Snow Rituals

Snow Travelista

By Snow Travelista \ October 27 2015 \ 1 Comment

It's quite astounding the things we do to summon the snow gods. Here are a few a my favorite Utah rituals. . . 

“Snow, snow, snow, snow,” chants the crowd before downing a tiny vat of questionable liquid while facing the slopes, holding one hand on their forehead. “What the heck?” you ask, I’ll explain. When snow doesn’t cooperate (either too much or too little) the Alta Lodge staff performs a ritual called Stabutic.

The lodge isn’t alone in resorting to snow rituals, however. Last December, Sundance locals gathered for a pray for snow event held at the Owl Bar. They brought in Himalayan prayer flags, old ski paraphernalia etc. as offerings.

Even celebrities get in on the action. Outside Online reported that Quinton Terantino and Samuel L. Jackson were spotted burning skis in Telluride, Colorado,“a local actor dressed as Ullr, the Norse god of skiing, snow, and archery, rallied the crowd in what locals refer to commonly as a ski burn—a pagan sacrifice of skis meant to reverse Southern Colorado’s snow drought.”

“Hmmmm,” I thought to myself, “it appears there are two frequent elements to snow rituals, fire and/or alcohol.”

So what’s involved in the Stabutic ritual at the Alta Lodge? It’s a ritual after all and they tend to be shrouded with secrecy. Would they spill the particulars? I decided to ask and luckily they were willing to share all of the details…

On rare occasions when the weather is not cooperating with us, Lodge employees have been known to hold a ceremony that, if done correctly, will change the weather within 24 to 48 hours.  Occasionally, early season guests may be briefly awakened, as the first rays of morning sun hit Baldy Peak, by something that sounds like a party.  Most figure it must have been a dream and go back to sleep. In reality, it was a Stabutic.

First, you need to know that the word Stabutic originally meant “anti-scurvy”.  A Stabutic is a drink with a base of orange juice. On top of the orange juice you float an inch of Bourbon.  The ceremony involves placing your left hand on the top of your head (so it doesn't blow off), facing the mountain as the sun rises, and in unison (however many people are participating), saying "Snow, Snow, Snow" - (or, if you have been having too much snow - "Sun, Sun, Sun"), and then chugging through the bourbon until you hit the orange juice.

The first Stabutic is called "the eye opener", the second is called "the heart starter" and the third is called "the day changer".  After that, no one counts.

Once I stopped chuckling, I wondered what others were out there. I'll admit, I'm ready to see the bases build! Do you know of any snow rituals (preferably the kind that don’t require a blood oath)?

When they deliver a powder day you’ll know where to find me. See you on the slopes!

Erika Wiggins is a writer with a passion for travel, adventure sports, and good coffee. She first visited Utah on assignment to learn to ski. Three months later, she packed up and moved to Utah to ski The Greatest Snow on Earth every season. Today she scours Utah’s ski-scene looking for inspired vacation ideas and tricks to make each visitor’s stay extraordinary. Planning an exclusive getaway or need a resort with childcare or other specific amenities? Ask her for advice. Erika shares tips and inspiration with visitors from across the United States and the world. She is Ski Utah’s travel guru.

Hero Shot Cred

Photographer: Sundance Resort