I’ve always loved snow and winter in general. The cold and the calming-yet-eerie silence that they bring forces everything and everyone to be still, even if just for a moment. Back in 2006, during the Christmas break, the Snowpeak Ruins from Twilight Princess served as a digital playground of everything I loved about the winter months.

Realm of Memories is a series where we reflect on our absolute favorite moments in The Legend of Zelda games. These could be the times we first fell in love with a game, were moved by the events of the story or actions of a character, felt triumphant when overcoming a tough boss or challenge, or we had an experience so unique that the adventure truly became our own. The Zelda series has touched our lives in many ways, and just as Hyrule has endless stories to share, so do our writers!

Snowpeak itself was intriguing with its chilling atmosphere, visuals, and music, but the ruins brought all of those to a much more captivating (and at times dangerous) level.

Seeing the state of decay the building was in made me obsess over the mystery surrounding this place. Who built it? Why has it been seemingly abandoned? And, once I made my way into the center room and kitchen, why do the yetis live there now? Did they kill the people who lived here? Are they actually bad guys? So many questions and I had not actually started exploring the dungeon yet.

Things got underway after I talked with Yeto and Yeta, and learned more of their predicament. I felt bad for them, especially poor, sick Yeta, though I still suspected them of foul play. At least from what she told me I now had confirmation of a shard of the Mirror of Twilight was somewhere in the mansion.

She gave me the map to the dungeon, which was nice of her. Getting the map so early and by having it handed to me was another clue that this was not going to be a typical dungeon. That being said, I still followed it to where the Big Key was supposed to be without really questioning it.

Link is not amused.

After finding a stupid pumpkin, which Yetis apparently store in treasure chests for some reason, I returned to the odd couple to figure out what was happening. In the back of my mind, I already knew I was playing the role of grocery shopper for them, but I still hoped they weren’t being jerks to me.

Yeta thought it was odd that a pumpkin was in there. I thought it was odd that she thought it was odd. Why wouldn’t she know where she kept her own produce? Who is this negligent with their vegetables? Do yetis even eat pumpkins? Why am I talking to yetis about pumpkins? Why can these Yetis even talk? So many questions to add to the list.

Despite my confusion, I pressed on. I was enjoying the dungeon too much. It was unique. The puzzles were clever, the enemies, such as the obnoxious Chilfos, were actually not effortless to defeat, and the whole place was a beautiful mix of creepy and wintry. Once I got the Ball and Chain and started to shatter everything in sight, I was having a blast.

I got one more soup ingredient (which I’ll admit did help create a great healing item), and afterward finally found the Boss Key. Yeta met me outside the entrance to their bedroom to lead me to the mirror. We got inside. She waddled over to the mirror. All she had to do was grab it and hand it to me. As the following cutscene played, with all the creepy music and unsettling sound effects from Yeta included, I thought I had made myself ready for the obvious fight to come.

I… I wasn’t ready.

It was then that I felt like Link and I must have made terrible life choices to lead us to this moment. I shook off the shock, equipped the Ball and Chain and prepared for what was going to be a very dicey and icy battle.

Phase one of the fight didn’t take much. It was a lot like curling, except with, you know, a giant ice monster. It went smoothly and quickly moved onto phase two. 

This was the more interesting part of the battle. It also has my favorite battle theme for any Zelda boss ever. I dodged the ice the best I could, but I occasionally had to mutter to myself whenever I was hit thanks to the loss of traction. There was nothing I could do about the obligatory slipperiness of the stage, so I just pushed through until I finally dealt the killing blow to the demonic ice sculpture.

I felt bad as I listened to Yeta scream while she returned to normal. I honestly felt bad during the whole fight. Sure, she had turned into a monster and was trying to kill me, but it was the mirror’s fault, not hers. Also, let’s be real, I was Link, so there wasn’t a chance of things ending well for her.

At least she was safe now. Though Yeto, who could have appeared at any other time to help, of course only showed up in time to witness what (as far as he could tell) was me beating up his defenseless wife. I was just glad he was more worried about her than he was angry at me.

They had their incredibly-awkward-to-watch romantic moment, the Heart Container shot out of… somewhere, I picked it up, and quickly took my leave of the overly tender scene. 

The Snowpeak Ruins fascinated so much, I was actually sad to move on. All the dungeons in Twilight Princess had been really good, but Snowpeak definitely set the bar high. I teleported away from my icy paradise, but secretly hoped I would have to return at some point.

By the way, yes, the title is a bad pun.