Study Guide

Skadi - Ski Bums

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Ski Bums

Our idea of cozy may be to burrow down and hibernate when winter sets in, but for Skadi and her fellow gods of winter, it's time to par-tay. In Skadi's case, that's because a good snowfall makes for great skiing. For other members of this clique, winter's when they can really let their creative juices flow, stirring up winter storms worthy of the most hardcore ski bum.


Ever experienced the sharp bite of a twenty degree below zero wind chill? No? Lucky you! But if you have, you might have wondered if some nasty force was behind it. The Greeks certainly thought that was the case. Their god Boreas had a very bad temper, and, with all his huffing and puffing, brought winter with him on the North wind. And to top it off, his daughter, Khione, was the goddess of—what else?—snow.

Cailleach Bheur

You know the story about Groundhog Day, right? Quick recap: if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on February 2, we're in for six more weeks of winter. Turns out, the ancient Celts had their very own groundhog in the form of Cailleach Bheur, goddess of winter. She'd emerge from her house on February 1 to gather firewood. If she decided winter was going to last a lot longer, she'd make the day extra nice and sunny so she could gather lots of it. So if you were an ancient Celt, you'd actually wish for nasty weather on February 1, knowing that it meant a quick end to winter.


The Hawaiians have gods and goddesses of the sea, hula dancing, volcanoes and… snow? Crazy, right? But contrary to popular belief, Hawaii's mountains do get snow, and the native islanders had not one, but four snow goddesses. The most important was Poli`ahu, who, like Skadi, had a deep vengeful streak: when she discovered that her lover was already engaged to another woman, she froze him to death. Talk about a frosty temperament!

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