It may look like a prime spot for a snowball fight, but on this beach in Finland the fun is only in the viewing.

When an amateur photographer went for a walk on Marjaniemi beach earlier this week, they witnessed a rare and surreal natural phenomenon.

Risto Mattila and his wife are now considering themselves among the lucky few who have been blessed with the chance to see thousands of “ice balls” covering a stretch of shoreline on Hailuoto Island.

According to weather experts, the balls are formed when pieces of ice are buffeted by wind and rough waters. Mattila says that some of the frozen spheres were the size of soccer balls.

Hailuoto island, which sits between Sweden and Finland, is not the only frigid region to create such a breathtaking phenomenon, but Mattila feels lucky to have witnessed for the first time such a thing.

“That was an amazing view. I have never seen anything like this during 25 years living in the vicinity,” Mattila told BBC. “Since I had a camera with me I decided to preserve this unusual sight for posterity.”

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