Opinion piece from CEO Stefan Marx

A prayer to the "Kollen" audience and the City of Oslo:

Help us keep Marka clean and safe!

"Kollen"-Every year, visitors spend more than NOK 120 million in Oslo's shops, hotels and nightlife. But enormous amounts of rubbish are also left in Marka. Holmenkollen Skifestival has so far picked up the bill for clean-up and public safety. It is up to NOK 1.5 million - money that should have gone to skiing. We make a loud plea for the public and the municipality to pick up the bill.   

Support Holmenkollen's MarkaVipps campaign - vipp number #907358.

This year's big festival for Oslo and sports Norway is approaching, when the world's skiing elite return to Holmenkollen. The World Cup races in Holmenkollen attract thousands of tourists to Oslo every year, and the TV pictures from Marka go around the world. For over 130 years, the ski races in "Kollen" have created joy and excitement for both spectators and athletes, and the event can safely be considered part of Norway's cultural heritage.

Inside the arena, we at Holmenkollen Skifestival are responsible for the audience and participants. During the two weekends of the World Cup races, around 50,000 people gather for a family party inside our national ski arena.

But outside the arena there is also a party. It takes place in Marka, on municipal land. Up to 20-30,000 people gather there, enjoying themselves along the trails and some spend the night in tents. Most of them enjoy themselves together and create a real "Kollen" atmosphere and good Oslo advertising in front of the TV cameras and runners.

What happens in Marka is basically at your own risk. But we at Holmenkollen Skifestival and the Norwegian Ski Association strongly want "Kollen" to be a family event, where everyone feels safe and cared for. That's why every year we pay for help from the Red Cross and security companies, and we coordinate the work of the police, agencies and many others involved. These are there to look after and take care of all those who contribute to public life in the free areas around the trails.

In addition, there is the bill for the clean-up job after the party has ended. "Every year, large amounts of rubbish are left in Marka. Last year, we spent over three weeks on the clean-up job.

All in all, this work cost us almost one and a half million kroner. That's a lot of money for an organizing company that relies heavily on volunteers, without commercial purposes.

The consequence is that the "Kollen" races are operated with negative margins, and that money that could have gone to cross-country skiing and the development of young athletes is lost. This is a development we are concerned about. 

We have approached Oslo's former city council several times to ask them to participate in a joint venture for "Kollen". The response has been lackluster. We have been met with statements such as "if you hadn't created ski races in "Kollen", there wouldn't be people there either - this is your problem".

We generally have a very good relationship with the City of Oslo, and we hope the new city council sees the value of the festival to a greater extent than its predecessors.

According to a report from Sponsor Insight, the total economic ripple effect created by Holmenkollen Skifestival in the local community is almost NOK 240 million. Visitors alone spend NOK 120 million. The event attracts visitors from Germany, France, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Denmark and many other countries, bringing together over 70,000 people over two weekends. And almost every year we get "Norway advertising" in some of the world's most famous newsrooms.

Holmenkollen is world-famous and one of our national symbols. Femmila in "Kollen" is part of our cultural heritage. And we have the world's best audience. That's why we hope that the City of Oslo will join us in a joint effort to clean up the mess once the medals have been handed out and the TV cameras have been turned off.

In the meantime, we're asking the public to join a clean-up campaign to take care of Marka. There are two easy ways to participate: Preferably by being a good guest and picking up after yourself when you leave Holmenkollen - we'll be handing out garbage bags and setting up plenty of collection points. Or you can contribute via our MarkaVipps campaign - tip number #907358 - and support the work that needs to be done. If you're heading to Holmenkollen this year, you'll also find information on how you can participate. You can do this on our website.

The money from the Vipps donation goes to local sports teams who help us pick up litter and to the Red Cross, who make sure that your loved ones are safe when they are in Marka. There will still be a public festival, but we all have a responsibility to ensure that Marka is clean when the party is over.

See the text in Meninger in Aftenposten here