Arctic Winter Games walk-out gear officially unveiled

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And so we now know what Team NT will look like when the opening ceremony for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse gets underway on March 15.

The official walk-out uniform was officially unveiled at the Sport North office in Yellowknife on Feb. 13 with the figure skating team of Brooke Vallis, Sarah Campbell, Emily Hazenberg and Victoria Hamm getting the honour or being the models.

Team NT's Arctic Winter Games figure skating team of Brooke Vallis, left, Sarah Campbell, Emily Hazenberg and Victoria Hamm model off the official walk-out uniform that the team will wear during the opening ceremony in Whitehorse when the Games begin on March 15. The uniform was officially unveiled at the Sport North office in Yellowknife on Feb. 13. James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Team NT’s Arctic Winter Games figure skating team of Brooke Vallis, left, Sarah Campbell, Emily Hazenberg and Victoria Hamm model off the official walk-out uniform that the team will wear during the opening ceremony in Whitehorse when the Games begin on March 15. The uniform was officially unveiled at the Sport North office in Yellowknife on Feb. 13.
James McCarthy/NNSL photo

The uniform this year was designed by Karbon Clothing, based out of Concord, Ont., and features a royal blue jacket and fleece with fluorescent yellow trim along, a charcoal toque and fluorescent yellow pants. There’s also a hoody with a northern lights design which serves as an accompaniment.

Another Northern touch is the wolf fur trim on the jacket hood, which was once again supplied by the GNWT’s Genuine Mackenzie Valley Fur Program.

Doug Rentmeister, Team NT’s chef de mission, said he liked the finished product as soon as he saw it.

“It took about two to three weeks of negotiating with Karbon and a number of people in town,” he said. “Once we figured it out, we followed through and we have a finished product.”

While the negotiating took less than a month, getting the design down pat took a bit longer, he added.

“We usually start this process about a year in advance,” he said. “It becomes a challenge because you don’t know what it’s going to look like. You don’t see samples of the finished product but we’re very pleased with the finished product and so are the kids.”

The reason it takes so long to get the finished product? All about making sure the product is unique and distinctive, said Rentmeister.

“You want to come up with something that hasn’t been done before,” he said. “If something has been done before, it’s relatively easy to do the next time but if you have something unique, it can be a crapshoot because you don’t know what the final product will look like.”

Rentmeister had the final say on the uniform but he said he consulted with his assistant chefs de mission and some athletes before making the final decision.

In her opinion, Hazenberg said she likes the whole get-up.

“I love it, it’s really great,” she said. “The hoody is different but I think it looks super nice and when you see it in a crowd, you’ll definitely know it’s us.”

This will be Hazenberg’s first time competing at the Games for real; she was an alternate on the figure skating team two years ago.

She said the feeling of walking out for the first time will be something beyond anything she’s experienced before.

“I’m imagining it will be super fun and I’m going to be really happy and blessed that I get to do this,” she said.

There were other athletes on hand to see the unveiling, such as Hawk Williams Ellis, who’s competing in snowboarding.

His honest assessment? He likes most of it.

“It looks pretty nice but I’m not feeling the inside fleece, though,” he said. “I’ll probably be trying to trade that. I like the fluorescent accent, the fur and the bright snowpants.”

Speedskater Kali Skauge is also a big fan of the snowpants.

“They’re definitely growing on me,” she said. “When the first plans were released, I was very skeptical and I was planning on trading this year but now that I’ve seen them in person, with the fur and everything together, it looks a lot better.”

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