February 12, 2010

Olympic news and a Welcome to the Sun...

Ok, there are a few things I wanted to mention here, but I'll keep it down to two (since one of them has lots of pics).

First off, the Olympics. As I write, it's quite possible the answer to this ponderance is available...I'm really not interested enough to pay attention to tv times. The question? Who is going to be the final carrier to light the cauldron. I have seen many people weighing in on the matter - Wayne Gretsky, Terry Fox's mother, a holographic representation of Terry Fox (what's that about?), Rick Hanson...etc. Famous athletes. Fair enough...they've worked incredibly hard to reach the heights that they did in their in their professions; these are the faces that represent Canada to the world. But what about the faces who don't usually make it as far as the tv screen?

This is what I think: the torch-bearer for the Olympics hosted in Canada should be someone that represents the normal person. I was never really into sports growing up, but I think it would be great to have the coach who makes it to the rink for 6 am practise, the face who works as a spotter to a kid on a balance beam, the face standing by with a whistle and encouragement, etc. to represent the rest of us who aren't part of the physical elite. Am I really alone in this opinion? When Wayne Gretsky sold out and started putting his face in truck commercials, I think he gave up his right to speak for amateur athletes.

Holy crap! The news just came and announced that a luger (athlete on the luge) flew over the side and died when practising for the upcoming events...speeding down the track at 85 m/hr. OMG...it's heartbreaking! Could you continue with the competition knowing that someone died there on the day the Olympics opened? I think I would just be sick.

Well, I wasn't expecting such a shock halfway through my blog. It's kind of pushed me off track...like the carbides I need replaced on my snowmobile, I'm having difficulty staying on track. I suppose that's ok, though; it is, after all, just a blog.

Alright, done with the Olympics and ready to party it up, 'Pangnirtung style'. Today the schools in town organized a 'Welcome to the Sun' celebration across the ice, and most of the community came out 'to play'. Everyone headed out on their snowmobiles in a caravan-type formation - some pulling kaamutiks, others just packed with passengers.

The drive out was amazing and, honestly, there was one point that just completely gave me flashbacks to 'The Fellowship of the Ring'. Do you remember the scene when the bunch of them were heading through the mountain...snow everywhere...Gandalf the Grey disappears? Well, there was one point where the ice on both sides of the track had smashed up and collapsed during the freezing process leaving just a pitted, cracked, and winding ice path which was elevated about a meter and wide enough only for my skis (and maybe a small kaamutik). One-way traffic all the way.

Along the way, we passed this little team hanging out on the ice. Pang sled dogs have the reputation of being super lazy. In fact, there is some sort Inuktitut expression / local saying that explains it. They only run when they want...day trips'n'all.

When I finally made it to the camp, this is what I found...

Then, more people started to arrive. This picture is the son of one of my students...his parka and kaamiks were so cute!

So then it was time to relax. Have any of you ever hung out in an igloo? It's so quiet and peaceful! I just wanted to stay in there with a hot coffee...there was an exploded can of frozen coke in there, but it just wasn't the same.

And then there was the whole issue of sliding out...

So, I don't know how many of you have read my blog for awhile, but for those you who have, you might remember my entry on Lasaloosie (you can check it out here). These next two pics are of him prepping some tea outside of his igloo...check out the meat speared on the harpoon outside the entrance...and check out that super-warm wolf parka. I've never seen one like it.

So there we were, all gathered and in awe of the sun. We had headed out, south of Pang...down the fjord to the mouth of Cumberland Sound. We were on a ridge which, when you're in the hamlet, blocks the sun. It was 3 o'clock and still bright! At this time of year it's usually twilight at 3!


Although there were a few igloos already, some of the guys set about cutting up snow blocks to make a few more. The kids, of course, headed for the edge of the peak to slide down to the sea ice. It looked like a lot of fun but, you know, I just wasn't up for the hike back up the hill.

So, nope, I didn't go sliding down the hill; this was more my cup of tea...

The guys putting together the igloos were pretty impressive. Check these two out! The snow was so perfect...it really did feel like plaster-type bricks. Each time they had a block in place, they would take out a machete and shave the edges to make a perfect fit. The cracks between the bricks are left there on purpose to fill in with snow later (added insulation).
They start their training young!

So that was it...that was my day. Not so bad...I guess it was worth the mild frostbite on my cheeks and the tingling in my toes and fingers.

And this final pic? It beats my class graduation picture - no contest.


Sarah said...

Looks like an AWESOME Day!! :)

Bonnie said...

Love the photos...spent the last month in Pang and spring is a great time!