Norse God Ullr: History & Facts

It is believed that Ullr is a handsome winter god known for his hunting prowess, whose mother is the grain goddess Sif and whose stepfather is Thor, the thunder god. Ullr has warrior-like characteristics and is invoked during combat. He was known to reside in Ydalir (Yew Dales) with his wife, Skaði.

Read on to learn more about this obscure Norse mythological character and his modern-day role as the god of skiing.

What kind of god is Ullr?

In Norse mythology, Ullr was handsome, warlike, and an especially suited deity to invoke before a duel. He was known to be an excellent archer, hunter, skater, and skier.

Although not much was written about him, and he remains an elusive deity, it is suggested that he was of particular prominence in relation to other deities.

What is Ullr famous for?

Ullr norse mythology

It has been corroborated by the medieval Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus that Ullr (whose name is Latinized as “Ollerus”) assumed the leadership of the gods when Odin was exiled.

He is often referred to as the god of snow or skiing, but according to the Prose Edda, an ancient Norse text used by scholars of Norse mythology, Ullr was never given a “god of” title.

It is known, however, that he was a skilled skier and hunter and is often depicted on skis with his bow in hand.

Supposedly, the aurora borealis, which dance across the night skies in the Northern hemisphere, is the spray from his skis.

What are Ullr’s powers?

Since Ullr is a Norse god, he is immortal and can only be killed by a sufficiently powerful weapon or an extremely powerful individual. 

As the god of hunting, he can track anything he is searching for, making him quite formidable. As the god of hunt and archery, Ullr possesses extensive combat experience. 

Ullr is also the god of winter and possesses divine and absolute control over winter and snowfall. 

Is Ullr Vanir or Aesir?

It is said that Ullr is Vanir.

Based on the association of Ullr and Ullinn placenames with Vanir deities, it’s suggested that contrary to his placement in the Prose Edda among the Æsir, he was himself one of the Vanir, and the similarity between the Prose Edda description of his characteristics and those of Skadi have suggested so. 

Who is Ullr’s mother?

Sif is Ullr’s mother. Almost nothing is known about her other than that she is the wife of the storm-god Thor.

It appears that her name means “relation through marriage,” so even here, we do not discover any indication of her personality or function – only a family association.

Is Ullr related to Thor?

Ullr is the son of Sif and the stepson of Thor, the thunder god.

In Scandinavia, Ullr was not considered an important god as there are not many records of him. However, Nordic folklore mentions Ullr’s name a few times and says that he sailed across the water on his shield, which they called Ullr’s ship.

There is also mention of Ullr’s ring, which, according to legend, would sever off the finger of the person who wore it if they broke an oath.

Who is Ullr’s wife?

It is said that Ullr married a woman named Skadi.

On her skis, Skadi hunts in the mountains as a goddess of the wilderness. She is the daughter of the giant Thiazi.

Even though she was a giantess, she was accepted by the gods of Asgard when she married the sea god Njord. It is also said that she married Ullr, but it is unclear if that was after Njord.

How do you worship Ullr?

Ullr is worshipped by sacrificial burning.

There is even such a thing as then Ullr fest. Ullr fest is an annual celebration of all things winter and snow in Breckenridge, Colorado.

ullr god of skiing
Ullr, source:

What Rune is associated with Ullr?

The runes Úr and Eoh are associated with Ullr. 

Úr means either rain or the slag from iron production, and although these definitions may at first seem quite random, the handsome hunting god of winter oversees snow which is frozen rain.

Eoh means yew tree and ties in with Ullr’s immortality. As a symbol of immortality and transcendence of time, the yew tree is particularly sacred to the Druids.

Furthermore, as the god of hunt and archery and often invoked during combat, Ullr’s rune eoh carries further significance. A yew tree is an ancient tree that reminds us to look at both sides of a story.

This is both a tree of life and a tree of death that challenges our perceptions. The Hittites of Anatolia (Turkey 1750 BCE) named the yew tree “eya,” which means “touched by eternity,” since it could live for 3000 years.

In addition to this sense of immortality, yew also served as the wood of choice for deadly weapons, such as longbows.


Ana has always been interested in all things Norse mythology, Vikings and tales of ancient Germanic myths. An avid reader of books on Norse mythology, she also enjoys watching movies and TV shows based on Viking culture, and she secretly watched every Norse god-inspired MCU production as well!

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