President Gerry Thick and Frankie Gordon, Chef De Mission of Nunavik, Quebec, discuss the 2006 Arctic Winter Games on the Kenai Peninsula.
Photo By Katherine Wells
Involved with the Arctic Winter Games since 1984, Gerry Thick, has been the president of the International Committee since 1996, and has been overseeing various responsibilities of the Games throughout the week. The Ulu News was able to catch up with him on Thursday and asked him about this year’s Games and what they mean to him.
Ulu News: Why are you involved with the Arctic Winter Games?
Thick: “Because it’s exciting.” He added that the Games give people from across the North a chance to get involved in the games competition and share their cultures.
Ulu News: What has been your biggest challenge with the 2006 Arctic Winter Games?
Thick: “That’s a hard question. Probably the biggest challenge for me personally has been the travel.” President Thick lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada. He said if he were to fly here from home he would have to first land in Seattle before flying to Alaska. “I end up choosing to drive here most of the time. That’s a long ways. We’ve been here about seven or eight times since 2004. It’s a 15-16 hour drive.”
Ulu News: What has been your biggest joy of the Arctic Winter Games?
Thick: “I have two joys. One was when I saw all those youth marching into the opening ceremonies. It was a good opening ceremoniesa great opening ceremonies. My other joy is going around to the different venues and teams. Talking to these kids and seeing if they’re having a good time. I haven’t met any that have said they aren’t having a good time.”
Ulu News: What has been your biggest disappointment?
Thick: “I don’t really think I have any big disappointments. I only see and concentrate on what the results are. And the results are that these kids come here to this community and they have a great Arctic Winter Games experience. The other thing I like to see is that the volunteers have a good Arctic Winter Games experience. The ones I have talked to are all having a good experience. It’s all part of the program.”
Ulu News: How will the 2008 Games differ from the 2006 Games?
Thick: “The 2008 games will differ because it’s a smaller community hosting the events. There won’t be as much travel in the community. The terrain and scenery are different.”
Ulu News: What has the International Society learned from the 2006 Games?
Thick: There have been a couple of little things. Although the community has done really well in the transportation area, the length of time it takes to go to Alyeska and the amount of time those kids have to travel might be a little long. In saying that though, those kids had a great experience on that hill. And just for an example: most of the Alpine Skiing is over Thursday, there’s only snowboarding happening, and those skiers want to go out skiing again on Friday too. That tells you that even with the travel, it’s not that bad.”
Ulu News: Why was the Kenai Peninsula chosen for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games?
Thick: “The Kenai Peninsula was chosen because they submitted the best bid for the games. The bidding process in Alaska was that communities submitted bids. My committee evaluated the three bids and in that evaluation process my committee chose what they felt was the best bid. I think it was a good choice. I think it’s great that the games are on the Peninsula because we have been able to expand the experience of the Arctic Winter Games to Alaska. A lot of Alaskans previously didn’t know about the games. Now that they’ve been involved they’re going to want their kids to have the opportunity to participate in the Arctic Winter Games, whether its involvement in the trials, volunteering or the actual games.”
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