Snow Volleyball is a sport played by two teams of three players on a playing court (8 x 16m) divided by a net. The object of the game is to send the ball over the net in order to ground it on the opponent's court, and to prevent the same effort by the opponent.

Each team has three hits for returning the ball.  The usual pattern is dig, set and spike.  The defending team will try to block the opponent's spike as it crosses the net and go to any length to keep the ball off the floor.

The ball is put in play with a service, hit by the server over the net to the opponents. The rally continues until the ball is grounded on the playing court, goes "out" or a team fails to return it properly. In Snow Volleyball, the team winning a rally scores a point (Rally Point System). When the receiving team wins a rally, it gains a point and the right to serve, and the next player moves to serve.

The first team to score 15 points and be a minimum of two clear from the opposition wins a set, and the first team to get 2 sets wins the match.

A team involves three players on the court, plus 1 optional substitute should the team wish. Two substitutions per team per set are possible.

The birth of Snow Volleyball

Like in Beach Volleyball it’s not really clear where it was played for the first time. There is photographic evidence of Volleyball being played in the Snow as far back as 1955 in the Moscow Region. While there were also standalone events in Austria and Switzerland in the 90s.

Whilst Volleyball and Beach Volleyball had been globally popular for over 50 years, the modern snow volleyball movement began in 2008 in the mountains of Wagrain, Austria. The creation of the Snow Volleyball Tour powered by Amway in 2012 with the slogan “Served Ice Cold”, provided the backdrop for the competition among palm trees, hot tubs and cheerleaders in St. Anton am Arlberg in Austria and at Spitzingsee in Bavaria, Germany.

The tour expanded from year to year, resulting with an impressive 6 stops in the 2015 season.  On October 16, 2015, at its Congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) confirmed the addition of the new sport to its official calendar. So the first CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour, taking place under the umbrella of the continental confederation, was held in March and April 2016.

The continent’s best 24 women’s and 24 men’s teams competed at the birthplace of the sport for the first European champion titles, after six European Tour stops and as many as 17 national championships served as qualifying events.

More on the history of Snow Volleyball
1
Austrian Roots

Austria can be known as the home of Snow Volleyball, with the first official event taking place in Wagrain-Kleinarl. 10 years later the first ever European Championship was held in the very same resort.

2
Starting out

For a long period, Snow Volleyball was played 2 vs 2 as with Beach Volleyball. This changed to 3 vs 3 at the start of the 2018/2019 season in a move to make the game more appealing.

3
Kick-off

The first ever official CEV European Tour stop was held in 2016 in Špindlerův Mlýn (CZE), it was followed that same winter with events in Austria and Italy.

4
World Stage

Wagrain-Kleinarl also played host to the first-ever World Tour event, held in late March 2019 and co-hosted by FIVB and CEV. A second such event took place a week later in Plan de Corones / Kronplatz (ITA) with more planned around the world.

5
Olympic involvement

The FIVB and CEV, in close cooperation with the Austrian National Olympic Committee, organised an exhibition match, aka the “Snow Volleyball Night”, at Austria House during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, involving former and current Volleyball and Beach Volleyball star players.

A Beach Volleyball was used initially, however a ball specifically designed for playing in the Snow has been developed and was used in the 2018/19 season for the first time.


Positions:

With Snow Volleyball teams consisting of three players, they are required to perform all aspects of the game.  Teams usually consist of a designated blocker/setter and two players who defend and attack. There is a service order but no rotational faults.