1952 Olympic Report Norefjell

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1952 Olympic Report Norefjell see pdf file page 36-38 Arenas [1] 27.5 megabits in Norwegian and English

The only events of the Winter Games which could not be held in the Oslo area proper were the downhill and giant slalom races, as the terrain around Oslo does not provide sufficient vertical differences. The events were held at Norefjell, some 75 miles from Oslo. This high mountain district offers excellent possibilities for alpine skiing and previous international races here had provided valuable experience. The main problems were communications and accommodation which called for efforts on a grand scale, incidentally as part of plans for the creation of a large, modern skiing centre at Norefjell. Top picture: Norefjellstua, the new hotel at Norefjell, was ready by the end of 1951 and contributed greatly to the solution of the accommodation problem for competitors and officials. Centre: Aerial view of Norefjell, winter 1951. The two ski lifts and lay-outs of the runs are clearly visible. The lift on the left has a length of 6000 feet and a vertical rise of 1680 feet, while the other one (top right) is a mile long and rises 800 feet. Starting points for the (men's) giant slalom (left) and downhill are at 2200 and 3100 feet a. s. l. respectively. The finish is at the "TChouse" (in the circle) at 630 feet a. s. l. The giant slalom and lower part of the downhill runs along the "power line street", the clearing for the high tension wires. Bottom picture: The "TC-house" for telecommunications, centre of the technical installations for the news services.
The only events of the Winter Games which could not be held in the Oslo area proper were the downhill and giant slalom races, as the terrain around Oslo does not provide sufficient vertical differences. The events were held at Norefjell, some 75 miles from Oslo. This high mountain district offers excellent possibilities for alpine skiing and previous international races here had provided valuable experience. The main problems were communications and accommodation which called for efforts on a grand scale, incidentally as part of plans for the creation of a large, modern skiing centre at Norefjell. Top picture: Norefjellstua, the new hotel at Norefjell, was ready by the end of 1951 and contributed greatly to the solution of the accommodation problem for competitors and officials. Centre: Aerial view of Norefjell, winter 1951. The two ski lifts and lay-outs of the runs are clearly visible. The lift on the left has a length of 6000 feet and a vertical rise of 1680 feet, while the other one (top right) is a mile long and rises 800 feet. Starting points for the (men's) giant slalom (left) and downhill are at 2200 and 3100 feet a. s. l. respectively. The finish is at the "TChouse" (in the circle) at 630 feet a. s. l. The giant slalom and lower part of the downhill runs along the "power line street", the clearing for the high tension wires. Bottom picture: The "TC-house" for telecommunications, centre of the technical installations for the news services.

Contents

[edit] Norefjell

In the Oslo area there is no terrain which offers sufficient descent for a downhill and giant slalom course. Accordingly, these competions were arranged at Norefjell, 75 miles north-west of Oslo.

The highest point on Norefjell is 4,800 ft. a. s. l. On the east side of the mountain, down toward Lake Krøderen, are excellent possibilities for downhill and giant slalom courses. Previous national and international competitions had been arranged successfully here. However, a comprehensive development of the area was necessary before the Olympic competions could take place.

The Installations Committee's long-term plan was to develop a skiing centre on these mountain slopes which are so easily accessible for the inhabitants of Oslo. Time has shown that this was an excellent idea.

The main road to Norefjell runs along the east side of Lake Krøderen, while the mountain massif itself with its hotels and ski runs is on the west side. To get across to the Norefjell side one had to drive around the south end of the lake— a long detour on a narrow road—or take a ferry across. A bridge across the lake at Noresund had long been contemplated and the plan was realised in 1951 with the Winter Games in mind.

Other work undertaken at Norefjell included:

1. Improvement of the ski runs.
2. Construction of a new road to the hotels.
3. Two ski lifts.
4. A new hotel.
5. A telecommunications building.

1. In accordance with demands from the International Ski Federation, giant slalom was included in the Winter Games ski programme. Originally this was to replace downhill in the ladies' programme, but in the end it was decided to increase the programme with these two new events.

The downhill start was situated some 3,100 ft. above sea-level, while the finish was beside the new telecommunications building (the "TChouse") 630 ft. a. s. l. The vertical descent thus was almost 2,500 ft. and the total length was 2,850 yards.

The ladies' downhill run started 2,330 ft. above sea-level, and the finish line was at 1,065 ft. The vertical descent thus was 1,265 ft. and total length 1,480 yards.

The giant slalom for men was started at 2,200 feet, and the finish beside the TC-house was at 630 ft. The vertical descent thus was 1,570 ft. and the total length about 1,900 yards.

The ladies' giant slalom was started at 2,330 feet and the finish was at 1,230 ft., giving a vertical drop of some 1,100 ft. while its total length was about 1,300 yards.

All runs were laid out in cooperation with experts from the International Ski Federation. The old downhill course could be used with minor improvements for the men's downhill race, while giant slalom and ladies' downhill were arranged in the "Power-line street"—a clearing for high-tension wire masts down the steep hillside.

Both courses were improved to increase the safety margin and give room for variation. This involved felling quite a number of trees.

2. Considering the volume of traffic to be expected, it was obvious that the old mountain road would not suffice. As early as 1950, the Installations Committee got work started on an entirely new two-lane road from Lake Krøderen up to the mountain hotels near the start, with an average slope of 14.5 per cent. The road from the bridge to this new road was extended and improved.

The total length of road from the bridge to the top is 6½ miles and total expenses for the roads amounted to 444 000 kroner, of which the municipality of Oslo paid 90 per cent and the land-owners concerned paid the remaining 10.

3. Two new ski lifts were constructed, the lower one leading up to the upper part of the Norefjell road, near the giant slalom start, along the south side of the "power line street". Its length is nearly 2,000 yards with an elevation of 1,650 ft., and a capacity of 275 persons an hour.

From the top of this lift an almost level road (770 yards) leads to the start of the upper lift which runs up above the tree line, past the starting point for the men's downhill. This upper lift is one mile long with an elevation of 800 feet, and its capacity is 300 persons an hour.

The Installations Committee undertook construction of the lifts, but their subsequent management and maintenance was taken over by a separate share-holders' company.

Construction of both lifts cost 560,000 kroner. The municipality of Oslo contributed 364,000 kroner, of which 260,000 were shares in the new company, and 104 000 kroner was a loan to be paid back out of profits from running the lifts. During the Winter Games both lifts were at the disposal of the competitors free of charge.

4. Accommodation space already available at Norefjell would obviously not be sufficent during the Winter Games.

The Association for the Promotion of Skiing, however, was well aware of the possibilities in the Norefjell area for various purposes, particularly its annual Holmenkollen meets. The Association therefore in 1950 started building a new skiing resort—the Norefjellstua Hotel—with 70 beds. This hotel was finished well ahead of the Winter Games, and contributed greatly to the solution of the billeting problem at Norefjell.

Another difficult problem was how to provide satisfactory conditions for the news service, press and radio reporters. The solution was the building of a two-storey house with an area of 2200 sq.ft. on each floor, specially equipped and furnished for this purpose with comprehensive technical installations and equipment. (See further under Telecommunications.)


[edit] Norefjell Press service page 128

The "TC-house" was the headquarters of the news services representatives. Technical installations and equipment are described under Telecommunications.

The three hotels near the start of the downhill and giant slalom courses had to be reserved for active competitors and their coaches and for the higher officials. Others were billeted in pensions, farm houses and cabins. Some thirty journalists were accommodated at Bjørøya Pensjonat, about 3 miles south of the TC-house, with which transportation and telephone facilities were established.

Some broadcasting representatives lived at farm houses near the TC-house. Most press and broadcasting personnel preferred to live in Oslo, and go to Norefjell only as the events demanded their attendance.

As working conditions in the TC-house were very good, no demand for special technical equipment at the various living quarters was expected to arise, apart from ordinary telephone sets. This was later confirmed, and there was general satisfaction with working conditions and the way all traffic was handled. All connections were made practically without delay.


[edit] Downhill and Giant Slalom Races at Norefjell.

Plans were made for the training period to start on February 1, but it became necessary to keep to Rødkleiva for the first days. On February 6 the Norefjell runs were opened.

Preparation of the trails took place at the same time, and training runs, therefore, could only be made at set times on the main courses, usually one complete run a day only for each competitor, some days only on part of the courses.

Preparing the trails was strenuous work. Movable motor pumps and miles of hoses and pipelines were brought in. Brooks were dammed and frozen lakes were opened up, and the pipes were laid from them to the trails. Tree stumps and rocks were then sprayed with water, and the ice layer which formed made a smoother surface and a good base. Obstructions were covered with straw mats which were frozen in position. To transport snow from the surrounding woods long slides of corrugated iron were made. Snow was scooped up onto these slides, and pushed to the courses, where assistants spread it out and tramped it down.

The uppermost part of the downhill course is above the tree limit. Here snow was spread out three times. Twice the winds swept it away, the third time it stayed in place. Scores of helpers were needed, and without military assistance the task could hardly have been accomplished. A large number of volunteers also took part in this work. The maximum number of men was 600. For the officials, assistants and workers, those were long days with plenty of hard work and considerable nervous strain.

The necessary training restrictions created some uneasiness among competitors and coaches, particularly to begin with; but as all suffered the same handicap, and training conditions improved as the preparatory work progressed, tempers quieted down. The day-to-day training programme was laid down with the approval of the technical adviser, Otto Menardi, who gave the officials the very best support through his firm and confident attitude.

When competitions started on February 14, the courses proved to be in very good shape, and provided good and equal conditions for all. Some even maintained that these "hand-baked" courses were smoother and better than ordinary hardtramped snow courses.

Significantly only a couple of minor injuries, which were not caused by the runs, occurred during the training period, none in competition.

Downhill for ladies and men was to have taken place on the same day, Sunday February 16, but for technical reasons the races had to be spread over two days, the ladies' race being moved to Sunday 17. Thus the programme was:

Thursday February 14: Giant Slalom, Ladies.
Friday February 15: Giant Slalom, Men.
Saturday February 16: Downhill, Men.
Sunday February 17: Downhill, Ladies.

All races were run at the appointed times and no difficulties of any kind occurred. The weather was favourable with light clouds or none, and a few degrees below freezing.

The ladies' giant slalom course was made with 59 gates, and the men's with 62. In the downhill courses for ladies and men there were 18 and 11 compulsory gates respectively, for guidance and protection against dangerous spots.

The juries were appointed by the International Ski Federation, one for each of the four contests. The technical adviser, Otto Menardi of Italy, was chairman of all of these and there was one referee, one appointed member, the chief of the race and the chief of the course. Public attendance was quite numerous considering the distance from Oslo and other cities or densely populated districts. The largest crowds were attracted by the men's downhill race on Saturday February 16.

[edit] Telecommunications Installations at Norefjell. page 46

Connections with Norefjell had to be extended. It was obvious that this little rural station —Krødsherad—with only a few long distance lines and a single switchboard would not be adequate. The station was also situated much too far away from the finish line.

A new station had to be built. The TC-committee designed a small building, the so-called TC-house, and looked after its construction. The house was ready in the early part of 1951.

The Telegraph Service had its public desk on the ground floor (only reporters were admitted). At this counter there were altogether 12 talking booths. Telegrams could also be handed in here. Back of the counter were two rooms, the one containing 5 telephone boards, and the other technical equipment. The canteen was also on the ground floor. At the windows here, where a good view of the finish line was to be had, telephones were set up, which were in constant use during the races. The officials in charge of the races had their office on the first floor.

The broadcasting people were established in the rooms over the canteen, where a good view of the finish could be obtained, with all their technical equipment, which included 10 complete recorders. Telephoto pictures could also be sent from Norefjell, from 4 personnel vans, outfitted for this purpose. The vans were placed directly outside the TC-house.

So much for the house itself. However lines also had to be set up.

The Telegraph Service decided to establish two double copper telephone lines from Krødsherad to Hokksund (about 37 miles from Oslo). From this point a ground cable leads to Oslo. The municipality of Oslo paid for the cost of the necessary lines from Krødsherad long distance station to the TC house.

Eight carrying-frequency telephone connections were established on the four new telephone lines. Some single channels were also set up, so that all in all 16 telephone connections were available direct to the long distance telephone station in Oslo. One of these was meant for broadcasting. One connection was, however, not enough for the Broadcasting Corporation, which set up for its own use 3 short-wave connections from Norefjell to Oslo. It might also be mentioned that a couple of Oslo papers had their own short-wave transmitters which unburdened the lines considerably.

Moreover, lines were necessary along the runs themselves. The Telegraph Service was called upon to lay a ground cable from the TC-house all the way to the starting points for the downhill and giant slalom. This cable contained lines for broadcasting, electrical time-keeping, guard duties, medical service, loudspeaker service, the new ski lift and two military quarters. There were several outlets en route.

The Police had their hands full with traffic problems and were well prepared. Telephone lines were provided from the transport office —situated where the road to the new bridge across Lake Krøderen branches off from the main road through Hallingdal—and other lines were put up to parking spaces and road junctions.


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