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The Starks of Winterfell are, no doubt, Badgers at heart because every UW student knows the grim truth of Madison: “Winter is coming.” Ice and frigid temperatures loom large in the UW legend. To make the bleak months of January and February (and March, April, and sometimes May) pass more pleasantly, the Wisconsin Hoofers host Winter Carnival, and the group has done so since 1940. But the carnival predates the Hoofers organization, which was formed in 1932. The event — originally called the Ice Carnival — dates back more than a century, to at least 1916. Early carnivals included skating, snowball fights, and ice boating. Participants prayed to Ullr, the Norse snow god, for plenty of powder, but he didn’t always oblige: the 1925 carnival, for example, was postponed three times and then canceled. There were toboggan slides down Observatory Hill, and in 1919, the Department of Athletics built a ski jump down Muir Knoll. It was the ski jump, in fact, that helped to bring Hoofers into existence. After the jump was removed in 1931, the newly formed Hoofers raised money to build a replacement that was installed in 1933. The Hoofers eventually took charge of the festive winter event. Today’s carnival includes ice golf, broomball, and a snowshoe hike/cross-country ski trek from the Memorial Union Terrace to Picnic Point.

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