When Canadians think about the ultimate winter sport, games like hockey come to mind. But in Japan, some people think of an organized snowball fight.
This is not your typical backyard snowball face-off. The snowballs aren't just perfect. There are 540 of them. They were made in a machine and are each 6.5 to 7 cm large.
It's part of a game called Yukigassen, which is Japanese for “snow battle.” The first tournament in North America was held in Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday.
How is it played? Two teams of seven players compete. Each team has a flag, and half of the snowballs, to be used over three periods. There are two ways to win. Either eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with snowballs and getting them “out” or capture the other team's flag.
Yukigassen was invented in Japan more than 20 years ago, but it's just now being established in Canada. More than 150 people, wearing goggles and other protective gear, participated in the Saskatoon tournament. In early March, a Canadian championship will take place in Edmonton.