Life along the ‘løyper’

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Ski trails are called løyper in Norwegian, and around 2,500 kilometers of them surround the Norwegian capital. Many of those around Holmenkollen, in the hills above Oslo, are being used  in the ongoing FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, and they currently have a life all their own.

Here come the men competing in Sunday's 30-kilometer pursuit. PHOTO: Torgeir Stenstad

As the world’s best skiers continue to race over them this week, teams of volunteer “course guards” are doing their best to preserve them for the athletes while also accommodating hoards of spectators. That includes lining the løyper with fir branches, set out in nothing less than what one course guard called “military precision.”

Morning sun breaks over Zone 9, near Frognerseteren. PHOTO: Torgeir Stenstad

Lots of snow and consistently cold temperatures have helped crews preparing the trails, but the weather hasn’t only been nice.

Heavy fog dramatically cut visibility during the women's 15-kilometer pursuit over the weekend. That's ski queen Marit Bjørgen out in front, while spectators lined the trail. PHOTO: Torgeir Stenstad

Meanwhile, some hardy spectators and committed sports fans have pitched tents in the woods and are camping out for the duration of the world championships.

Organizers of the world championships, called "Ski-VM" in Norwegian, designated special areas where die-hard skiing fans could pitch their tents. PHOTO: Torgeir Stenstad

It’s a cold and less-than-comfortable existence, but a long tradition at Norwegian ski races.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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