15 Ways to Make Snow Fall this Winter

Try these rituals alone or by layering them into a full-blown request for snow. And please note: Though these are fully researched ceremonies and rituals that have worked for generations of snow-lovers the world over, your individual results may vary.

Burn an effigy

How to make snow fall - Burn an Effigy - Courtesy of Ice Creek Lodge
Photo courtesy of Ice Creek Lodge

You’re protesting the lack of snow, so show the snow gods you mean it. “Our community does this every November,” says Courtney at Ice Creek Lodge, a British Columbia backcountry lodge that skiers and snowboarders rent for a week at a time to get some of the word’s best snow. “Russ (my husband and lead guide) builds a Stumpy throughout the week — a skier made from logs — and sacrifices it in a fire to Ullr so that Ullr sends down the snow.”

This can work in reverse, too — just to keep the snow gods happy through showing your gratefulness:

“We do this at Ice when more snow is needed, or when there is so much snow that we just do it as thanks.”

Dance for Ullr and Skadi

The gods like a little entertainment, too, and they may reward you for the effort. Ullr and Skadi — the god of snow and goddess of skiing, respectively — have crept from ancient Norse mythology into the hearts and culture of the winter sports enthusiast world. While there doesn’t appear to be a specific routine to the footwork to make the dance effectual, many sources claim that flailing arms and legs gathers more attention (and more reward) for the work. Another point to keep in mind: Ancient cultures rarely performed their tribal dances solo, so the more people you can gather in this wild dance, the more the gods will take notice.

How to make snow fall - dance to Ullr and Skadi

Play the “Heikki Lunta” Song

In line with Ullr and Skadi, we have Heikki Lunta (or “Hank/Henry Snow” for us English speakers). Though not exactly steeped in ancient mythology, Heikki does come with some solid tradition created under the influence of the heavily-Finnish culture of the Upper Peninsula (a.k.a. the “UP”) of Michigan.

According to the 1970 legend, Heikki was the savior of an annual snowmobile race located in the UP. It was in that year that the people of the region, a region which found itself suffering from a serious lack of snowfall, felt that the annual race may not happen at all. Local culture site, Yooper Steeze, relates the story as follows: “To increase support, radio salesman David Riutta wrote the ‘Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song.’ This song created the fictional Heikki Lunta as a creature that lived in the backwoods of Tapiola, twenty miles south of Houghton, and would perform a dance to make it snow. The song went on U.P. airwaves and was a success, and incidentally it did snow that year, causing the snowmobile race to be postponed on account of too much snow.”

Consequently, a second song was recorded for Heikki, asking him to stop dancing so the snow would also cease. Both songs were recorded onto a record, one side with the snow-request song and the other with the snow-cease song.

Lesson: Learn reasonable limits and play the record accordingly.

Sacrifice Your Rock Skis

How to make snow fall - Sacrifice things

All gods love sacrifices. It could be your skis from last season or your mom’s old snow parka — whatever it is, make sure it had plenty of good snow days in its lifetime, then toss it into a blazing bonfire. As with the other rituals above, make sure it’s not a solo sacrifice; invite your snow-loving buds to cough up some gear for the sacrificial event, too.

Note: Pairs well with the “Pray” ritual, below; simply utter the words before tossing items into the flames.

Book a Ski Vacation Somewhere Else

Another self-sacrificing ritual: supernatural requests rarely come easy. If you’re experiencing a miserable snow season so far, it’s time to book a flight that’s experiencing a bountiful season. Without fail, your home mountain will get dumped on while you’re gone, and your vacation locale will suddenly experience January-thaw type weather. Though you may be left without any benefit, your friends back home will be lauding you for your sacrifice.

Buy a Giant Ionizer

If scientists can make it downpour 52 times in one Abu Dhabi desert summer, you can use the same tactic for your winter precip needs. All you need is a 33-foot tall ionizer and a few million dollars. And though the cost may seem prohibitive, just keep in mind that like all ski and winter gear, it’s an investment — you can probably get at least a few season’s use out of that ionizer.

Participate in a Mass Tribute to Winter

Snow festivals have grown into the hot ticket event in nearly every snow-ladened town since their British Columbia beginnings in the 1800’s. These festivals are usually filled with a variety of events showing appreciation for frozen H2O and often come with many rituals that request the continuation of such throughout the season. Some places take their snow so seriously that they hold not one, but three winter festivals every season.

Take Nelson, BC and its Whitewater Ski Resort, for instance. A mountain town comprised mostly of skiers and snowboarders with a resort that relies entirely on natural snowfall, it makes sense that the area would increase their insurance of steady snowfall with additional winter tributes.

The first, hosted by the city of Nelson and its surrounding Kootenay Lake neighbors, is the “Winter Kickoff” a week-long, pre-ski season tribute to the winter culture and activities of the region.

How to make snow fall - Whitewater Ski Resort - Photo- Gina Begin
Make a fool of yourself — the snow gods love that stuff. Photo: Gina Bégin

The next two are held throughout the balance of the season at Whitewater Ski Resort, just a few minutes from town. The weekend “Winter Carnival” is a gathering of townspeople in true Nelson-eclectic delight, filled with maple syrup candy, costumes, giant snow sculptures, mindless dancing to local bands, a feast, and a fire — both for marshmallow roasting and in the form of a mountain torchlight parade. The last event, “Coldsmoke Powder Fest,” is a tribute to all the season’s goodness — past, present and to come. Avy courses, workshops, ridiculous (and legit) races, more mindless dancing and feasting, and the crowning of King and Queen of the weekend’s antics all happen during this tribute.

It’s often snowing during these two festivities, a testament to their sway over the Ullr, Skadi (and maybe Heikki Lunta, if he’s visiting BC).

If your town hasn’t picked up on this ritual, head to Nelson to do your research, then carry the tradition back to your town. The snow gods will be grateful.

Wear Your Pajamas Inside Out and Backwards (and other timeless rituals)

There are rites of snowfall passage that have carried on from our grandparents’ grandparents and beyond. Children hoping to skip school because of a snow day (and adults hoping for the same from work) swear by these small acts of winter encouragement. Try out one of the below:

    • Sleep in pajamas turned inside out and backwards
    • Throw ice cubes in your toilet or at a nearby tree (one for each inch of snow required)
    • Hang a spoon on your nose, stick it in the freezer until there’s frost on it, then sleep with it under your pillow
    • Freeze a white crayon and sleep with it under your pillow (might as well double it up with the spoon, above)
    • Shake every snow globe you walk past (better yet, buy one so you always have one handy to shake)
    • Donning only underwear, run around your house several times, then lay on the cold ground while pretending to make snow angels
      • more discreet version: run around your kitchen table five times while chanting, “I want it to snow, I want it to snow.”

Start an Outdoor Project

The snow gods have a sense of humor, and its at our expense. But you can use this to your advantage if you play it right. Murphy’s Law comes into focus here: start any sort of serious-looking outdoor project that requires fair-weather — buying paint for your house, washing and waxing your car, building a fence, planting tomatoes, etc. — and you’ll find that as soon as you’ve purchased supplies and are just getting underway with the project, the skies will cloud over and snow will descend upon your attempts. To do this right, just make sure it’s something you don’t really care about; you just need to put on a show for the gods to make it appear to be a serious undertaking.

Joke’s on them when they deliver the goods!

Pray

Prayer 1:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord lays the snow down deep
Please give me a snow day before I wake
So I can have big snowmen to make.

Amen.

Prayer 2:

Oh Lord, let it snow.
Let it drift and let it blow.
In the morning, no real fuss,
Just enough to stop the bus.
Enough to make the county say:
“There will be no work today.”

Amen.

Prayer 3:

Come snow! Come snow!
Fall fast, fall slow
be it powder or crud,
Let the inches be shown
Come snow! Come snow!
Blessed ULLR bestow
Make white our peaks
Make full our bowls
Come snow! Come snow!
From here to fro
Let the snow god be praised
Let his gifts be shown.

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Although she’s a Florida girl, exploration called her away after the final bell of her high school career. Leaving home to journey westward alone, she chased the sun to Utah. Over the years, she was consumed with skiing, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and getting lost on back roads. But exploration continued to call. After closing her bakery — which funded college courses and adventure — she stored her possessions and hit the road again, on a quest to reach the distant places of North America. For three years she lived in her little Mazda 3 and skied the backcountry of Alaska, slept under the northern lights in the Yukon Territory, ice climbed Colorado's frozen canyons and rock climbed across the continent, photographed Nova Scotia’s coves, backpacked in southern US wildernesses and munched on sugared tamarindo in the jungles of Mexico. But living in a car started to feel limiting, so after seeing the many glories this continent had to offer, she chose the only place fitting for an explorer to spend a lifetime of wild wonder: British Columbia. Dual citizenship in hand, she settled along the Powder Highway in the Selkirks and is now making her home between four walls and deeply wooded mountains. When she's not playing the part of a photojournalist, Gina can be found collaborating with women worldwide through her nonprofit, Outdoor Women's Alliance, and working to improve her outdoor skills and wilderness safety certifications.