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Yukigassen (which translates to “snow battle” in Japanese) is a professional snowball-fighting match that involves the frosty slaughter between two teams of seven on a field of snow.

When everything accumulates a healthy layer of snow, it’s only natural to smoosh a handful of the stuff into the vague semblance of a ball and hurl it at a friend. Call it child’s play, intuition or old-fashioned fun. Or replace its spontaneous nature with a set of meticulous guidelines and call it yukigassen.

With the goal of grabbing the other team’s pennant at the opposite end of the field or tagging opponents out via a clump of flying snow, the game borrows elements from dodgeball and capture the flag: If you’re struck by a snowball then you’re toast, and if your team’s flag is captured then your whole team is toast. Each nine-minute match is divided into three grueling sets that are won by either having the most players left when the

  • Words:
    Amy Woodroffe

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