Watch the Beauty and Chaos of the World’s Largest Snowball Fight

The event tried to set a Guinness World Record for epic snowball fights.

Snowball fight!
Snowball fight! / svetikd/E+/Getty Images

Saskatoon, a city of about 266,000 people in Saskatchewan, Canada, receives an average of 76.6 centimeters (30.2 inches) of snowfall per year [PDF]. On January 31, 2016, that proved to be enough of the fluffy white stuff to stage what organizers hoped would be the world’s largest snowball fight.

Thousands of Canada’s greatest winter warriors gathered in Saskatoon’s Victoria Park to gear up for the epic battle. The frozen fight was an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest snowball fight on Earth, but it had another purpose as well: it served as the official send-off party for the Canadian team participating in that year’s Showa Shinzan International Yukigassen World Championships, the annual professional snowball-fighting competition.

Filmmakers Preston Kanak and Dylan Hryciuk were on the scene to capture highlights from the event. Their short film, “World’s Largest Snowball Fight,” unfolds in beautiful slow motion, capturing the joy and chaos of the fight. The film starts with the final moments of calm before the battle, and then explodes into action as the air fills with spherical snow.

Not only does the family-friendly fight look like immense fun; the event succeeded in setting the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Snowball Fight (Outdoor), with 7681 participants hurling snow through the air. The film is a lovely tribute to what must have been an exciting day outdoors.

The people of Saskatoon seemed to have lucked out with the quality of snow at hand. Not all snow makes good snowballs: it needs to have the right proportion of moisture. Too wet and a snowball will be an icy (and potentially dangerous) projectile; too dry and the snowball won’t hold together. If the snow in your region is typically powdery, try lying on top of it to warm it up and thus increase its moisture content before assembling your arsenal. Here are more tips for making the perfect snowball.

A version of this story was published in 2016; it has been updated for 2023.