Wedged beneath Holmenkollen…

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MUSEUM GUIDE: Norway’s capital is full of museums, and they’re often in the news. We’re following that news, and aim to focus regularly on a specific museum or attraction worthy of a visit. THIS WEEK: The Ski Museum at Holmenkollen, before it gets too busy with the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships starting in a few weeks!

The Ski Museum survived several years of construction all around it, while the old Holmenkollen Ski Jump was torn down and the new one raised in its place. It’s still tucked under the jump, at the entrance to the tower itself. PHOTO: Views and News

The Nordic World Championships, known as Ski VM 2011 in Norway, are being held in Oslo this year, from February 22 to March 6. The competitions in ski jumping, cross-country skiing and Nordic Combined (a merger of the first two) will all be held in and around the newly modernized “National Arena” at Holmenkollen, in the hills above the Norwegian capital.

Nestled just under the new, NOK 2 billion ski jump built for Ski VM 2011 is Norway’s Ski Museum, which survived years of construction and disruption and now once again offers a history of the sport in Norway. The Ski Museum has a rather unusual location – wedged between the base of the Holmenkollen ski jump and its upwards curve – but shouldn’t be overlooked as it’s worth a visit.

The museum can be described as a tribute to skiing, displaying everything from a glimpse at a pair of 7th century skis to instructions on how to make a more modern pair. It also outlines major accomplishments achieved on skis, for instance how Norwegians Børge Ousland, Erling Kagge, Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen relied on skis during their expeditions to the North and South poles.

One museum highlight was the revelation of the historical importance of skis to the Norwegian military. In 1716, the King of Sweden ordered an attack on Norway and it was the use of skis that gave Norwegian soldiers the advantage in defending the border. This revolutionary kind of military troop became the inspiration for a new type of sporting activity, named “military patrol.” Sports fans may know it better as the “biathlon” – the unique combination of cross country skiing and rifle shooting. Military patrol became an Olympic medal sport in the 1924 Winter Games, and came under its new name in the 1960 Olympic Winter Games.

Crown Prince Olav speaking with Major Ole Reistad, sportsman and Commander of Little Norway in Canada, in 1942. PHOTO: E.B.

As a special addition to this story, a loyal reader has lent Views and News a photograph of one member of the 1928 Norwegian Olympic military patrol team, Major Ole Reistad, speaking with then-Crown Prince Olav in 1942. Readers will notice two pairs of skis in the background. Besides being a sportsman, Major Reistad was the Commander of Little Norway (Lille Norge), Canada, which was a training camp for the Royal Norwegian Air Force during the Nazi occupation of Norway. That’s where this photograph was taken.

King Olav was an avid sportsman himself, and besides being known as the “People’s King” he was known as the “Skiing King.” King Olav was an active ski jumper in his youth – he jumped at Holmenkollen – and was a cross country skier during his reign. An exhibit at the Ski Museum entitled “The Royal Family Skiing” contains many photos and items belonging to King Olav and other members of the royal family. For instance, visitors can see King Haakon’s ski jacket, Queen Maud’s skis, and then-Crown Prince Olav’s barneski (children’s skis) from 1907. King Olav’s personal ID pass for his attendance at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo is also on display.

Finally, after touring the museum, visitors can ride an elevator to the top of the ski jump to observe a breathtaking view of the city and the fjord. Visitors can also stand close to the take-off platform that ski jumpers will be using in a matter of weeks, to look down the ramp and see what the athletes will see. [cincopa AQOALdqUY1eV]

The Ski Museum (Skimuseet)
http://www.holmenkollen.com/eng/The-Ski-Museum (external link)
Open: October-April every day 10am-4pm. (In May 10am-5pm, during summer months 9am-8pm, in September 10am-5pm.)
Location: Holmenkollen ski jump. Take #1 T-bane, direction Frognerseteren, and disembark at Holmenkollen stop. Follow the road up the mountain, past the Skiforeningen building and the Hotel Rica. Go through the tunnel in the Holmenkollen and find the Ski Museum on the other side. It’s a 10-minute walk.
Admission: Adults NOK 100, students and seniors NOK 90, children NOK 50, families NOK 220. (Members of local ski association Skiforeningen are admitted free of charge.)

ALSO IN OUR MUSEUM GUIDE:

Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (HL-senteret)
Nobel Peace Center
Oslo Jewish Museum (Jødisk Museum i Oslo)
Oslo City Museum (Bymuseet)
The Museum of Contemporary Art
The Ibsen Museum
The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (Kunstindustrimuseet)
The National Gallery
Norsk Folkemuseum (The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History)
The Viking Ship Museum
Summertime at The Munch Museum
The Natural History Museum – Botanical Gardens
The National Museum – Architecture
The Kon-Tiki Museum
The Maritime Museum
Oscarsborg Fortress
The Polar Ship Fram Museum
“Be a tourist in your own town”

Views and News from Norway/Isabel Coderre
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