The second annual Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge raises $28,000

Unique Iñupiaq traits shake up pastime to raise money for language restoration, culture enhancement and education programs.

A good time for a good cause, the second annual Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge raised $28,000 for the Aqqaluk Trust. The trust is a non-profit organization which provides funding for language, cultural & educational opportunities for NANA’s shareholders.

The event held Friday, March 4, during the Fur Rendezvous celebrations, is a unique combination of golf and Iñupiaq culture. Where else can you golf nine holes in snow?

Eighteen teams of three took to the ice at University Lake to test their snow golf skills. Each of the nine holes are placed 50 to 75 yards apart and the players use brightly colored, limited-flight golf balls. The challenge, beyond just golf in the snow, is incorporating 10,000 years of Iñupiaq culture.  At one of the nine holes, teams wear Eskimo snow goggles at another golfers wear fur mittens.

The event was held at the University Lake SpringHill Suites and included a morning and afternoon round of snow golf, a lot of sunshine, almost as much hot chocolate and a lunch including caribou stew.

In the end, four teams tied with a score of 19 (NANA Management Services, defending champion Bradley Reid & Associates, NANA WorleyParsons and NANA Development Corporation Operations). In order to break the tie each team designated a player to throw a harpoon and whoever was closest to the target won the distinction of Snow Golf Master. Bradley Reid & Associates won the tournament for the second year in a row.

After the winner was determined, each participant took a turn at the Harpoon Hole-in-One contest, vying for a unique piece of art from the NANA region. Jim Coe at Bradley Reid & Associates won the competition. The event concluded with door prizes, while participants learned more about the Trust and the purpose of the fundraiser. 

The next Utukkuu Snow Golf Challenge will take place on March 2, 2012 and we look forward to having even more support next year. Be sure to mark your calendars and go to for more information.

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Tirrell Thomas
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