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Skiing is the national sport of Norway and Oslo is the only capital in the world where skiing is possible within the city limits. Nevertheless, when Norwegians go skiing, they prefer to make a weekend trip out of it. There are dozens of ski resorts around Oslo with countless slopes, ranging from pastel green to pitch-black runs. In addition, the area has thousands of kilometres of cross-country skiing tracks and numerous half-pipes for snowboarders.
Ski resort Kongsberg is located closest to Oslo and is the place where the aerodynamics technique of ski jumping was invented. Ski resort Lillehammer gained world fame thanks to the Olympic Winter Games in 1994; and Geilo is the oldest ski resort in Norway, deeply hidden in the white winter wonderland halfway between Oslo and Bergen. These 3 favourite ski resorts of Oslo residents are only about 1, 2 or 3 hours by car from the city.
Many an award-winning Norwegian ski jumping champion has practiced his or her art on this mountain, which is named after King Christian IV. In the Ski Museum, you can learn that, shortly after World War I, the first aerodynamic jumping technique was invented here, called the Kongsberg technique. At the Kongsberg Skisenter, alpine skiing enthusiasts can go down 10 runs, ranging from green to black level, with a total length of 10 kilometres and a height difference of 330 metres. The Kongsberg runs may not be the longest runs in Norway, but being only an hour from Oslo makes Kongsberg a great destination for a day of snow-filled fun.
“Did you see the Olympic Games in ’94? It was beautiful. Clean air, fresh white snow, pretty girls…” Thus Lillehammer’s description by mafia boss Frank Tagliano in the Norwegian Netflix series Lilyhammer. Unfortunately, his Italian designer shoes turn out to be a poor choice for fresh snow – here in Lillehammer, warm snow boots or solid ski shoes are a better option. Lillehammer is located on the frozen Lake Mjøsa and is the best known ski resort in Norway, although the town is quite small and has only 1 slope. Nearby ski resorts Kvitfjell and Hafjell have 23 and 31 runs, respectively.
Geilo, located in a snowed-in, mountainous interior halfway between Oslo and Bergen, is the oldest ski resort in Norway. This is where Queen Sonja of Norway learned to ski and where you can find the country’s most luxurious ski lodges. The town itself exists merely by the grace of the Bergen line, often called the most beautiful railway line in the world. When it reached Geilo in 1907, the entire beau monde of Oslo headed straight towards Geilo for fun in the snow. There are 20 lifts and 39 slopes with a total length of 33 kilometres. Apart from downhill skiing, you can also go cross-country skiing, snowboarding, Telemark skiing, husky sledding and kite skiing.