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FAIRBANKS — The Arctic Winter Games International Committee can expect a warm welcome in Fairbanks.
Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell was scheduled to join a community reception for the committee Wednesday evening at the Big Dipper Ice Arena as part of three-day visit to Fairbanks to discuss the city’s bid for the games.
The committee will tour facilities, beginning with an inspection of the Birch Hill Recreation Area where cross-country skiing and biathlon events would be held, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“It’s very important for us to demonstrate that we have the support of the entire community to bring this great event to Fairbanks,” Nancy Veitch Katkin, a member of the Fairbanks Bid Organizing Committee, said last weekend.
The Arctic Winter Games are due to be held in Alaska in 2014, and Fairbanks is the only city that formally bid to host the event.
The committee could formalize the city’s bid during its visit, but it isn’t required to do so. An official announcement of where the 2014 Arctic Winter Games will be held is scheduled for March 15.
Juneau had planned to submit a bid, but could not get borough funding approved so it is supporting the Fairbanks bid.
The Arctic Winter Games are a biennial celebration of sports and culture for northern and Arctic athletes and are designed to bring the circumpolar world closer together.
The first Arctic Winter Games were held in 1970 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The games were held in Fairbanks on two previous occasions, in 1982 and 1988. The games were held in Anchorage in 1974, Chugiak/Eagle River in 1996 and on the Kenai Peninsula in 2006.
More than 2,000 athletes, coaches and other members of the competing delegations are expected to participate in the 2014 Arctic Winter Games, making the weeklong event in March about the same size or larger than the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Events include Native games, Dene games, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing, hockey, badminton, basketball, curling, dog mushing, figure skating, gymnastics, indoor soccer, table tennis, speed skating, ski biathlon, snowshoe biathlon, snowshoeing, volleyball and wrestling.
The 2012 Arctic Winter Games will be held in Whitehorse, Yukon.