Arctic Winter Games

The Arctic Winter Games emerged from an idea in 1967 of then Commissioners James Smith of the Yukon and Steward Hodgson of the Northwest Territories who watched their athletes struggle against southern counterparts at the Canada Winter Games. Smith and Hodgson enticed Alaska Governor Walter Hickel to join this northern circumpolar sporting and cultural event, with a goal of offering appropriate levels of competition for northern athletes who had limited access to facilities and training opportunities.

The first set of Games were staged in Yellowknife, NWT in 1970 and officially opened by former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Games were a huge success with some 500 athletes competing from Alaska, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The AWG are held every two years and now include representation from Yukon, Alaska, Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Greenland, Nunavik, the three Russian provinces of Magadan, Sami and Yamai.

The underlying philosophy of the Games is to involve as many athletes as possible either at the Games or in team trials, and to promote a forum of competition for those other than elite athletes with competitive opportunities in the south. The Arctic Winter Games symbolize athletic competition, cultural exhibition and social interchange.

Upcoming games…

January 29th – February 4th, 2023

in Wood Buffalo, Alberta