Yukigassen ( 雪合戦) in Avoriaz

As you stroll through the snow-lined streets of the beautiful, traffic-free ski resort of Avoriaz, situated at 1,800m, you wouldn’t expect to hear too much frivolity or hear the sounds of a roaring crowd, would you?


Snowball fights are nothing new. From an early age, children are mesmerized by snow and, as we’ve seen, this often develops them into world-class Snowboarders and Skiers across a multitude of disciplines. Winter babies, as they are sometimes known can take part in sports such as Alpine Skiing, Freestyle, Slopestyle and more!

It hasn’t however, been truly thought of as a sport.


雪合戦 is the Japanese for “Yukigassen”, which translates literally as Snow (“Yuki 雪”) Battle (“Kassen 合戦”) (or, as we know it, “snowball fight”). Since humans have witnessed snow fall, there have (probably) been snowball fights. However, official snowball fighting competitions (as monitored by governing body the Japan Yukigassen Federation) are being held around the world, and have been competitive since 1988 when the Yukigassen Rules Committee was formed. The inaugural Yukigassen tournament took place in February 1989.

Outside of Japan, it has taken a while for other countries to adopt the official nature of the sport and, indeed, recognise it as such.

  • Finland (1995)
  • Norway (1997)
  • Russian (2006)
  • Australia (2007)
  • Holland (2008)
  • Sweden (2009)
  • Canada & USA (2011)
  • Beligum (2012)

During Winter 2014/15, Avoriaz invited two professional sports teams, the Morzine-Avoriaz-Les Gets Ligue Magnus (a pro ice hockey club) and the Thonon Black Panthers (an American football team), to participate in their match involving 7 players on each squad.

Avoriaz YukigassenAvoriaz Yukigassen


Playing on the 40x10m pitch with a number of barricades (as seen in the video above), the players battled it out to see who would take home the mantle of the first “Yukigassen” match to take part on French ski resort snow. There are a number of rules to be adhered to, further information about which can be found on the International Allicance of Sports Yukigassen pages.

Okay, so maybe not all Yukigassen competitions are quite as energetic, dynamic and brightly coloured as the example hosted by Avoriaz last season, but the resort is set to expand on this for the forthcoming winter, with information leading us to believe that they will be hosting a number of ‘alternative’ snow-based games.


We’re keen to see more, are you?



Jonny Ski Total Bio Pic

Words by Jonny, Social Media Executive
He has worked as a Resort Representative and enjoys
snowboarding through fresh powder with a bluebird sky.