When in Oslo, from certain higher locations in the city you will be able to see a very curious building: standing tall on top of a hill, there is the Holmenkollbakken (the ski-jumping hill of Holmenkollen). The arena of Holmenkollen is host every year to two major events from the skiing world: a ski-jumping event and a cross-country race.
If the weather conditions are good, when the ski jumping events take place, you will be able to see jumps as long as 134 meters, with a certified record of 141 meters on the recently renovated hill. The arena itself is open space, so while watching the ski jumping event, you can walk around the arena, and even get into the cross-country one (if you hold a ticket for the event taking place there). When the cross country event is taking place, if you are walking about, you might get a glimpse of the sportsmen, as their route will come close to the ski jump arena several times.
While walking around you can grab some local sweets, foods, drinks or sports merchandise from the little wooden houses that are spread across the arena. Or you can eat some tasty treats from the large interior hall, while sitting at one of the wooden benches that they have inside the hall, with a very nice view of the arena.
You can buy different kinds of tickets and combination tickets for both sports on the official ticketing site: http://skifest.no/. Oh, and in case you have no idea what these sports are about, take a look at this short video and at the official Youtube channel of the Ski federation.
But, when at Holmenkollen, you can do more than just watch the sporting events. You can learn about the history of the sports by visiting the Holmenkollen Ski Museum. It is found beneath the ski-jumping ramp, and it’s about a five minute walk away from the ski-jump arena (just follow the signs).
The exhibitions in the museum present the 4000 year history of how human kind learned and progressed in sports where different kinds of skis are used. You can see the evolution of the skis, from old wooden ones, to the modern ones, even some used recently by sportsmen in official competitions (watch out for the autographed items). You will also see the evolution of the ski-jumping sport, in really old images, taken when jumps were only 20m long. Or when, while taking off from the hill, the jumpers would hold their legs tight together (as opposed to today’s V shaped posture).
In case you cannot visit the museum, you can find the images and stories behind the exhibitions online, here.
As an added bonus, from within the museum, but only during the days of the year when no ski jumping event is taking place, you can even visit the jump tower (the one from where the sports people will take their jumps). Apart from this restriction, the museum is open throughout the year.
Getting to Holmenkollen is quite easy: just take subway number 1, get off at the Holmenkollen stop, and then follow the road signs. In about 10 minutes you will be right next to the ski jumping hill.