Good reference for Oslomarka skiing:
Skiforeningen's home page
and SF's daily trail conditions, often includes nice JPG pictures--
also Virtual Tour of Marka with Kjentmannsmerket
The full name is "Foreningen til Ski Idrettens Fremme" (federation for the advancement of ski sport). It was founded in 1883 as a federation of ski and other outdoor (friluftsliv) clubs in the Oslo area. SF is responsible for maintaining the 1000's of km of ski trails in Oslomarka, they also run the Holmenkollen ski museum, etc., etc.
There is a good topo map, 50000 scale, of ski trails in Nordmarka and also maps for the other "marka": Østmarka (east) and Vestmarka (west).
I had been dreaming about coming to back to Norway since my last trip in 1996. Finally on the night of Mar 3-4 I flew via Iceland to Oslo's new airport at Gardermoen, arriving at about noon on Thursday. On the train ride to the city I could see that there was a lot of snow and it was still snowing. I could also see ski tracks in the fields. This had been a very poor ski season at home in Nova Scotia. The only skiing I had done was on frozen lakes, and my total was around 100 km. So I was very hungry for snow and skiing. When I finally got to Haraldsheim Youth Hostel near Grefsen Station, I had had only 4 hours of sleep, so the sensible thing would be to rest. But who wants to be sensible with all those trails beckoning! I immediately got ready to go skiing. I started walking up Lofthusveien towards the closest trail-head at Stig, about a 20 minute walk. I didn't walk far. There was snow on the sidewalk and tracks of other skiers. The snow on the sidewalk was better than any snow I'd seen this winter, so I put my skis on! I had to take them off at major street crossings. At Stig there is a parking lot at the start of a "lys-løype" or lighted track, which goes into Lillomarka. Lillomarka is the south-eastern subsection on Nordmarka. The trail is wide with 2 tracks, and a skating/walking lane in the middle. It is a steep climb for the first km. There is snow falling and the temperature is about 0 c. In addition I have remnants of last years klister on my skis. so sometimes snow sticks to my skis. But this is already the best skiing I've done this winter! At Linderudkollen they are rebuilding a ski jump so some of the trails have been rerouted around the construction. There is a trail junction with signs about every 0.5 km so I am constantly referring to my map. Somehow I got to Solemskogen, and almost to Lilloseter before I decided to turn back, and get supper and a good nights sleep. At least I know there's good skiing in Oslo. If only the temperature would drop 2 degrees , it would be perfect. Total distance: 15 km Friday 5-Mar It snowed at least 5 cm overnight but the temperature was still around 0. I took bus 23 from Grefsen to Tåsen, then transfered to the T-bane (subway train). Actually on this section most of the subway line is above ground. The Sognsvann station at the end of the line is really neat. On good snow days you can step off the train and immediately put you skis on and cross a parking lot to the trails. I choose the main lys-løype which goes along the east side of Sognsvann lake (elev 183 m). The wet snow occasionally sticks to my skis but a little higher up the snow becomes drier and my wax ( mixture of blue extra, violet extra, and last years residue) works quite well. at Store Åklungen a sign indicates that I am crossing the 60th latitude- only 30 more to the pole! At Ullevålseter there is a restaurant, but I just stopped for a snack outside. People are putting up signs in the snow for some sort of race The main lys-løype swings back towards the south west towards Frognerseter. This is a touring trail but it crosses the Holmenkollen 2x25 km trail several times. But even the touring trail has some wicked hills. I had to herring-bone up one hill and then I met this 5 year old boy who had just climbed the other side which was just as steep! He was probably training for Sundays Holmenkollen Barnas race. I expect most of the gold medal winners in the 2022 Olympics will be participating on Sunday's children's race! It's rather humbling to think that when I first started skiing 25 years ago, Erling Jevne and Bjørn Daehli were only 6 years old, but they already could ski better than I could! I was hoping to drop in to the ski-kaffee at Frognerseter but it is closed on Fridays. There is a ake-bane, or luge trail coming through the field here so it's best not to ski on that. There are some old farm buildings including the stabbur storehouse at Frognerseter. I thought it would be all downhill to Holmenkollen, but it seems there were a lot of "ups" too. One regret I have is that I wish had skied in Nordmarka over 10 years ago. Then I would have had the chance to see a certain old man skiing with his dog. The man's name was Olav and he was the King. Today at Holmenkollen there is large statue of Olav on skis. The irony of it was that Olav was born in Denmark. (there a lot of jokes about Danish skiers). I guess to prove that he was a proper Norwegian, he became an expert skier, competing internationally in jumping in the 1920's and touring throughout his long life. He had good ski teachers, the Nansen family. The Holmenkollen area was confusing since they were rebuilding the stadium, trying to get it ready for the ski festival which started the next week. I went all the way around the museum until I found the entrance. The museum shows how skiing was a vital part of Norway's culture and history - the skiing exploits of polar explorers like Nansen and Amundsen helped to create the modern Norwegian national identity. There are displays of both Nansen's and Amundsen's expeditions, including original skis and sleds. Outside there was some sort of fun race going on. I did a traditional lap around the arena to the finish line and then started back to Frognerseter the same way I came in. It can be very confusing getting out of the arena area since then are set tracks looping around everywhere. After Frognerseter, I saw a sign for Månskinnløype so I decided to take that for a change. Maybe this a trail traditionally taken on moonlight tours? It seemed rather steep and narrow for that. It quickly brought me down to the south end of Sognsvann, but it was too early to quit yet. So I took a trail north on the west side of the lake, crossed over and came south again on the east side back to the T-bane station, skiing almost right up to the ticket punch machine. The station is completely open and self service One just puts one's ticket in the slot and walks on to the train. I estimate about 30 km for the day. Saturday 6 Mar In the morning I skied from the hostel, across the field, almost right to the Grefsen railway station. On weekends there are extra trains that stop at a lot of extra places for about 50 km north of the city. At each stop in the city more skiers got on, then at Movatn, skiers started getting off. I got off at Hakadal (elev 150m), and was quite surprised when only one other person, a nice young lady, got off with me. She was heading to Kikutstua, to meet some friends. She mentioned that tomorrow she would be taking her 7 year old daughter to the Holmenkollen Barns ski race. Hakadal was the starting point for Holmenkoll March, held a few weeks ago , where about 8000 people ski 42 km to Holmenkollen. But today most people were getting off at Stryken or Harestua. I soon found out why- there is a long steep climb from Hakadal. There was about 5 to 10 cm of fresh snow on the trail so we took turns breaking trail. I had wide touring skis (65-55-60 mm) so I didn't mind breaking trail. My wax was working quite well and I started pulling ahead. I felt rather good about being able to ski faster than a Norwegian! We are going deep into the heart of Nordmarka, which reminds me a lot of the steeper terrain of the Canadian Ski Marathon. A lot of steep hills with many lakes. Later I saw a book - called something like "Marka and War"*. During the nazi occupation of 1940-1945 Nordmarka was never fully controlled by the Germans, especially in winter, and it remained the hideout of the Norwegian underground, who had bases, complete with radio stations, in the many huts in the region. *[ I think it was Trygve Christensen: Marka og krigen, Oslomarka 1940-1945 (1993)] After about 5 km some other skiers passed us so we didn't have to break trail anymore. At Gørja (elev. 376m) there is a trail junction where we stopped for a snack break. My trail-breaking partner had some wax remover so she cleaned her skis and re-waxed. It turned out she has klister on from last weekend, and had no glide. So much for my superior skiing ablity! Several people passed here so now there was a now a faster track. I continued on alone, wishing the young lady "God Tur". At each junction, more and more skiers joined the trail, and there is soon a constant stream of skiers. It has been snowing off on on all morning and for a while it is coming down quite thick. Then the young lady passes me, when she has the right wax, she is a very fast skier. Just before I get to Kikutstua on Bjørnsjøen (340m), the trail groomer passes, so now there is a fast double track. Kikutstua is a major meeting point in Nordmarka. This area was the training ground for skiers like Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, and the teenaged Herman Smith-Johannsen (Jackrabbit) often skied here in the 1890's. Today Skiforeningen operates a restaurant here. This day it is packed, hundreds of skis are parked around the courtyard. Inside it is warm and steamy. I bought some waffles (vaffler) and solbaer toddy (hot black currant drink). In this context "stua" or "stuga" means "cottage"; it can also mean the room in the cottage where skiers sit around the fireplace (peis). "Hytte" (eg. Kobberhaughytta) also means "cottage" or "hut" but many hytte are much more fancy that what we think of as huts. When I go back outside, the snow has stopped and there are some beautiful views crossing Bjørnsjøen (Bear Lake). There are numerous choices of trails now, I choose a direct route towards Kobberhaughytta. There is a big climb to about 450m. The high point is Appelsinhaugen, where most of Norway's orange crop is grown :-) -- Only joking!! The story I heard was that, on sunny days, hundreds of skiers stop here to eat their oranges (appelsin). An orange, a Kvikk Lunsj (Norwegian version of Power Bar) and a thermos of hot cocoa or solbaer are obligatory items in a skier's rucksack. After Kobberhaughytta I chose an ungroomed trail towards Blankvann. There is a good track and I meet a surprising number of skiers. On weekends in Nordmarka, one rarely needs to break trail on ungroomed trails! I find the sign I was looking for - "Sykkel Trille Sti" ie. bicycle rolling path. In July 1996, I took this shortcut, rolling my bike, between Studenthytta and Blankvannsbråtan. Then I saw some expert mountain bikers actually riding over the big boulders. But now about 100 cm of snow covers the boulders and it is much easier skiing than it was walking my bike. After I cross lake Blankvann it starts to snow again, but soon it changes to light rain and freezing rain, the tracks become glazed, and my skis loose their grip. I tried re-wax with violet extra, but wax will not stick to wet, cold skis. I stopped at Ullevålseter for a second lunch, and managed to spread a little wax. It is mostly downhill from here anyways. At Åklungen I ski across the lake (ungroomed) rather on the parallel main trail, in order to avoid a few climbs. I don't have to break trail there either. Back on the main trail it is a easy fast downhill to Sognsvann. I can ski right up to the subway train platform. I estimate I skied about 35 or 40 km. The Holmenkoll Marsj is 42 km, but I'm not sure of its route past Kikutstua. Nordmarka is big - over 1000 sq km, and it would take years to explore all the trails there. I could have easily spent my whole 3 weeks in the area, but I want to see some areas further north- maybe it will be a little colder and drier further inland too. At least I've had a taste of Oslomarka. Skiing has been good, but it will get even better in the days to come. coming next: Gjøvik
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David Dermott , Wolfville Ridge, Nova Scotia, Canada
WWW pages: http://www3.ns.sympatico.ca/dermott/