Mat-Su will host the 2024 Arctic Winter Games

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 4:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Arctic Winter Games are returning to Alaska in 2024 and will be held in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Valley’s bid to host the games was accepted by the AWG International Committee this week. The borough announced the news on Wednesday and said they’ve been working on hosting the games since 1996.

The biggest hurdle to hosting previously was lack of facilities, but the Mat-Su Borough felt the past 25 years have changed that. The borough pointed to Skeetawk, Government Peak, and the Curtis Menard Sports Complex as big selling points. Skeetawk and Government Peak provide a venue for alpine and nordic skiers while the Menard Center has an ice rink, soccer field, and a 5,000 person capacity.

“I am delighted to hear the news. I believe our community is ready to host an event like this, and that it will be a great benefit to the athletes and our community,” Borough Manager Mike Brown said in a release.

While the AWG International Committee couldn’t tour the facilities in person. They took a look virtually and were impressed by what they saw.

“The virtual tour really wowed me,” AWG’s John Estle said in a release from the Mat-Su. “The enthusiasm from the community and partners was really felt through the entire tour.”

Hosting the AWG is no small task with 2,000 athletes and 2,000 volunteers involved in the week-long event. Countries from across the circumpolar north come to compete in 21 sports, traditional Arctic Sports, Dene games, and regional sports which are still being determined.

The Mat-Su Borough is the fifth Alaska community to host AWG. In 2014, Fairbanks was the last Alaska community to host.

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