Snowball fight

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A snowball fight in 1896, Lyon, France - colorized

A snowball fight is a physical game in which balls of snow are thrown with the intention of hitting somebody else. The game is similar to dodgeball in its major factors, though typically less organized.[citation needed] This activity is primarily played during winter when there is sufficient snowfall.

Two examples of organized games involving snowball fights are Yukigassen and SheenAab Jung. Yukigassen (雪合戦) is a snowball fighting-competition from Japan. SheenAab Jung (aka 'Snow Fighting') is played in Jammu and Kashmir of India.[1]


An Italian painting of a snowball fight in 1400.
Children in Europe throwing snowballs in 1785.
A large snowball fight in dry riverbed of Zayanderud, Iran in 2014.
A large, organized snowball fight on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh in January 2016.

Legal prohibition[edit]

In 1472, the city council of Amsterdam allegedly prohibited snowball fights for reasons of public safety, a prohibition which occasionally finds its way into lists of strange laws.[2] The law, if it ever existed, is not presently enforced.[3]

Several localities have passed ordinances prohibiting snowball fights, typically as part of a larger prohibition on thrown missiles. In 2018, the town council of Severance, Colorado unanimously overturned one such ban after hearing from a local youth.[4] Similarly, after its "snowball ordinance" became the subject of national news coverage, the city of Wausau, Wisconsin chose to remove the word "snowball" from a list of dangerous objects specifically prohibited from being thrown on public property.[5]

Large snowball fights[edit]

During the American Civil War, on January 29, 1863, the largest military snow exchange occurred in the Rappahannock Valley in Northern Virginia. What began as a few hundred men from Texas plotting a friendly fight against their Arkansas camp mates soon escalated into a brawl that involved 9,000 soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia.[6]

In his memoir of the American Civil War, Samuel H. Sprott describes a snowball battle that occurred early in 1864 involving the Army of Tennessee. Sprott states that the fight started when Strahl’s Brigade was attacked by a brigade of Breckenridge’s Division, but soon other brigades became involved, and ultimately five or six thousand men were engaged.

On January 29, 2005, a crowd of 3,027 people gathered in the town of Wauconda, Illinois for a snowball fight organized by Bill Lutz, with the town receiving a mention in the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records.[7]

On October 14, 2009, 5,768 people in Leuven, Belgium took part in a University of Pennsylvania-funded snowball fight and broke the world record for the largest snowball fight.[8]

On December 9, 2009, an estimated crowd of over 4,000 students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison participated in a snowball fight on Bascom Hill. There were reports of several injuries, mainly broken noses, and a few incidences[spelling?] of vandalism, mainly stolen lunch trays from Memorial Union. The snowball fight was scheduled weeks in advance, and was helped by the fact that the University canceled all classes due to 12–16 inches of snow that fell the night before.[9] However, this snowball fight failed to break the record set in October of the same year in Leuven.

On January 22, 2010, 5,387 people in Taebaek, South Korea, set the world record for most people engaged in a snowball fight.[10]

On February 6, 2010, some 2,000 people met at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.[11] for a snowball fight organized over the internet after over two feet of snow fell in the region during the North American blizzards of 2010. The event was promoted via Facebook and Twitter. At least a half-dozen D.C. and U.S. Park police cars were positioned around Dupont Circle throughout the snowball fight. Minor injuries were reported.

On January 12, 2013, 5,834 people officially took part in Seattle, Washington set the Guinness World Records record for the world's largest snowball fight, during Seattle's Snow Day.

On February 8, 2013, nearly 2,500 students of the Boston University participated in a snowball fight on Boston's Esplanade facilitated by historic winter storm "Nemo".

Yukigassen (雪合戦) is a snowball fighting-competition originating in Japan. There are annual Yukigassen tournaments in Japan, Finland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

Seattle's world record was broken on January 31, 2016 in Saskatoon, Canada, where more than 20,000 participants came to Victoria park to attempt the Guinness World Record. Rick Mercer was one of the participants who came to shoot an episode about Team Canada's Yukigassen team and compete in the world record.[12] Underestimating the number of participants the event ran out of their 8200 wristbands hours before the competition took place. In total 7,681 participants was the official Guinness record and was achieved by the City of Saskatoon thanks to Yukigassen Team Canada.[13][14]

The event was organized to send off Team Canada for the Showa Shinzan International Yukigassen World Championships, an annual professional snowball fighting competition.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home".
  2. ^ "Verhaal van de Dag: Discussie over vuurwerkverbod? Het kan nog veel gekker!" [Story of the Day: Discussion of Fireworks Ban? It can be much crazier!]. (in Dutch). 29 December 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Agenten en jongeren houden sneeuwballengevecht in Amsterdam" [Police officers and young people have a snowball fight in Amsterdam]. De Standaard (in Dutch). 8 February 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban". BBC. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  5. ^ Stringer, Megan (14 January 2020). "Snowball fights are legal in Wausau after more than a century. You can thank the viral stories". Wausau Daily Herald. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  6. ^ "An Illustrated History of the Fourth Texas Infantry". Archived from the original on 2012-04-14. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  7. ^ "Chicago burb wins snowball record". UPI. 2005-05-01.
  8. ^ "Campus Insight - K.U.Leuven".
  9. ^ "World Records". CNN. 2009-12-09.
  10. ^ "World Records". Guinness World Records. 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  11. ^ Gardner, Amy (2010-02-07). "2,000 join in snowball fight at Dupont Circle in D.C." The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  12. ^ MercerReport (2016-02-10), RMR: Rick at the World Record Snowball Fight, archived from the original on 2021-12-13, retrieved 2018-10-24
  13. ^ "Seattle stages 'biggest' snowball fight". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  14. ^ "Seattle breaks record for world's biggest snowball fight". KOMO News. 12 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Largest snowball fight (outdoors)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  16. ^ "Home".
  17. ^ "Bataille de neige (Short 1897) - IMDb". IMDb.

External links[edit]