While many Alaskans will be heading to palm tree laden places for Spring Break, a group from the Kenai Peninsula is heading slightly further north to Baffin Island in Greenland and Canada. The group's mission is to gather information and lend credibility to the Peninsula's bid to host the 2006 Arctic Winter Games.
Jack Brown, Community and Economic director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and Andrew Carmichael, Parks Director for the City of Soldotna, will join parents Becky Foster and Pam Howard, whose daughters will be playing basketball at the games. "Our purpose is to make our presence known that we are a serious contender, and discover more about what we need to do in order to attract the bid as well as what type of facilities we'll need to better our chances to host the games in 2006," said Carmichael.
According to Carmichael smaller communities are looked upon favorably as host locations because of the economic impact and a lesser degree of urbanized activity. The proximity of our Central Peninsula schools and ice rinks make the area attractive for the Games says Carmichael, as some 2,000 competing athletes will use the schools for housing. In addition to the athletes, it is expected that the event would attract some 4,000 additional visitors and spectators.
The estimated budget for the 2006 games is anticipated to be between $3.1 and $3.2 million dollars. A significant portion of that budget would come from corporate sponsorship of the Games and the balance is anticipated to be made up from, municipal grants, merchandising and attendance fees.
The Arctic Winter Games historically were started in 1970 and have grown in magnitude ever since throughout Canada and Alaska. The competitions include many traditional winter events such as figure skating, hockey, and skiing, but also include many indoor events such basketball, wrestling and bat-mitten, "Basically the things that people in the great arctic north do indoors that the weather does not accommodate outdoors. So there is a real broad connection of indoor and outdoor sports like dog mushing, snowshoe racing, and biathlon," said Carmichael.
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