Holmenkollen Ski Festival is one totally unique event in international xcski calendar.
For starters, it’s the only 30/50k race on the World Cup calendar and has been so for years. So if you a true fan of long distance skiing – you’d have to come to Oslo – or wait for the World Championships or the Olympics.
Holmenkollen competition trail is the longest, over 5k – everywhere else they typically use something around 3 kilometres. It used to be 25k (!) – but times have changed, clearly.
It’s the only race truly located in the city ( Big Oslo is home to over a million people). For a visitor it means you could be on the trail and waving flag within 1.5 hours of your plane landing at Oslo airport.
The logistics and true , very Norwegian passion for skiing, makes Holmenkolen the most attended race in the world – by far. Crowds up 100.000 are recorded, but the last year there were troubles.
Somehow, a ski race became a must-do event for many a youngster with bottle in his/ her hand. Heavy drinking along the race trail led to fights, transportation nightmares and overall big time head scratching act for the whole of Norway.
This year authorities were taking no chances.
Police presence was beefed up with Army lending its MPs, more or less every Metro train became a Holmenkollen Express to ferry fans. They even moved the race start to 10.00 AM on the premise that people don’t really start drinking THAT early.
Stories of drunken youth misbehaving aside, Holmenkollen Ski Festival is and will remain a must-do for any ski fan. Novelty of experience guaranteed!