Let’s appeal to the gods for … snow! | AspenTimes.com
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Let’s appeal to the gods for … snow!

Todd Hartley

This is getting ridiculous. Here it is, Nov. 17, and not only has it not snowed in what seems like months, it’s actually been far balmier the last few weeks than it was all summer.

The opening date for Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, which was to have been Saturday, has now been officially pushed back until Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25.

And that’s if we’re lucky.

But nobody is going to be lucky at all unless we, as a community, can figure out some way to make it snow here in Colorado. Thoughts on how best to accomplish that feat range from making everyone get their car washed to insisting that everyone walk around in winter garb, despite the blazing heat.

As there is no scientific proof that either of the above methods brings about a single flake, I have selflessly researched this subject ad nauseam to figure out just what can be done, and I have learned that we have to go right to the source – the “Fjallabok,” or “Book of the Mountain” in Norse mythology.

Now, most everyone knows that Ullr (also known as Ull, Uller and Ullin) is the Norse god of skiing, snowshoes and winter.

He was worshipped in central and southeastern Sweden and south and southeastern Norway, as evidenced by the multitude of sacred places in Scandinavia named after him. (This tradition lives on in the valley in the names of such sacred places as the Ullr Lodge and Ullrhof Restaurant.)

Although little is known of this elusive god, he was once a very prominent deity, with powers surpassing those of even Odin, the Alfather. In fact, according to one tradition, Odin offered Ullr’s favors to those who aided him. Armed with this knowledge, then, it is clear that all we have to do is aid Odin, and Ullr will bless us with his favors.

Unfortunately, Odin is amongst the most powerful gods in any mythology, and it’s hard to imagine that there is anything we mere mortals could help him with, so we would be well advised to seek some other way of ingratiating ourselves to Ullr.

In addition to his duties as the god of winter and related activities, Ullr is also the god of hunting, archery and “coordination with physical skill.”

He is said to watch over those in need (we certainly qualify right now) and often decides the outcome of wrestling matches and fistfights.

Certainly, I don’t want to encourage any fisticuffs just for the sake of snow, but I see no harm in wrestling. Therefore, I propose that Pat O’Donnell or John Norton grapple with the next person in shorts and a T-shirt who says he or she is enjoying the weather. Perhaps if the Skico’s higher-ups can show Ullr just how strongly they feel about winter by throwing some sun-loving passerby into a full nelson, he will finally bring on the cold.

Of course, Ullr was, after all, a Norse god, so there remains a slight possibility that if he were to make it snow, the snow would only fall on the golf course and at Ashcroft, thus enabling Nordic skiing. So, in conjunction with appeasing Ullr, we should also see what we can do to get in tight with Skadhi (or Skaoi), the Norse goddess of the mountains.

Skadhi, like Ullr, is also a skier and huntress, but unlike her male counterpart, Skadhi is well chronicled in the annals of Norse mythology. She is first referred to after the death of her father, the giant Thjazi, when she traveled to Asgard to attack the gods in their home.

Fearing her wrath, the gods sought to appease her by offering one of their number for her husband, provided the chosen one could make her laugh.

So we know that appeasing Skadhi is just a matter of tickling her funny bone, and fortunately, the Fjallabok offers a clue as to how this can be done.

Loki, the god of mischief, made Skadhi laugh “by tying a thong at one end of his testicles, the other to a goat.” Loki made the goat bolt, and then screamed as his privates were yanked on “until he fell upon Skadhi’s knee, in turn making her laugh.”

OK, so maybe Skadhi has a bit of a sick sense of humor, and maybe this is a case of the ends not justifying the very painful means. But if there is anyone out there who is really, really desperate for snow, well, I’m sure we can dig up a goat for you somewhere.

And if you do this, whomever you may be, I promise to be the first to come to the hospital to thank you personally.


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