Riley Thompson can’t believe his luck. After years of detentions for his favorite winter activity, this 10-year old from Okanagan Falls finally gets to throw snowballs without reprisal. Where does he get to indulge his guilty pleasure? At Apex Mountain on April 2.
During the last weekend of the ski season and spring break, Apex will host a ‘snowball fight’ to introduce the Okanagan to Yukigassen – the latest winter craze to hit Canada.
Yukigassen (pronounced yew-kee-gah-sen) means ‘snow battle’ in Japan where the sport originated. “It’s the winter equivalent of Paintball and Dodge Ball,” said executive director of Yukigassen Canada based in Penticton, Carrie Ferguson.
A typical match pits two teams of seven against each other on an official snow court. Each team is armed with 90 Yukigassen snowballs as they enter the battlefield to capture the flag of the other team. The sport is open to men and women and boys and girls aged nine and up. All players wear helmets and face shields and only official Yukigassen snowballs are used for the safety of participants.
Everyone is welcome to try their gloves at Yukigassen during ‘Learn’ament hosted by Apex Mountain that day. The equipment is provided and the event is free. This will be the last chance to try Yukigassen this season but Ferguson said not to worry, it’s just a taste of what’s to come.
“Next year, Apex will host a fully sanctioned Yukigassen tournament where the winning team will qualify for the Canadian National Championships in Edmonton. ”Teams can register for next year’s Yukigassen qualifier at the ‘Learn’ament.
Thompson may not be old enough for the championships but he said he’ll be at the ‘Learn’ament.
“I can’t wait to try Yukigassen!” said Thompson.
The snowball fight is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.