Around 5,000 skiers took part in the annual Holmenkoll March ski race in Oslo over the weekend, but that’s a big decline from last year. Organizers fear the late winter discouraged participants from signing up.
Other races have also been hit by the lack of snow earlier in what’s supposed to be skiing season. On January 15, just two weeks before the start of the 44-kilometer Hauern race in Drammen, only 100 skiers had signed up. “We got 400 more in the space of a week, when the snow finally came,” race director Jens Nyhra told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). He noted, though, that in past years, around 1,200 had signed up in advance “and in 2012, we had a waiting list.”
The lack of snow also affects racers’ ability to train adequately before a long race, while others simply lose interest. Other big races like Birkebeiner are also experiencing a downturn in the number of participants.
The traditional Holmenkoll March starts from Sørkedalen and climbs 300 meters up to the lakes known as northern and southern Heggelivatnet, before heading west through the forests of Nordmarka and ending at Holmenkollen. Recreational skiers were advised to avoid the areas and go skiing somewhere else this weekend in weather that was mostly sunny, if windy, and not as cold as the past week.
With skiing season finally in full swing, check out our guide to skiing around Oslo here.