EDMONTON — A team of professional snowbattlers from Edmonton is about to represent Canada in an international snowball fight like no other.
“It’s a big snowball fight but it’s a lot of strategy, precision and planning to end up winning the matches,” Terry Chatwin, one of the Edmonton men on the team said.
The two-day tournament breaks down like this: Two teams of seven battle it out in three, three-minute sets. The first team to win two sets wins the match. To win a set a team must either capture the other team’s flag or eliminate all of the players on the other team. Any player struck by a direct snowball is out; a hit by a snowball that ricocheted off an object or another player does not count as a direct hit.
Each team can use up to 90 snowballs in each set, and the snowball preparation is serious stuff. A press is used to pack and shape the snowballs and then the team members take it from there.
Chatwin compares the perfect snowball to a cue ball used in pool.
“We take a lot of time and care into making our snowballs,” Chatwin said. “When we take it out of the snowball maker we use bare hands, pack it and essentially that creates a little ice shield around the outside of it.”
Watch below: 2014 ShowaShinzan International Yukigassen
All of the members of the Canadian Snowbattlers have full-time jobs but they train every weekend. When they first started out in the sport, Chatwin said the team had a “run and gun” style of game, but have since fine-tuned their game to a more patient and competitive approach.
The Canadian Snowbattlers leave for Japan on Tuesday and Chatwin said they’re feeling very confident.
“Every year that we go we get to practice with championship teams before we actually enter the tournaments and it’s huge, it’s a big part of our training,” he said. “Last year we finished 18th place in the world tournament and we expect to do better this year for sure.”
There are more than 130 teams participating this year’s ShowaShinzan International Yukigassen.