Kronprins Haakon Magnus går langrenn med startnummer på brystet. Bak i sporet følger to Birkebeinere med treski og skinnklær. Illustrasjon: Kristoffer Damskau
Illustration: Kristoffer Damskau

"Birkebeinerrennet – from medieval saga to test of strength" is this year's great indoor exhibition.

Previous exhibition

Time
22 Jan – 31 Oct 2017

The exhibition is on the story of the popular cross-country ski race Birkebeinerrennet.

Exhibition room with large illustration on the wall of a female cross-country skier with modern equipment racing from a a male skier with older equipment. There are also several photos, display cases and old skis displayed.

Illustrationes, objects and photos takes you into history. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning / Maihaugen

This is Norway's most traditional cross-country ski race, running every year from Rena to Lillehammer.

The Norwegians' relationship to winter, the mountains and cross-country skiing has made this ski race very popular.
Our national ideals are being confirmed by managing to handle the conditions in the mountains at wintertime.

People study very old skies, one of the pairs covered with fur.

The exhibition shows skis found in a glacier that are several hundred years old. There are also copies of even a lot older skis. Photo: Audbjørn Rønning / Maihaugen

The exhibition draw historical lines back to the Birchlegs' escape from Baglerne in 1206. The Birchlegs skied over the mountains from Gudbrandsdalen to Østerdalen bringing the prince with them, to save him from being killed by Baglerne. The story has become a mythical tale about the heroes saving the prince, boldly defying the dangers in the winter mountains.

During the 19th century skis evolved from just being equipment that was for practical use to become important for sport and the Norwegian identity. 

Old photo in black and white with cross country skiers. Photo: Marius A. Berge / Maihaugen

Birkebeinerrennet in 1933. Photo: Marius A. Berge / Maihaugen

The first Birkebeinerrennet was arranged in 1932. The skiing competition has been a very successful and a challenging race, where the praticipants are measuring forces with the Norwegian winter mountains.

The exhibition is a cooperation between Oppland county municipality, Birken AS and Stiftelsen Lillehammer museum.

Also read:The Birkebeiner history on Birkebeinerrennets web pages