The Norwegians love their winter sports, especially at the Holmenkollen Ski Fest the day of the men’s 50km Cross Country Ski Race.
It’s a day where you want to get to the metro station early to catch the “Holmenkollen Express” taking people to the ski fest. It was jammed packed!!
At the arena, the cross country stands are crowded and the hillsides are filled with people watching the race as the skiers wind their way throughout the country side.
The History of Cross Country Skiing
The word “ski” comes from an old Norwegian word meaning “stick of wood”. Cross country skiing was used as a form of travel in countries with much snow. Soldiers also traveled that way during war as early as the 13th century. Over the centuries, cross country skiing evolved from a regular means of transport to a recreational activity and sport.
The first Winter Olympics was held in 1924 in France. Nordic skiing, which includes cross country skiing, was a part of those games. The International Ski Federation (FIS) is the governing body for international winter sports. The organization has held competitions since 1925.
The History of the Holmenkollen Ski Fest
The Holmenkollen Ski Fest was first held in 1892. Events included in the Holmenkollen Ski Fest are cross country, ski jumping and Nordic combined. Cross country and ski jumping include competitions for both men and women. The Nordic Combined is only for men. In the Nordic Combined, the same individuals compete in a jumping competition and a cross country ski race. But these are not the same jumpers as I watch in the World Cup ski jumping.
The Cross Country Ski Race at the Ski Fest
The big day at the ski fest for the Norwegians, as some call the “Party Day”, is the day of the 50km men’s cross country ski race. I watched my first live cross country ski race last year at this event. It takes about 2 hours for the race to finish. There are six laps in the race and for those of us sitting in the arena, we see the competitors twice each lap. The start and finish are also located in the arena. The picture below shows the competitors going up the hill in the arena with the Holmenkollen ski jump behind them.
This year’s 50km race was a very close race! After all that distance, a French skier and a Norwegian skier ended in a photo finish!! The FIS video below shows how close the race was. The entire clip is about 2 minutes in length. If you are interested in just seeing the photo finish, start at about 1 minute into the video. The photos are great!!
Today’s featured image for the post is a picture taken of the ski jumping arena after the cross country ski race and before the start of the World Cup ski jumping competition. It had been a cloudy day, the clouds were moving out and the blue skies were starting to be seen.