Arctic Circle (Hailfern; ML)
Arctic Circuit (Hailfern; M1)
Marble League 2016; Marble League 2018 (Host); Marbula One Season 1; Marbula One Season 2; Marble League Winter Special
The Snowballs grew up in Hailfern, a small city. In their youth, the city was but a village known for its ski slopes, located in the valley a little way inland of the village. Snowflake, who would later become the team captain, lived on one of the ski slopes in an acacia log house with their parents, who owned the slope and named it after them. Snowflake Slope became a regional tourist destination for marbles. It is believed that the O’Marbles family came up there to ski each winter prior to competing in the Fruit Circuit. They met Snowstorm and Snowblast through the school’s snowtubing club, an afterschool activity where they would travel into the valley and tube for fun. When Snowflake got older, they founded the school’s first ski team. The school practiced on Snowflake Slope and competed throughout the region. The Hailfern Ski Team was competing in the regional finals in Blancouver when Snowflake received news that one of their parents had perished in an avalanche. Snowflake dropped out of the race that they were supposed to compete in and returned home. Snowstorm and Snowblast, to raise support for Snowflake, reached out to the other teams competing. The Blancouver Ski Team, headed by Snow and Snowy, donated their fundraising proceeds from hosting to Snowflake and their remaining parent.
Several months later, the Blancouver Ski Team visited Hailfern for a competition. Snowflake had already dropped out of school to help their surviving parent run the ski lift, but they attended the competition in support of Snow and Snowy’s team. The two, along with Snowstorm, visited Snowflake after the competition, and the four rekindled thanks to their memories of the regional finals. They went out to the slopes, where they rolled together, cruising down the hill in sync with each other. As they ascended up the ski lift at sunset that night, they were ecstatic and promised to meet again. Snowflake’s surviving parent supported their child’s endeavors in marble sports as they got older, which included team competitions. Snowflake eventually rejoined the ski team at their school, and upon graduation, was admitted to the University of Snoronto. They attended university there along with Snow, Snowy, and Snowstorm, where the four competed together in a variety of marble sports. Their coalition, which became known as the Snowballs, became rivals with the school’s other major coalition: the Gliding Glaciers, whose members were all from an island city called Glidavik.
The Snowballs became one of the most popular university teams on the continent, bringing international attention to Hailfern for the first time in centuries. The team’s incoming invitation to Marble League 2016 only added to the excitement surrounding them: the team considered themselves a wildcard pick once learning of their invitation.
The Snowballs were revealed as the 15th team coming to the Marble League and entered the tournament as a counter-pick to more internationally recognized teams. The team finished its inaugural season in a disappointing 14th place, only earning one technical bronze due to a track defect in the Relay Race.
The team entered Marble League 2017 Qualifiers with high hopes, only for those hopes to be crushed, as the Snowballs missed qualifying for the Marble League in 13th place, tied with the Kobalts. After two dismal performances, the team convened to discuss their future. After watching some of the Marble League 2017, the Snowballs competed as an exhibition team in the MFC Championship League. That experience prepared them for the 2018 season.
Back home, Snowblast had built up the Hailfern Ski Team to claim its first-ever regional title. The championship was amidst a rapid expansion of the village in business. One of the largest tenants included a construction company, Arctic Corporation, that was working on an arena and training facility for the Snowballs. The stadium was named the Arctic Circle upon its completion.
The stadium was located on the opposite side of the mountain from Snowflake Slope, facing the new city of Hailfern. During the fall of 2017, Jelle Bakker and Greg Woods visited the facility during their world tour, after meeting with the Royal Family of Snoronto. They liked the stadium so much that they offered the Snowballs the chance to host the upcoming Marble League 2018. In their offer, the team would automatically qualify for the tournament and be able to hold themed events. The Snowballs accepted without hesitation and became the first team to ever host a Marble League.
The team did not appear at the Draw or at Qualifiers, which were held in the Arctic Circle. They recruited Snowblast as their fifth member for the Friendly Round, an exhibition tournament new to the Marble League that year. The Snowballs dominated throughout the tournament, earning first in both the 5 Meter Ice Dash and in the Halfpipe against series mainstays Savage Speeders, O’rangers, and Mellow Yellow. Could 2018 be their year to shine, and do so on their home turf?
The team hung their hopes on Snowflake for Speed Skating after a tough start to the season, an investment that turned out to be more than worth it. Snowflake earned their first bronze medal against Ruzzy from the Raspberry Racers, which happened to be the team’s first non-consolation medal ever. The team rose to seventh place in the standings and faced Team Pursuit next. The event was on the same course as Speed Skating and was a team event, requiring the cooperation of all four team members for the third marble to pass. The team put Snowy in front and Snowflake just behind, making Snowstorm the third marble with Snow as the back marble. Their strategy and speed led the team to their first gold medal. This, combined with Snowy’s fourth-place finish in the Snow Rally, placed the Snowballs second in the overall standings.
These higher finishes during the middle of the season allowed the Snowballs to remain in the top half of the standings and as championship contenders, although the team did not return to the podium afterward. From the Snowboard Cross to the Sand Mogul Rally, the Snowballs earned 30 points to finish Marble League 2018 in seventh place. They were tied with the Raspberry Racers in points but had a gold medal advantage over the team, and were just two points below the Hazers in sixth place.
The Snowballs’ improved season, competitively, was marred by tragedy. During a blizzard in Hailfern, an avalanche slid down the mountain and caused major damage to the Arctic Circle, destroying the stadium and severely damaging the Snowballs’ training facilities. The avalanche occurred during a break in the 2018 tournament, which meant that no marble was present in the stadium. Upon surveying the damage, JMR decided to use the Bakker Bowl as a temporary stadium for the final event, the Sand Mogul Race.
The Snowballs began rebuilding the stadium in early 2019, after participating in the two offseason events. All of the team’s struggles throughout the offseason manifested at the end of January 2019. The team earned only seven points throughout the first three events of Qualifiers, sitting in eighteenth place. Snow placed eighth in the Underwater Race, earning eleven points, but it was not enough to save the team. The Snowballs finished Marble League 2019 Qualifiers in 18th place with 18 points and did not make the cut for what would have been their third Marble League. The team’s accumulation of skills seemed to have melted.
The team learned shortly afterward of the Marble League Showdown and began training for the tournament in their training facility, which had already been repaired. The public heard little from the Snowballs until the Marble League 2019 Showdown. The Snowballs had a lot to prove in not a lot of time, and most fans were expecting the Snowballs to fall by the wayside in favor of the Rojo Rollers, Hornets, and somehow, the Shining Swarm.
The Snowballs’ Showdown showing was one that seemed to flash-freeze the competition. The team earned three medals, one in every event but Collision. Snowstorm earned a bronze medal in the Sand Rally, Snow took the gold in Funnel Spinning, and the team earned a silver medal in Balancing. The Snowballs earned 53 points in the Showdown and won, advancing to Qualifiers at the top of the standings. While training for 2020, the team received an official letter from JMR, inviting the team to compete in the first season of Marbula One. The Snowballs accepted and were represented by Snowy, “Coldest Comet” and Snowflake, “Looming Storm” in the tournament. Snowflake’s acacia log cabin and Snowflake Slope itself were featured in the background of the team’s reveal poster. The Snowballs’ debut in Marbula One would be marked with great success, as the “Coldest Comet,” Snowy, snagged a bronze medal at the Savage Speedway GP, becoming a member of the select club of marbles that had podiumed in their first-ever event in a competition. A week later in Orlango, the “Looming Storm” would get a respectable sixth-place finish at the O’raceway. Little did Snowflake know that those would be their last points all season.
During the break between races, the Snoronto Royal Family held a meeting with the Snowballs organization. The Royal Family was attempting to finish the re-construction of the Arctic Circle, which had still not been fully rebuilt since its collapse during a break in Marble League 2018. There was a lack of funding for the project, and the team would need to acquire some, and soon if the stadium was ever to be fully reconstructed. Coach Blizzard would stay behind during the next few races in an attempt to scour Snoronto for a manager for the team; one who could stay in Snoronto and help oversee the stadium reconstruction. This help would come from Avalanche, a genius marble that had moved to Snoronto recently. Avalanche was from Osnow, a city nearby to Stormholm. Avalanche had worked on designing several facilities and circuits within the area, including the Short Circuit and the Thunderbolts’ Training Facility. They had recently been hired by Mellospace Industries as a professional Marbula One circuit designer but were open to helping the Snowballs organization. Avalanche dedicated a portion of their income to the funding of the reconstruction of the Arctic Circle, and by the end of the Momotorway Grand Prix, it was finished.
Meanwhile, Marbula One was still marching along, and Snowflake managed to grab the Snowballs’ first pole position of the season at the Hivedrive, hosted by the Hornets. Unfortunately, after a mistimed exit off of the Conveyor Belt, Snowflake would fall to fourteenth by the end of the race. They would only muster one spot better at the next race, the Greenstone GP. Snowy did not qualify well for the Short Circuit GP, only managing twelfth, but would freeze the competition as the race went along, and earned the Snowballs their first gold medal in Marbula One! Snowy was undeterred heading into the final race and secured bronze, their third medal of the season. This vaulted the Snowballs to fourth overall, and Snowy to second in the racer’s championship. Snowflake, in contrast, would only finish 27th.
The team returned to Hailfern during the offseason to marvel at the glory of the rebuilt Arctic Circle, which they wasted no time in starting to train for Marble League 2020 Qualifiers. Snowflake looked to redeem themselves in the Qualifiers and would be selected to participate in the Sprint. However, their shaken confidence was revealed in full during the Qualifiers, where the Snowballs failed to qualify after their captain’s shaky performance in the 5 Meter Sprint.
The Snowballs, disappointed with their result in the qualifiers, decided to start their “ColdForGold” campaign with the Minty Maniacs, and supported them during the 2020 Marble League, starting a friendship between the teams.
The Snowballs would again be competing in the Marble League Showdown in 2020, where they opened the season with a fourth in the Relay Race after Snowflake stumbled in the anchor leg, causing the team to drop. This would be the Snowballs’ closest opportunity for a podium, as they did not fare well in the next three events, placing twelfth, eighth, and ninth in the final three events. The Snowballs would finish the Showdown in tenth and be under the presumption that they would be relegated for the next season until it was confirmed otherwise in 2021.
The team returned to Hailfern during the offseason. Following their disappointing Showdown season, Snowflake officially appointed Snowy as the new captain of the team, hoping for a fresh new start and a good result in Season 2 of Marbula One. The team would select Snowy to compete again, and would this time be joined by Snowstorm, “The Unrelenting.”
Before the season’s start, Avalanche, the team manager, received a phone call from Jelle Bakker, asking whether or not the Snowballs would be interested in hosting a Marbula One race. Avalanche accepted the offer and would get to work on designing their best track yet: The Arctic Circuit. At the end of the first half of the tournament, the team sat in fifteenth overall, with 23 points and no medals earned. It was revealed that the Marble League Winter Special would be occurring over the midseason break, however, the Snowballs would not be hosting the tournament. That duty would fall to the Minty Maniacs.
The Snowballs would start the tournament with a respectable sixth in the Ice Dash, where Snowy earned the team ten solid points. The team would not keep the momentum going, however, placing last in the Winter Special, earning a measly 22 points. Demoralized, the Snowballs headed into the rest of Marbula One in poor spirits.
Snowstorm would represent the team at the Raceforest GP, and after qualifying dead last on the grid, they had their best race of the season; scoring 12 points and gaining 11 positions. Snowy would look to continue the momentum at the Momotorway GP, where they qualified third. They’d finish the race in eighth. Snowstorm would fail to qualify once more at the Palette Park GP. Thankfully for the team, this would be the final time that the Snowballs failed to qualify, as they scored points in all of the final three races, with the majority of them coming from Snowy’s seventh-place finish at Midnight Bay. The team would finish the league in twelfth overall, with 57 points.
The team returned to Hailfern as the season concluded, and trained their hearts out at the newly rebuilt Arctic Circle. Avalanche had built extra training facilities inside of the stadium, and the Snowballs wasted no time getting to work with them. It was during one of these training sessions that Coach Blizzard interrupted the team with some breaking news. It had been confirmed by JMR that the Jawbreakers would be retiring from the sport, and would be replaced by the team’s old rivals from university: the Gliding Glaciers!
As the build-up to the Qualifiers began, the Snowballs were invited to take place in a practice race between the teams. Snowstorm was chosen to represent the team and finished the race in a respectable sixth. The Qualifiers themselves would be less respectable: placing eleventh against the Glaciers’ fourth in their Wave face-off, the Snowballs were never in contention for a qualifying spot. Their former Snoronto rivals would qualify for Marble League 2021 and finish third overall; the Snowballs would enter the 2021 Showdown and flounder in inconsistency, earning three medals and placing last thrice. Their two team golds were accentuated by Snowflake’s silver in the Moguls, their first finish on a podium in three years.
Even after finishing sixth overall in the Showdown with 49 points, the Snowballs were not invited to compete in Season 3 of Marbula One, the first time they would miss the tournament since its debut. With an extended offseason in Hailfern, the Snowballs’ public relations would go cold as the tournament approached.
Special thanks to Project Marblearth contributors The Emperor and Stynth for helping craft the lore of the Snowballs.