A snowball war is raging in Edmonton this weekend as more than 100 teams compete in Canada's first Yukigassen championship.

Yukigassen is Japanese for snow battle, and Japan is where the format for the snowball fights originates.

One of the teams taking part qualified at a Yukigassen tournament in Saskatoon in January, but most competitors are new to the sport.

The snowballs in the tournament are pre-made to a uniform size, and novices have been surprised at how hard they are.

Organizer Dave Hennessey says the snow in Western Canada is very cold and very dry, so the snow has to be warmed and a small amount of moisture is added to make the snowballs hold together.

Many of the balls this weekend are so solid that you can stand on them and they don't break, so competitors typically wear helmets and goggles.