Ullrism is the study of making it snow. Not to be confused with meteorology (which is the study of forecasting weather), Ullrism is a religion based upon the notion that the ski/snow gods (Ullr, Skadi etc. ) reward those who dedicate their life to skiing/snowboarding (snowsports in general) with more powder.
This if practiced, will eventually become a positive feedback loop, where the higher we prioritize skiing, the more fun the skiing becomes because we are better tuned in and prepared for it. The snow gods then feel all the fun we are having and reward us with even more snow! And more snow =more fun. We are then having so much fun, (skiing so much powder) that it becomes easier to make decisions with skiing in mind and the feedback loop becomes stronger.
This feedback loop and the snow gods provide a source of motivation for progression in doing what we love. In order to progress and ski at our best, one must be functioning at the highest level physically, spiritually and mentally. Skiing is a sport of confidence. If a skier is dealing with stressors from other parts of their life, it can distract them from skiing and skiing their best. It takes away from our confidence. So when we strive to ski our best, we really need to be striving for a life of wellness. AKA Performing at our best on and off the mountain. And in turn we are happier, healthier and more grateful in our lives and therefore more helpful to our communities and the world we live in. And the best part about this, is that by focusing on doing what we love (skiing) is all it takes to achieve this high status. And skiing is a tool that can help us makes gains in all aspects of our lives,physically spiritually and mentally.
Physically it provides a form of exercise that elevates our heart rates, strengthens our muscles, and exposes us to fresh air and sunlight. Mentally it provides a fun place to socialize and hang out with friends, fresh air, making fast decision, producing tons of fun and endorphins and adrenaline. And spiritually it not only provides a motivational system, it feeds our soul. Skiing makes us laugh, cry, shout, lets us fly, float, speed, slide… Skiing brings us to the mountains, where we get to witness alpenglow, see great vistas, feel the ferocity of the wind on our cheeks, and listen to the quiet of a fresh snow falling. It gives us a reason to explore terrain that otherwise would be inaccessible without our ski gear; because of all this, when we ski we are operating at a high energy level, attracting positive energy; which gives us the feeling of freedom, purpose and contentment.
And every now and then, skiing provides the moments of inner surrender and peace. The moments that connect our physical experience with the spiritual. It’s a force that lets us live in the moment. All hands on deck- body, mind and soul.
This might seem a little far fetched for some, but consider this: I am a millennial and millennials are the first generation to grow up without a strong organized religious community and presence. For many millennials we either had a weak to non-existent religious presence growing up or walked away from the one we were born into. This is because there was a paradigm shift at the end of this century in which our society went from relying on religion, to relying on science to provide us with the answers to some of the bigger questions.
As a society we now communicate, guide and relate to others and our surroundings via facts, data and proof, rather then faith, magic and the unseen. In the past, generations were most likely born into an organized religion, that came with a built in set of morals, guidance and meaning for life and community. This shift left us with a more or less blank or murky canvas in which to mold our spiritual beliefs.
We are also however the first generation to grow up with Internet and its bounty of information. Our blank/murky spiritual canvases now are exposed and have access to spiritual ideas and practices that span both space and time throughout history. Which basically gives us endless options for spiritual guidance. In theory this religious freedom is a truly incredible gift, but in reality it can be extremely daunting, exhausting and overwhelming–and personally, left me lost, searching for answers. I didn’t have any foundation to build upon and decision making became incredibly difficult. My lack of belief brought me to a point where the only thing I knew for sure was my love for skiing. For a while, skiing was actually the only thing motivating me to get out of bed. It took hitting rock bottom to realize that believing in nothing also means I can believe in anything I want. This thought combined with the fact that skiing was my only life line brought me to Ullrism.
Ever expanding and spiraling, my practice of Ullrism is in its budding phase. The practice is now heavily influenced by manifestations and is built upon the powers of gratitude, love, inner peace, positive thinking– and of course shredding the gnar.
Ullrism is the ski bums version of living life on purpose, spending our time doing what we love and around what inspires us. This means that you can still practice a form of Ullrism even if skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing. All you have to do, is focus on what you love and dedicate your time to that and everything else will just fall into place. Go on, I dare you, I dare you to have more fun than me! Because what’s the point if you’re not having fun !
The Snow Shrine