Pin trading an unofficial sport at Arctic Winter Games
Nunavut's ice fisherman pin set a hot property this year
Many call pin trading the 21st sport at the Arctic Winter Games, and some say it's highly addictive.
"Once I realized what it was and got into it, then I really got deep into it," said Gina Kalloch, a pin-trading veteran with 18 years experience.
"I started designing pins myself and so I have pins that are really one-of-a-kind, limited editions to trade. And things really went crazy from there. Now people look for me when they come to the Arctic Winter Games."
It seems simple enough: bring your own pins to the games and start trading with people from around the circumpolar world. But there's strategy, just like in any other sport, and that comes with experience.
"As a beginner, I guess you'd sometimes break up sets," said Andrew Noble of Team Alaska. "But as an experienced person, you'd just trade set for set."
Pin sets are popular. Nunavut's ice fisherman is one of the most sought-after pin sets at the games this year.
"It's got a chain attached to it, basically like he's fishing through the ice, and it's very, very unique," said Mike McPherson, an assistant coach with Team Nunavut.
Pin trading also helps break the ice between the members of different contingents.
"I guess you could call it the cheese to the grilled-cheese sandwich," said Noble. "Pin trading, it doesn't make them interact, but it gives them a good incentive to interact. And it's fun too."