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Iconic Holmenkollen 50km under threat

The International Ski & Snowboard Federation (FIS) has decided to exclude the iconic Holmenkollen 50km race from its 2025 calendar, sparking widespread protests and discontent among cross-country skiing enthusiasts.

Photo: Vegard Grøtt/Bildbyrån

General view of Holmenkollen Ski Stadium.

The decision, confirmed by Michal Lamplot, FIS Race Director, has ignited a heated debate on the future of the historic Holmenkollen event.

Lamplot explained the rationale behind the exclusion, stating to Dagbladet, “The definitive formats will not be decided before spring. But when it comes to Holmenkollen, the cross-country skiing committee agreed that we should not organize the 50km. We don’t want to do a 50km race in Trondheim and then one in Holmenkollen the following weekend.”

The announcement was not entirely unexpected, with rumors circulating as early as 2021 about the potential removal of the 50km Holmenkollen from the FIS calendar. The decision gained momentum after last year’s experience when low participation followed the World Championships in Planica, culminating with a 50km race in Holmenkollen.

Despite being a cornerstone of cross-country skiing since 1888, Holmenkollen’s exclusion has sparked protests both within and outside Norway. Lamplot acknowledged the event’s significance, stating, “Holmenkollen is one of our most important events. It is an iconic, traditional, and historical event. It deserves to be one of the highlights of the season and have the best skiers competing.”

The move has stirred strong reactions, with Andrew Musgrave calling it “the most idiotic thing” in cross-country skiing history. Frida Karlsson expressed regret, saying, “It’s sad. It’s a tradition. There should be a 50km race in Holmenkollen.”

Critics argue that the decision not only impacts the competitive aspect but also diminishes the vibrant popular celebration that accompanies the event in Oslo. William Poromaa emphasized the significance of the festival, stating, “It is tragic and worrying considering the type of popular festival that takes place in Holmenkollen. There’s a lot of crowd there, so that’s not the way to go.”

Despite the uproar, Lamplot remained firm on the decision, prompting various proposals from Norway to salvage the race in future years. Organizers of the Holmenkollen Ski Festival are hopeful that the essence of the event, with its long-standing tradition and thousands of spectators, can be preserved for years to come.

Are you interested in traditional cross-country skiing? Click HERE and read more.

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