Author

Serine Reeves

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The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics have been held in Fairbanks every year since 1961, drawing contestants from many surrounding villages. Gathering to play games and celebrate with storytelling, dancing and sharing of food is an ancient tradition of Native people of the circumpolar north that lives on today through the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. An athlete participates in the one-hand reach at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Courtesy World Eskimo-Indian Olympics Drummers perform at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Courtesy World Eskimo-Indian Olympics The games were designed to hone and test skills required to survive in the Arctic. The four-man carry tests the strength required to haul game, wood, or ice for long distances. The ear pull tests the endurance required to tolerate frostbite pain. The Indian stick pull tests the grip required to grab a fish by the tail, and the greased pole walk tests the balance required for crossing creeks on slippery…

Anglers line the shore of Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage. Courtesy Ken Graham/Visit Anchorage The thought of king salmon fishing usually conjures images of casting off the shore of a remote river, or trolling behind a boat surrounded by wilderness. But in Alaska, you don’t need to travel any farther than downtown Anchorage, the state’s largest metropolis, to catch a king. Just a few blocks from downtown, with high rises on the horizon, anglers cast a line from the shores of Ship Creek to catch a salmon. Local outfitters rent gear and sell licenses to travelers. Even for those who don’t enjoy the sport, it’s fun to take a short walk from downtown Anchorage to watch the combat fishing. Every summer, the city of Anchorage celebrates with the annual Slam’n Salm’n Festival. It’s hosted by The Bait Shack and benefits local nonprofit organizations. Anyone who enters the derby has a…