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4000 years of Ski history at the Holmenkollen Ski museum

Ski's used by various famous athletes.

Have you ever tried skiing? Maybe you have been going down the slopes, tried cross country or even tried snowboarding. It all looks very modern and you might even think it’s a sport invented in the last century. This could not be more wrong. The Holmenkollen ski museum displays the story of human kind picking up skiing much longer ago. As far back as 4000 years!

Located underneath Oslo’s ski jump in Holmenkollen the worlds oldest ski museum can be found. Holmenkollen ski museum has openend it’s doors in 1923 and is therefore the world’s oldest museum specialized in skiing. With several exhibitions it covers a variety of topics. One thing is for sure, if you never considered skiing, this modern museum for all ages will definitely make you do so!

Winter joy at Holmenkollen

Vinterglede, as this exhibition is called in Norwegain, is all about the winter joy. Opened in June 2007 on the 1st floor, you can see the many variations of joy the winter and snow brings. Meet great Norwegian skiers from all ages and get a glimpse of the development of the Holmenkollen ski jump over the last century. Yes, the massive ski jump you are under while visiting this museum started out as just a snow jump.

Many great films will show you the joy people and athletes had in the past and present as well as memorable moments in skiing history.

Holmenkollen in 1892
Holmenkollen in 1928
Holmenkollen in 1952 - Olympic Games
Holmenkollen in 1982 - World Championship

Freedom on Snow

This exhibition opened in November 2014 and is all about the freedom on skiing and snowboarding. You get to see gorgeous pictures and video on modern skiing and snowboarding, the history of modern ski- and snowboarding and much more. This exhibition is not only fun for adults but definitely for children too. In fact, you can try to snowboard and ski yourself on the indoor gyro boards! Be sure to check out the film made by Field Productions.

Polar exhibitions

In the Holmenkollen ski museum you will find exciting information and artifacts from some of the most important polar expeditions in history. Even before the opening of the Holmenkollen ski museum, explorers Nansen and Amundsen donated much of their equipment from their expeditions to the Association for the Promotion of Skiing.

Imagine, Fridtjof Nansen went across Greenland on ski’s in 1888. During his expedition he tested various equipment such as ski’s, sleeping bags and boots. Between 1893 and 1896 Nansen and his crew intended to sail the Artic Ocean in order to reach the North Pole expedition using a ship called ‘Fram’.

Between 1910 and 1912, Roald Amundsen was in a race to beat British explorers to be the first to reach the South pole. Amundsen reached the pole on the 14th of December 1911 while the British team, led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott arrived on the 18th of January 1912. The entire British crew perished on their return journey.

Børge Ousland has undertaken several Arctic and Antarctic expeditions and is a modern example of a polar explorer.

The stories of these explorers are incredible and artifacts from their journey, as well as documents can be found in the Holmenkollen ski museum. It’s hard to imagine how harsh it must have been while we stand in a warm and comfortable modern museum.

Polar bears are a real threat during expeditions
Real artifacts from polar expeditions are exhibited

Northern Lights

All over the world people are and always have been fascinated by the Northern Lights. It’s a stunning phenomenon that you don’t get to see every day. In fact, you need to be very close to the earth’s pole’s and even then you need a good dose of luck. No wonder visitors from all over the world flock to northern Norway to experience this bucket list natural event.

In the Holmenkollen ski museum you can watch a documentary that takes you on a journey from myths and early science to our modern understanding of the northern lights.

‘Be prepared’

The exhibition be prepared is inevitable and a must for the Holmenkollen ski museum. So far, my stay in Oslo has been snow-less. And while there are some that believe climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, the fact is that our climate is changing. It has always done, but this time it’s us, humans that cause it. This exhibition show how and what the disastrous outcome can be if we don’t change our ways. The signs are critical and skiing and snowboarding might become a rare sight near Oslo.

Views from the jump tower

Done reading and viewing artifacts behind glass? It’s time to gaze over Holmenkollen and Oslo. And elevator brings you all the way to the top of the ski jump tower. Experience the views an athlete has before he plunges down into the pit filled with people. I’m sure the thought will make you shiver. But I’m also sure you will be amazed by the beautiful panoramic view. See Olso and Oslo fjord in a glimp, look far into the forest, or marka as it’s called in Norwegian and be blown away.

The view from the Holmenkollen ski jump.
Picturesque scenes of the marka (forest)
View over Oslo city and fjord
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