In January 1863, 9,000 men in the US Confederate Army were reprimanded for an epic snowball fight complete with drums and battle flags. The battle started between the First and Fourth Texans but spread to troops from Arkansas and Georgia. The high command, irritated by the number of minor injuries suffered, issued an order 'prohibiting general snowballing'.
In 2006 snowball fights were reported as being banned in North Wales after a boy was arrested for pelting a younger child with snowballs (refrozen to make them harder) and breaking three of his teeth. The government health and safety website counts the banning of snowballs as a persistent myth.
Francois de Bourbon, Comte d’Enghien (1519-46) was a successful General and a friend of Francis I, King of France. Whilst staying at the Chateau de Roch-Guyon in the winter of 1546, d’Enghien got into a snowball fight which got rather out of hand, forcing him to stop for a rest under a window. Someone threw a linen-chest out of the window, and it landed on his head. He died a few days later, on February 26, aged 26.
Yukigassen is a Japanese snowball fighting-competition. It is similar to ‘capture the flag’; players are eliminated when hit with snowballs. Players wear hockey helmets with face shields, and are given a set number of snowballs (90) that are made in advance using a snowball maker.
In 2012, a spokesman for the Environment Agency said Britons could help prevent flooding by building snowmen or giant snowballs. This is becuse compacted snow melts more slowly than snow left on the ground, meaning the impact of thawing ice is more gradual.
He later retracted his comment, saying it was a joke, but according to our calculations, if every man, woman and child in the UK headed over to the River Severn catchment area and spent the day making 10 snowmen each, we could clear up a full 10 centimetres of snow which (apart from the obvious lack of practicality) must be worth a try.
‘Spontaneous snowballs’, or ‘snow rollers’, form without human input when a strong wind blows a small piece of snow that gathers more as it goes. Snow rollers grow until they get too heavy for the wind to move, and can be up to a foot in diameter. Most have a hollow centre as the weak inner layers are easily blown away. The Met office describes the process as 'a natural version of making a snowman.'
Penitentes, (or nieves penitentes) are tall spikes of ice, which grow up to 2 metres, in the Andes. Charles Darwin was the first person to describe them 1839 after seeing them near the Piuquenes Pass between Chile and Argentina. They are named after pointy caps worn by penitents in the Catholic Church.
Handschuhschneeballwe-rfer is German slang for ‘coward’. It means someone who wears gloves to throw snowballs.
A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.
The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.
Handschuhschneeball-werfer is German for 'someone who uses gloves to throw snowballs'.