Also known as Ull
, his name means glorious. The Norse
God of winter
. His domain
in skiing did not only include skiis themselves but ski shoes (although I don't quite see how any celestial divination
was needed in these). This domain was more of a "on the side
" job, he was far more important as the god of hunting and winter.
Ullr was always depicted on skiis with a longbow made of yew, Ullr was an honourable God who personified the Wild Hunt that the Vikings not only used for food, but in battle to "hunt" down their enemies and sacrifices. Thus, Ullr was often related to battle and to duels, and would quite often be called upon before them. The Norse would pray to Ullr for a "winter blessing", which generally meant a good hunt to get their hungry people through the winter. In this winter and skiing aspect, he was almost identical to Skadi. The difference being was that Ullr, born to Thor and Sif, was an Aesir, whereas Skadi, born to Thiadi, was a Jotun. Regardless, the two were closely related, hunting together and somewhere along the line they were married.
Ullr gained his death aspect from the fact that in the summer he would travel to Helheim (Niflheim) to live with Hel, daughter of Loki and the goddess of death. Those that died during the winter would be taken to Helheim by Ullr when he left for it at the beginning of Summer (assuming, of course, that they hadn't already been selected to travel to Valhalla by Odin and Freyja's Valkyries). Where Loki was depicted as a malignant trickster, and Hel depicted as the spawn of evil, Ullr was not branded for consorting with these two. He was considered a good and honourable God, and was never at all related to the other two in a negative way.
In Winter, however, he went from consorting with the underground to transcending to the heavens. Odin always left Asgard in the Winter, and Ullr would take his place. When Odin left, he also left Freyja behind, and Ullr would take her in his absence. Although Ullr was considered a good and honourable God, he was not a very cheerful God, and he very rarely bestowed a bounty upon Midgard unless the people prayed very hard; and even then he was known to completely ignore them if he was in a bad mood (which was more often than not). In the Winter Ullr not only took over from Odin, but seemingly absorbed his duties. Where Odin was worshipped as the God of the hunt in Summer, depicted as being the initiator and leader of the wild hunt, in Winter it would be Ullr leading the hunt. Thus Ullr is almost an Odin alter ego; although it is also possible that Ullr is an older Odin that became less important, as in the early Germanic tribes Ullr, not Odin, was the chief God.
Ullr's month was the Yule month, the month before the Winter Solstice. Ullr was absorbed into Christianity as St. Hubert, patron saint of the hunt.