HistoryHolmenkollen Ski Jump has been the heart of Norwegian skiing for over 100 years.
Ski jumping competitions have been held at Holmenkollen every year from 1892 to 2008. In 2008 the ski jump was re-build and opened again right before the World Championships in 2011. Holmenkollen is regarded as being among the three most famous sports arenas in the world. The ski jump has been re-developed on 18 previous occasions, the last time in preparation for the World Championships in 2011.
Holmenkollen Ski Jump has been the heart of Norwegian skiing for over 100 years. The first ski jumping competition took place on 31st January 1892 when 12,000 spectators were present. The ski jump was constructed from branches and covered in snow. The longest jump was recorded at 21.5 metres and the first hill record was set by Arne Ustvedt. The King’s Cup went to Svein Sollid from Morgedal in the county of Telemark. The current record is 144 meters and was set by Robert Johansson from Norway in 2019. The Holmenkollen Ski Jump is world famous and represents an international symbol of ski jumping and ski sport generally. Holmenkollen Day, which is held annually in March, is regarded as Norway’s ‘other’ National Day, with thousands of spectators and a wonderful atmosphere. The ‘Holmenkollen roar’ unites the crowd across the whole social and cultural spectrum. From the grandstands and Gratishaugen alike, you may hear the cheers of the crowd as the ski jumpers set off down the inrun.
Since the first event in 1892, Holmenkollen ski jump has been re-developed on no less than 18 occasions. Even in its second year, work commenced on developing and improving Holmenkollen ski jump. The landing slope was excavated in order to increase its length. In 1914, the first tower was erected. This was referred to as the ‘Tower of Babel’. The day after the 1927 ski jumping competition finished, the tower collapsed. A new, 19 metre high tower was built and the ski jump was moved backwards by 9 metres. The longest jump recorded on this hill was 48 metres. For the VI Olympic Winter Games in Oslo in 1952, permanent grandstands and a judge’s tower were built. Now a lift was added to the Jump Tower, together with an inrun and takeoff in reinforced concrete. 120,000 spectators attended the large hill ski jumping event during the Olympic Games. This attendance record remains to this day. The new ski jump was tested in March 1951 and during the summer of the same year the Holmenkollen restaurant was opened. The restaurant was a great success and the Holmenkollen facility became an important meeting place, even in the summer. During the World Championships of 1966 and 1982 the facility was further extended. Following these changes, only small alterations have been made before the current major re-development for the 2011 World Championships that is being undertaken by Oslo Municipality. Please refer to the municipality’s website for further information about re-development work.
Holmenkollen ski jump’s predecessors
The first ski jumping event in Kristiania was organised at Iversløkken in 1866. This tract of land was situated north-west of the Old Aker Church towards Sankt Hanshaugen. When the village boys of Telemark jumped, the ski slope came to life. They ‘retracted’ their legs two or three times in the air, letting out Red Indian yowls. This made the crowd wild with enthusiasm. The organisers – ‘Centralforeningen for Udbredelse av Legemsøvelser og Vaabenbrug’ – a 19th century rifle association – established skiing competition regulations. The snow conditions were often very poor and the competition was moved to a different location.
From 1879, the Christiana Ski Club organised a ski jumping event at Husebybakken, also known as Kastellbakken. This was a ‘huge hill’ at the Huseby farm in Vestre Aker. Over ten thousand spectators witnessed the event and King Oscar II himself, together with his entourage, watched the competition from a Royal Grandstand made of snow. During the first years it was Telemark skiing that dominated the competition. This was especially the case with the brothers Torjus and Mikkel Hemmestveit, who won many prizes and were regarded as ‘skiing kings’. Throughout the 1880s, many people maintained that the hill was no longer big enough to cater for skiing events. In addition, there was often an insufficient amount of snow. The most keen enthusiasts began to point towards Holmenkollen.
Holmenkollen skiing events
The first event in 1892 was an 18 km cross-country race on Saturday 30th January and a ski-jumping competition on 31st January. The conditions for the cross-country race were poor and the fall rate on the ski jump was as much as 73%. From 1933 a special ski jumping event was introduced. In 1901, a 30 km cross-country race was added to the programme, which was replaced by a 50 km event in the following year. The Holmenkollen ski jumping event was cancelled in 1898, 1954 and 1994. The 50 km cross-country event was cancelled in 1905, 1909 and 1925. During the war, no regular skiing events were organised at Holmenkollen. The ‘liberation’ event of 1946 attracted vast crowds, exceeding 100,000 for the first time. Competitors ‘wrote’ the symbol H 7 (King Haakon VII) in the outrun and the Holmenkollen skiing event could once again commence in the traditional manner: Long live the King! Slalom and downhill racing were introduced to the programme for the first time in 1947, with giant slalom being added in 1951. The slalom event was organised in Rødkleiva and the giant slalom and downhill events in Norefjell. With the introduction of the slalom event, female competitors were able to join the Holmenkollen skiing event for the first time. In 1954, female competitors were also permitted to compete in the 10 km cross-country event. In 2001, the first female ski jumping event was held.
Some facts about the former Holmenkollen ski jump
Height difference between the upper platform and the outrun: 121 metres
Height difference between the start platform and the takeoff edge: 48 metres
Height difference between the takeoff edge and the outrun: 73 metres
Height above sea level of the start platform: 417 metres
Height above ground of the start platform: 60 metres
Speed of the ski jump: ca. 92 km/h
Duration of glide: ca. 4.5 seconds
Degree of inrun slope: 42.5
Degree of landing slope: 35.5