Ski Bum Advice ~ Poem: The Night Before Skiing

‘Twas the night before skiing, and all through the chalet
All the ski bums were sleeping, resting up to go play;
Their skis were all stacked next to the SUV with care,
With hopes that the Norse snow god would soon be there.

The skiers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of deep pow-pow danced in their heads,
When up in the evergreens there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

A full moon lit up all the new fallen snow
Blinding me for a minute, hot damn what a glow!
When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear,
But a beat up old Subaru, pulled by eight giant reindeer.

With a burly old driver, not some punk ass new-schooler,
I knew immediately this was the legend, the one known as Ullr.
More rapid than a high speed quad, his reindeer they came,
And he whistled, and bellowed, and called them by name.

“Now, Gaper! Now, Ripper! Now, Steezy and Skidder!
On, Park Rat! On, Snowplower! On, Shredder and Jibber!
Back by the hot tub! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Illustration of a car attached to reindeer, like Santa's sleight, flying through the sky.
Night Before Skiing // Illustration by Justin M. Short.

As spindrift that before the leeward wind fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, float to the sky,
So back towards the driveway, the reindeer they flew,
With the Subaru full of tuning supplies, and the snow god Ullr too.

And then, in an instant, I heard by the garage,
The stomping and clamoring from this mythical entourage.
As I stumbled down the stairs to catch a glimpse more,
In strode Ullr through the exterior garage door.

He was dressed in Patagonia, both jacket and pants,
So expensive those clothes, they must have been financed.
A massive bundle of goods he had strapped to his back,
And he looked like a true alpinist as he unshouldered his pack.

The stem of a peace pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the pungent smoke encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a chiseled face, and abs like a wash board,
That rippled as he moved, like a true Norwegian lord.

He was a giant of a man, six foot four and full of muscle,
I nearly crapped when I our eyes locked, with him I would not tussle.
A smirk on his face, and a nod from his head,
Soon gave me the feeling I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, and went straight to his task,
Of waxing all the skis, occasionally taking a pull from his flask.
When finished, he smiled, and flashed me the peace sign;
I gave him a thumbs up, pretending I was fine.

He marched to his ride, giving his team their next order,
And away they all flew, north towards the Canadian border.
But I heard him exclaim, right as they were fleeing,

Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski industry professional. We seriously doubt this will get him nominated as an American Poet Laureate. He writes Ski Bum Advice for the Out There Snow special section.

Captioned as "Uller". Leaning on a bow and wearing ice skates, the god Ullr stands atop a frozen lake. In the background stands a building and evergreen trees.
Norse god Ullr: Friedrich Wilhelm Heine (1845-1921), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Ullr: “A Norse god often associated with winter, skiing and snow sports. Many people refer to him as the God of snow or God of skiing, but according to the Prose Edda, a historical text used by scholars of Norse mythology, Ullr was never given a ‘God of’ title for anything. However, he is recognized for being a skilled skier and hunter, and he is often depicted on skis with his bow. It is even said that the aurora borealis, which dance across night skies in the Northern hemispheres, are the spray from his skis.” (Source:

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