Arctic Winter Games: ‘We will sell everything as best we can,’ say organizers after cancellation

2020 Arctic Winter Games volunteer jackets in Whitehorse. The jackets are still being distributed this week, and people are being encouraged to wear them next week even though the games aren’t happening. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

It’s like cleaning up after a party — but without the lingering buzz of a good time.

“We’re doing it two weeks early,” said Moira Lassen, general manager of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse on Wednesday, surrounded by unused goods and paraphernalia.

Decommissioning the games — essentially dismantling all the infrastructure and liquidating extra supplies — was supposed to happen after the big event wrapped next week. It’s happening now because officials pulled the plug on the games a few days ago.

“We have a whole bunch of bunk beds for sale,” Lassen said.

“We’re going to send off some of the gifts that the teams were going to get, but those are going at their expense — they’re going to pay for the shipping.”

Moira Lassen, general manager of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games, said it’s been a ‘roller-coaster of feelings’ since the games were cancelled on Saturday. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Racks of volunteer jackets hung on racks waiting to be claimed, as games officials are urging volunteers to wear them next week anyway.

The Däch’äw mascot costume hung lifeless in a corner.

Most of the ulu medals will be melted down, Lassen said. Some will go to the Arctic Winter Games’ international committee.

“So they will put some into archives, because they do have the little 50th [anniversary] logo on it. So it was really like a special medal,” Lassen said.

Other games’ supplies will be sold off at a garage sale.

“We will sell everything as best we can,” Lassen said.

The Däch’äw mascot costume hangs lifeless at games headquarters. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Lindsay Smith, a staff member with the games’ host society, said it’s been difficult to adjust to the cancellation. She said staff worked long hours to prepare for what turned out to be a non-event.

“You know, everything, your whole entire focus has just been on that,” Smith said.

“It’s all building up to the culmination of the games, so to not have that is really hard.”

Most of the unclaimed ulu medals will be melted down, say organizers. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Lassen agrees that it’s been a “roller-coaster of feelings” since the games were cancelled over the weekend. She knows it was the responsible thing to do — and doesn’t feel like everything was a waste.

“We have been on a journey of the Arctic Winter Games — staff and volunteers and as well as athletes — and that is not wasted time. That was an important journey for all of us to go on,” she said.

“And here we are still on it, just in a different direction.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: ‘Shocked and disappointed’: Arctic Winter Games cancelled due to coronavirus concerns, CBC News

Finland: Ice fishing World Championships latest in Finnish series of odd sports events, Yle News

Norway: Norway cancels NATO Arctic military exercise due to coronavirus outbreak, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Coronavirus: Russia hints it might close its border with Norway, Finland, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Concern over coronavirus outbreak impacts tourism in northern Europe and Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: No Alaska dog mushers at next Arctic Winter Games without ‘true competition’, CBC News

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