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Luleå prepares for snowball fight

Published torsdag 3 mars 2011 kl 08.53
"It's great fun but it is also serious"
(4:33 min)
Pictures taken from last year's championship in Luleå. Photo:Jens Bäckström/Scanpix

It's all out war in the northern town of Luleå this weekend as the third annual Swedish snowball throwing championship takes place.

The winning team will go through to next year's world championships in Japan, which is the home of "Yukigassen" or snow battle.

Yukigassen began in Japan in the late 1980's and its popularity has snowballed since then, with one of Sweden's favourite Winter pastimes now an annual competition in countries such as Canada,  US , Australia, Finland, Norway and Sweden, which staged its first national championship in Luleå in 2009.

24 year old Luleå university business economics student Markus Nyberg captained Backyard Porsön to victory in the inaugural Swedish championship in 2009 and then again in 2010 and aims to captain his side to a third consecutive win.

"This snowball fight is about having fun, you get a team and just throw snowballs."

The snowball fight takes place over three sets, with each set lasting three minutes. and is refereed by six officials. There are seven players per side, all wearing crash helmets and the object of the game is to hit an opposing team with a snowball, requiring them to leave the field, or the set is won by capturing the other team's flag.

The 90 snowballs per set must be rolled before the match and are created by a special machine. At last year's competition in Luleå, the temperatures sank to -24 and the snowballs were rolled inside a tent.

However, 26 year old Karin Jonsson, who is the snowball fighting championship's project manager, says the weather this weekend will be perfect for creating snowballs.

"We're told it's going to be just below freezing and sunny. We are hoping for twenty teams to take part.  It's mostly students from Luleå technical university but we're also having some students coming from lund and we're hoping for the locals to join in."

The winners of this weekend's competition go through to next year's world championships in Japan while the team that finishes second qualifies for the european championship in Finland.

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