Let the Sacrifices Begin

By Beacon Staff

Ski swaps…check. Warren Miller flick…check. Ski pass…check. Chairlifts load tested…check. The count down to ski season has begun.

This time of year, it’s all about Ullr. Privately, hoards burn boards for him even though fire regulations ban incinerating plastics and fiberglass. Some figure that pitching a snowboard into a fire may spur Ullr to agree with the World Meteorological Organization’s prediction of a La Nina winter—colder and wetter than normal.

So who is the dude who wrangles the undying affection of skiers and snowboarders? Ullr (pronounced Ooooo-ler) is the Norse god of snow. According to legend, Ullr stood high above peers in bow hunts and racing across snow. Powderhounds chant his name at the top of runs and beg him to bless them with profuse snow.

The first of this season’s Ullr celebrations starts with the Ullr Fest on Nov. 17 at the Great Northern Bar and Grill. “If you chumped out and missed last year’s, this is your chance to experience the best pre-season ski party in Whitefish,” says Fred Dietrich, owner of Valhalla Adventures. While you won’t sacrifice a pair of boards to a fire at this raucous celebration, you may pick up prizes–including free cat skiing. Two more snow parties are slated for December: Blacktail Mountain’s Wake Up Old Man Winter Party is scheduled for Dec. 1, followed by The Bierstube’s Annual Pray for Snow Party at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 15

Still need gear? This weekend, you might want to test-drive the new pavement running all the way up Big Mountain Road for Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Locals Only Sale. You’ll find deals on ski and snowboard gear at 20 – 70 percent off this Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 am – 4 pm at Snowghost Outfitters, The Treehouse, and Cabin Creations.

Meanwhile, Ullr has sent a few flakes. “It’s amazing to see the snow gleaming off the new silver chairs,” says Donnie Clapp, Whitefish Mountain Resort’s communications manager. It’s back to watching the webcams for more hints of the season to come.