The towns of Hay River and Fort Smith will host the 2018 Arctic Winter Games.
Their joint South Slave bid has been chosen by the Arctic Winter Games Committee, in a decision announced on Wednesday afternoon.
The Town of Hay River confirmed its bid’s success in a statement shortly after 4pm. Reports had earlier surfaced that the lone rival bid, from the town of Inuvik, had been notified of its defeat.
Hay River hasn’t hosted the Arctic Winter Games since 1978, when it did so alongside the now-abandoned community of Pine Point.
Inuvik has never hosted the Games. Next year’s edition will be held in Nuuk, Greenland.
“The spirit of the Games will flourish in the South Slave. Sporting competitions will provide athletes with excellent opportunities to perform at their best and the talents of the cultural contingents will be recognized with daily performances,” the South Slave’s formal bid book promised.
“Additionally, there will be celebrations of the many cultures of the region, including Dene, Métis, Cree, Chipewyan, Inuit, Inuvialuit, Quebeçois and Filipino residents who call the South Slave home.”
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The bid proposes holding the Games from March 17-24, 2018.
Under the bid’s plans, the Town of Hay River will establish and oversee the main “host society” running the Games, with Fort Smith subcontracted as “partners in this venture … working closely with the satellite communities of Enterprise, Fort Resolution and Fort Providence”.
Eighteen sports are listed in the bid. They range from Dene Games and dog mushing to biathlon, snowboarding, badminton, gymnastics, hockey and curling.
Seven of the sports will be held, at least in part, in Fort Smith. Nine sports will make an appearance in Hay River. The K’atl’odeeche First Nations, Fort Providence, Fort Resolution and Enterprise are also listed as venues.
The bid even suggests using a coach train to ferry spectators from downtown Hay River to the Old Town, in tribute to the “Inuksuk Express” coach train used between Hay River and Pine Point during the 1978 Arctic Winter Games.