Arctic Winter Games officials hail Fairbanks plans
Visiting Arctic Winter Games officials converged on Fairbanks this week, saying they like what they've seen so far in preparations for the 2014 games that will take place in the city and nearby North Pole.
Officials gathered Thursday night with members of the Fairbanks Host Society and the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, as well as volunteers and others at Pioneer Park, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/zGgkjz) reported Friday.
Team Greenland's delegation leader, Doug Rentmeister, said he is impressed with what he's seen from the host society's efforts in preparing for next year's games. The biennial circumpolar athletic and cultural event will take place in March.
"They've progressed nicely, with the announcement tonight of how much they've raised and how many volunteers," he said. "There are well ahead of the game."
The host society has raised $1 million from private donations toward the games. The society's budget goal is $1.2 million.
The society also is looking for 2,500 volunteers. Cherie Solie, a host society official, recently said that 1,500 people have expressed interest in volunteering, but only 900 had officially signed up online to volunteer.
The winter games are expected to consist of 2,500 athletes competing in 20 sports. The athletes will represent nine circumpolar delegations. They will come from Alaska, Greenland, Russia, Sweden and five Canadian territories.
The goal of the three-day meeting that began Thursday is to complete plans for the games and to tour sporting and cultural venues.
"Excellent venues," said Gerry Thick, president of the Arctic Winter Games.
The host society's million-dollar goal was augmented Thursday night by a $50,000 donation from Pogo Mine.
Mine spokeswoman Lorna Shaw presented a check to Bart LeBon, treasurer for the host society's board of directors.