Five miles is the gold standard of cross-country skiing. The distance is packed with colorful history, myths, records, pole breaks, breakdowns, comebacks, duels, winners and not least – the trails. Let's immediately return to some of the classics. But first – the first from Holmenkollen.
Holmenkollen, 17 February 1910 went the starting shot for the first five-mile in Holmenkollen. In the years before, several five-mile races had been organised. The very first in 1888 with a finish line start at Majorstuen. Then, from 1902 onwards, various variants were arranged with the Frognerseteren as a starting point. In 1910, the five-mile had for the very first time a start and finish in Holmenkollen, more specifically at Besserudtjernet. The trail continued past the Hospitset and Voksenkollen Sanatorium to Lillevann, over Hyttlikulpen, Grøttumheggene, Svartorseter, over Fiskelite, to the north side of the Kobberhaugene, over Lørenseter, Skjennungsåsen, Tryvann, Skomakertjern, Lillevann and back to the start. Thick fog, dense drifts of snow and ice under the skis made the run difficult. Lauritz Bergendahl won his first of five five-mile victories in Kollen.
At this time, the tracks were different every year. The route was kept secret and was only announced to the runners a short time in advance.
The five-mile trails have been criss-crossed, in figures of eight and in rounds of various lengths. Until today, it has gradually moved towards more standardized solutions. Many of the old routes are still alive on the maps, and can be repeated in the terrain - an exercise for those particularly interested😊
Here is a small cavalcade of samples from some classic vintages: