The leaves are starting to change and fall is approaching so it’s time to start thinking about ski season. What is most important than fresh snow? Nothing. How do we get more snow? Worshipping Ullr has been a popular way for skiers to bring more snow. Are there any other snow gods out there we should worship or learn how not to offend? Let’s take a look at Ullr and the rest of the snow gods and goddesses of winter.
Who are all the snow gods and goddesses?
Here are some popular snow gods and goddesses you can choose to worship or avoid offending. Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, is the most well known of the winter and sking gods. There are many other good snow gods that it wouldn’t hurt to pay homage to this fall. Teamwork is a good thing, right? If one is good, more must be better.
1 – Ullr – Norse God of Snow
Ullr is the most popular snow god associated with skiing. He is the son of Sif and stepson of Thor, God of Thunder. According to Norse scholars and the Prose Edda, Ullr was never actually named god of anything. He was a very skilled skier and hunter. So good in fact, he has gotten the reputation of being the God of skiing and snow. Tradition states that to call upon Ullrs good fortune you should swear over a ring.
There are many festivals across north American ski resorts paying tribute to Ullr. The biggest and most famous being the Breckenridge Ullr Fest that occurs each January. Click here to learn more about Ullr.
2 – Skaði – Norse Ski Goddess – pronounced skahd-ee
Skaði or Skadi is the Norse Ski Goddess. She is sometimes also known as the Viking Goddess of Snowshoeing. She was viewed as a fierce hunter and skier. She was the daughter of the shape shifting frost giant Thiazi and later became the divorced wife of Njord, the Sea God. She liked mountains and didn’t want to live by the ocean. She is also responsible for placing the snake with Venom above Loki’s head which is responsible for earthquakes.
3 – Boreas – Greek God of the Cold North Wind
In Greek Mythology there are 4 wind gods that represent the 4 seasons. Boreas is the god of the north wind or the god of winter. He comes down from the Thrake mountains bringing icy air and snow each winter. He is also known for wrecking the fleet of the Persian king Xerxes off the beach Sepias helping to save the ancient Greeks from Persian invasion. He is also the father of Khione, the Greek Goddess of snow.
4 – Khione – Greek Goddess of snow
Khione or Chione was the daughter of Boreas and Oreithyia, the lady of mountain gales. Not much is said of Khione except that she was one of the consorts or mistresses of Poseidon. She lives a lonely life in the mountain tops and has been known to turn people into ice sculptures from time to time. Definitely not a god you want to anger while out on the slopes.
5 – Heikki Lunta – Finnish God of snow
The story of Heikki Lunta or “Hank Snow” originated from the Finnish settlers in Michigan’s upper peninsula. They didn’t want to worship Ullr so they brought Heikki Lunta from back home in Finland. The legend goes that the 1970 annual snowmobile race hosted by the Range Snowmobile Club of Atlantic Mine was about to be canceled due to lack of snow.
A man named David Riutta created “Heikki Lunta Snowdance Song” and aired it on the local radio. The snow began to fall. Snow levels returned to normal. The race was saved. He subsequently created the song “Heikki Lunta Go Away” after too much snow fell that winter. That song has mostly been forgotten about and should never be heard again. Click here to learn more about Heikke Lunta.
6 – Beira – Queen of Winter Gaelic Mythology
Beira, also known as Cailleach, is a devine old hag known for the creation of landscapes and winter storms. Her name literally translates into “Old hag”. She was responsible for creating the mountain landscapes of Scotland. On February 1st, or Là Fhèill Brìghde, she gathers firewood for the rest of winter. On this day she will make it bright and sunny if she wants winter to last longer. She needs more daylight to gather more firewood to sustain winter.
7 – Morana – Goddess of Winter, death and rivers – Slavic
Morana is the Slavic goddess of death that rules over Earth during winter and gives rebirth to the world in spring. She is somewhat the equivalent of a female grim reaper. During summer she spends her time in hell. She can really understand how hardcore skiers feel during the warm months. She has no children. She is known as the godmother of all Slavic people.
8 – Itztlacoliuhqui – Aztecan God of snow
Itztlacoliuhqui is the Aztec god of frost, cold, sin, death, misery, and lifelessness. His name means “everything is bent by cold” or “plant killer frost”. He is frequently represented by a curved black obsidian stone. He represents the cold and misery of winter that kills everything leaving a miserable cold wasteland. The Aztecs were not a people that enjoyed skiing which could explain that death monster they created for a god of snow. Perhaps it’s best to leave this one alone. You can learn more about this miserable character here.
9 – Khuno – Incan snow god
Khona is the Incan God of Snow and Storms. Legend has it that Inti the Sun God created the coca plant to ease his people’s hunger and give them the energy to work. He asked his wife Mama Killa, the Moon Goddess, to plant it in all the valleys so his people could have an abundance of it.
Khona, the god of snow and storms got upset that people were burning things and melting his snow. In a fit of rage, he burned all the vegetation in the valleys except the coca plants. He left the coca plant so they would have the energy to endure the cold. The moral of this story is that Khuno doesn’t want you to melt snow and gave you coca extract (cocaine) to give you energy and warmth so you leave the snow alone.
10 – Lokul Frosti – Saxon god of frost
Lokul Frosti, also known as Jack Frost or Old Man Winter is the personification of winter. Not really a god for say. He was known to paint the leaves brown, red, and gold in the fall and then paint the frost on windows during the winter months. He is also sometimes known as a giant who guards the mountains.
11 – Shakok – God of winter of the northern mountain – Native American
Co-chin-ne-na-ko, daughter of the governor of Acoma, married Shakok the winter spirit. After he moved in winters became cold and inhospitable. Snow fell harder and stayed longer. Food became hard to grow and scarce. One day while trying to find food in the cold winter misery she ran into Miochin, the spirit of summer. She liked him much better than Shakok. He was warm and nice.
Shakok and Miochin decided to fight to see who could have Co-chin-ne-na-ko. They had a long battler that eventually ended in a truce. Shakok and Miochin decided they would each have Co-chin-ne-na-ko for half a year giving us winter and summer. You can learn more about the story of Shakok here.
12 – Poli’ahu – Hawaiian Snow Goddess
Poli’ahu is the Snow Goddess of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain/volcano in Hawaii. She is the arch rival of her sister Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire. Legend has is that Poli’ahu and her sisters were having a sledding competition down the slopes of Mauna Kea. A stranger approached and asked to join the competition. Poli’ahu won the competition. The stranger revealed herself to be Pele, their other sister. In her rage for lossing she started spilling lava flows across the mountain. Poli’ahu covered the mountain in snow to freeze the lava. You can learn more about the race here.
13 – Dong Da Shen – Chinese God of Winter
Dong Da Shen is one of the 8 members of the godly realm known as the Ba Jia Jiang. They originated from 8 generals who performed exorcisms for the Emperor Wufu. Dong Da Shen is represented by the Black Basalt, combination of tortoise and snake. His godly duties are to threaten and scare prisoners. He is known to have close relations with Chinese and Taiwanese gansters so beware of this one. You can learn more about the Ba Jia Jiang here.
14 – Kuraokami- Japanese Dragon and Shinto Deity of Rain and Snow
Kuraokami, also known as Okami is a Japanese dragon and god of rain and snow. Izanagi, one of the original gods of Japan, birthed a fire god Kagutsuchi. His wife burned up in the process. Izanagi killed his son the fire god and spread his blood across Japan creating 8 volcanoes to torment humans with the fire that killed his wife. To bring balance to the world, the blood still dripping from Izanagi’s sword turned into Kuraokami, the snow dragon. You can learn more about Kuraokami here.
15 – Ao Shun – Dragon king of the northern sea – Chinese
Ao Shun is one of the 4 Dragon Kings of the 4 seas. Ao Shun is known as Hēilóng or Black Dragon, Dark Dragon or Mysterious Dragon. He lives in the North Sea which is known today as Lake Baikal in southern Siberia.
How do you worship a snow god or goddess?
Let’s talk about a few popular methods for worshipping and making offerings to the snow gods and goddesses.
Have a bonfire and do snow dances, sing snow songs. In the long tradition of using smoke and fires to make offerings. Do this before it starts snowing. As we saw with Khuno, melting snow with your fire can offend some snow gods.
Have a few drinks in the name of Ullr and the rest of the snow gods. Don’t go cheap. This isn’t the time for a case of Natty Light. This is serious business. So spend a little and get some quality to show them you really mean it. Look up to the sky at dawn or sunset and raise a toast (or shot) and pray for more snowfall. This can be done on every ski day during apres. Gather some friends on the deck and have a round in the name of your ski day and a few snow gods. It can’t hurt.
Sacrificing money in the name of winter
Go book a ski trip, buy a season pass, get an advance lift ticket, buy new ski gear. The more you spend on winter, the more the snow gods will see your commitment and sacrifice to winter.
Do a snow dance
It can’t hurt. See the video below for an example of the Heikki Lunta snow dance to help get you started.
Doing anything in your bathing suit (or naked) in the snow
Make snow angels before jumping in the hot tub. Take off your jacket and do a little run around the house in the snow. Don’t go crazy and hurt yourself, get frost bite, or get naked in town and get thrown in jail. That might offend the snow gods that you did something that will prevent you from enjoying their snow this winter. Show your love of the cold to get the snow.
Make a snowman
You should never melt snow. Making things out of snow shows your love and enjoyment of snow. What better thing to make than the biggest snowman you can. It was fun as a kid on a snow day. Why not do it now to bring a little love for winter weather.
Attend an Ullr fest
Many ski resorts other than Breckenridge have their own Ullr celebrations. Chances are your local resort or ski area might have one.
When should you worship the snow gods?
If you are really serious about it as soon as winter ends. You should get started by the beginning of fall. You shouldn’t wait for the winter solstice when snow should already be on the ground. Don’t put important stuff like this off for the last minute. If there is no snow yet by the end of December it’s time to kick things up a notch and try to make amends for whatever you did to offend the snow gods.
Endlessrushoutdoors.com is not responsible for any damage you cause to yourself, your property, or others while making offerings or sacrifices to the snow gods.
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About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.