The unofficial sport of the Arctic Winter Games

Pin trading one of the biggest sideshows besides the sports

James McCarthy | Nuuk, Greenland
March 12, 2016
James McCarthy/NNSL photo Ryan Tourangeau of Fort Smith shows off just a portion of the pins he's collected over the years at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 10.

James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Ryan Tourangeau of Fort Smith shows off just a portion of the pins he’s collected over the years at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 10.

Most everyone who comes to the Arctic Winter Games does so to try and win an ulu of some kind.

There are others who not only want to win an ulu but score a good deal on a pin of some kind.

Yes, pin trading is one of the things that makes the Games go around and it’s in full swing this year as well. Some come just to collect a few here and there but there are others who are looking to add to a burgeoning collection, such as Fort Smith’s Ryan Tourangeau. Tourangeau has literally hundreds upon hundreds of pins and he’s added to that collection here in Nuuk.

He said it all began back in 2011 at the Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, B.C.

“I just started trading pins back and forth and picked up the bug there,” he said. “I just thought it would be a fun thing to do while at the Games and it’s just gone from there.”

Of course, trading is the name of the game, but there’s nothing wrong with getting brand new sets to use in future bartering and Tourangeau has done that. He’s managed to get the entire sets from every team that came with a full set.

“I’ll go as high as three pins to get one.”
-Ryan Tourangeau

“NWT, Nunavut, Alberta North, Greenland, Yukon, Alaska and Nunavik,” he said. “Sapmi only has two pins and Yamal didn’t come with much. I’m just trying to collect more sets.”

The negotiation tactic seems simple enough – if someone offers up a trade, he scours that person’s collection to see if there’s anything he needs or doesn’t already have.

“I’ll look and see what’s there and if there’s nothing to complete a set or I already have it, I won’t make the trade,” he said.

Tourangeau also isn’t adverse to trading multiple pins in order to get one he really wants.

“I’ll go as high as three pins to get one,” he said. “I’m also willing to trade set for set if I have more than one.”