalking and ended up in his bed by accident, according to Pequeno.
“I woke up and saw a head at the foot of my bed. I thought I was dreaming and went back to sleep,” said Pequeno.
The athletes have cafeterias at some of the villages that provide their meals. About 3,000 meals are served daily at each cafeteria and snacks are supplied for the athletes between meals, according to Fields.
“We are feeding the spirit within!” said Fields. Some of the food was donated by local vendors, such as salmon by Kenai Wild, while the Arctic Winter Games provided the rest.
“The food is good. I feel like I have been eating too much.” said Pequeno. The food is untraditional for some of the visiting participants. The hamburgers, fries and sodas are quite different from the bread and milk eaten in Norway, according to Rolf Morten, a cultural contingent from Team Saami.
“It’s good, but to eat it every day gets old,” said Morten.
The athletes and performers have other comforts of home at the schools. There is a participant’s lounge for the athletes to relax in with couches, magazines, board games and a TV.
“They have even thrown birthday parties in here for the participants,” said Fields.
Homesickness hasn’t been a problem for Pequeno, he is enrolled in Mt. Edgecombe boarding school in Sitka and is used to being away from home. He has been using KCHS’s internet café to e-mail and the internet protocol phone system to call home.
The internet café is open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. for participant use. The athletes and performers use the lab to e-mail, play games and even keep up on homework.
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