Resort sacrifices skis to Norse god of Winter
For more than 30 years, Brian Head Resort has sacrificed skis and snowboards to Ullr, the Norse god of snow. The burned equipment isn’t just an excuse for a party, said Mark Wilder, public relations coordinator for the resort. He believes it works.
“We do it every year, and it pays off every year,” Wilder said Saturday. “We believe in it. We burn skis, snowboards and items like that to ensure a bountiful snow season for us.”
Ullr (pronounced OOH-lar) was worshiped by Vikings and pre-Christian Germanic groups, but in the late 1960s, American skiers started the snow ceremonies.
“Tonight, Ullr will make a presentation,” Wilder said. “He has flaming torches and he comes skiing down in full Viking regalia, so it’s pretty spectacular.”
Saturday's festival included a drum circle, fire dancers, live music and the ceremony itself. Frank Daseler, a visitor from Las Vegas, brought a pair of skis for the pyre.
“I’ve come to offer my skis to Ullr,” Daseler said. “I keep missing the weekend they have the fire, and I knew this was the time for them to go.”
As he walked away and placed his skis in the bin, he muttered, “Offerings to Ullr.” Adam Stoldal had the honor of playing as Ullr for the event. Dressed in furs and a horned helmet, he said he hopes for a snowy winter.
“I will be riding down the hill and lighting the burn barrels once the crowd appeases me,” Stoldal said. “We hope that we have a bountiful winter, a white winter, and that the snow keeps falling.”
Resort guests pounded drums and cheered as Ullr came skiing down the mountain, torches akimbo. Wagner’s "Ride of the Valkyries" blasted over loudspeakers, and Stoldal yelled, “I have heard your prayers, and I say there shall be snow!”