North·AWG 2016

Nuuk officials hope for more snow before 2016 Arctic Winter Games

With little more than a month before the Arctic Winter Games begin in Nuuk, Greenland, preparations are wrapping up. There's just one thing missing.

'We've got plans for what we'll do' if lack of snow continues, says communications officer

City of Nuuk communications officer Lars Damkjaer was in Iqaluit this week meeting with officials before the Arctic Winter Games begin in March. (John Van Dusen/CBC)

City officials in Nuuk say plans are in place in case not enough snow falls before the Greenland capital hosts the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in March.

"Most things are under control," said Lars Damkjaer, Nuuk's chief communications officer. 

"We worked very hard to get the venues ready, to get a biathlon course, for instance. We never had that. But it all looks good now. The only thing that worries us is the lack of snow.

"We have snow machines and we've got plans for what we'll do. Perhaps we'll shorten the courses for the cross-country skiing," he said. 

Damkjaer estimates there's about half a metre of snow in Nuuk, far less than the three metres the city had this time last year.

"The events will be held but we'd much rather have more snow then we've got now," he said.

Snow issues aside, with a little more than a month before Nuuk hosts the games, Damkjaer says a buzz is growing in the city of 17,000.

Around 2,000 people including 800 athletes are expected to descend on Nuuk for the one-week biannual event that has drawn criticism for excluding six sports including curling and speed skating.

That decision was made by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee.

"Whatever Arctic Winter Games decides, that's under Arctic Winter Games organization," Damkjaer said.

Hockey events to be held in Iqaluit

City of Nuuk officials were in Iqaluit this week meeting with officials and touring the arena where hockey events will be held. 

Iqaluit will play host to the games' hockey tournament and is expecting around 180 athletes to fly to and from Nuuk for the opening and closing ceremonies, a cheaper option than building a hockey arena in Greenland.

Chartered flights from Nuuk to Iqaluit will land every 15 minutes at the Iqaluit International Airport, Damkjaer said. 

Nuuk's deputy mayor Annie Iigin Mathewson said in Kalaallisut, a Greenland dialect, that her city is looking forward to the games.

"I hope that the competitors and everyone coming here will have fun and participate fully and compete to their best," she told CBC Nunavut's morning radio show, Qulliq.

As for the snow, she said the day before leaving Nuuk for Iqaluit some had fallen, though she is hoping for more.

"There's no such thing as typical Nuuk weather," Damkjaer said.

"There will be snow. But we'd much rather have more than we've got now."


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