CEV, Luxembourg. Despite snow volleyball’s relatively new status in the world of sports, it already has its traditions. The most consistent event so far in the sport has been an annual pilgrimage to the small town of Wagrain nestled in the mountains of Salzburg. The first ever official snow volleyball event was held in the region, and has been an iconic tour stop ever since.
This weekend and next, 16 teams of each gender will compete for prize money, glory, and the opportunity to get some snow volleyball experience after a year of ski resort closures. For those of you unfamiliar with the sport, it is played with three athletes per side and uses a softer, heavier ball than on the beach. You can see a full explanation of the rules here:
On the men’s side, the highest ranked team coming into the tournament is the Russian squad of Bakhnar/Daianov/Bobrikov/Mikhalev. Daianov was one half of the team that own the inaugural Snow Volleyball European Championships back when it was played with two-a-side. However, the Italian and Polish teams contain some veterans of the snow that will keep things interesting towards the end of the event.
For the women, Turkey’s Gokalp/Mere/Yalcin enter Wagrain with the most ranking points. The tournament remains wide-open though, and the first snow volleyball event of the season provides a great opportunity for a new team to make a name for themselves.
The first weekend in Wagrain-Kleinarl will feature some of the warmest temperatures we have seen at a snow volleyball European tour event, projected to reach up to 15 degrees.
You can watch the matches stream either on EuroVolley.tv or on the CEV European Volleyball YouTube channel starting at 11:40am on Sunday, February 21. Join the chat live and chat with some of your fellow snow volleyball fans.