We just wrapped up our first week in Whitehorse for the Arctic Winter Games. We now have a few days to reflect and finalize plans for the Closing as sporting events take over.
As usual, our journey began with Air North. The moment you board the flight you have entered the North. The hospitality and charm of the staff are unbelievable. This small airline still finds away to provide free meals. Since we were staying for an extended time we opted out of a hotel (not that there were many options available). Instead we have set up PRP-Yukon in the Midnight Sun B&B. It sure makes traveling and working away from home better when you have a comfortable and hospitable place to stay. We have also been able to maintain our value system of ‘eating well’ as Whitehorse has many good restaurants such as G&P, Georgios, Burnt Toast, Antoinette’s, and Sanchez. As we continue our stay we will explore some others.
Besides the good food and the Opening Ceremony the highlight of Week One was finally seeing the Aurora Borealis. I have been to Whitehorse numerous times since 2006 and this was the first time I have seen them. We ventured out to frozen Schwatke Lake to see them. For this trip to Whitehorse it actually has not been that cold. Nothing like the -40 from the 2007 Canada Games. However, our resident South African, Michael, had never been that cold as we stood on the frozen lake.
The Opening Ceremony was a raucous, fun affair at the Canada Games Centre. The athletes are mostly young and we presented a show to appeal to them. Artists such as Madison Dixon and Zipline entertained the athletes with an infectious energy. For a city the size of Whitehorse there is a wealth of artistic talent.
From what I have seen the combination of natural beauty and northern hospitality makes Whitehorse an amazing place. The setting is amazing and people are laid back and accommodating- not a bad combination. Now I need to come back in the summer for those long days.