Nuuk readies to host the 2016 edition

Next Arctic Winter Games set for Greenland

James McCarthy | FAIRBANKS, ALASKA
March 31, 2014

The responsibility for hosting the next Arctic Winter Games in 2016 now belongs to the world’s Northern-most capital city.

Nuuk, Greenland, will be the host in two years’ time and showed everyone what the city is all about during a special launch party in Fairbanks, Alaska, March 20.

The evening featured musical performances, the unveiling of the slogan (Join, Feel, Jump) and an introduction to what Greenlandic culture is all about.

Nuuk Mayor Asii Chemnitz Narup said the city is getting very excited, even with two years left to go before the show begins.

“We have learned a lot from the people in Fairbanks and we have a very good team of staff who are working on everything,” she said.

“I’m quite sure we will succeed in hosting and I know everyone is working hard. It’s a bit overwhelming, maybe, but with determination and co-operation from the Arctic community, it will be good.”

The games have been in Greenland before as part of a joint bid with Iqaluit in 2002.

It’s no secret now that five sports – gymnastics, figure skating, dog mushing, curling and speedskating – will not be held in Nuuk because the city either has no facility for it, no expertise in the matter or the law would get in the way.

Hockey will be held in Iqaluit after a deal was made with the Nunavut capital to have the girls and bantam boys divisions there but midget hockey is still on the outside looking in.

Narup said she knows the negotiations were tough between the AWG International Committee and the bid committee but she’s happy that the committee, in the end, respected the fact that Greenland could not host those events.

“We have a small population, 57,000 people, spread out all over, and only 15,000 in the capital,” she said.

“We can’t manage what they can do over here (in Fairbanks). I was aware that there were discussions going on about having the sports that can’t be in Nuuk be held elsewhere but that is the internal affairs of other countries and I don’t want to discuss those because I don’t know what has been said.”

Regardless of what happens with the other sports, Narup said discussions should continue between the international committee and the various contingents to figure out how to best manage the games in the future.

“We know they will be able to manage in Alaska and in Canada but the other places will have their challenges and it will be tough but also exciting for the future,” she said.