High above Norway’s capital, you’ll find Holmenkollen. The arena has hosted ski jumping daredevils from all over the world, including those visiting for the World Championships and Winter Olympics. And in late March, it also played host to two very special nights of romance for two special couples.
We received countless submissions from ski fans all over the world, but two submissions stood out: Espen S. from Oslo and Lauren B. from Steamboat, Colorado.
Espen shared with us the monumental role that Holmenkollen has played at different points throughout his life. One of his clearest memories as a child was getting to do a 20-meter jump in front of a crowd at the famous resort.
“The year was 1990, and I was six. I still remember today how the roar met me when the speaker called out my name. 45,000 people let me know I was a hero for a day.”
At the age of 14, Espen did his first jump on the “big hill” in Holmenkollen. He said, as a resident of Oslo, it was a dream come true to complete. And, now, at 32 years old, Espen asked that we give him a chance to take his third and final leap at Holmenkollen — his biggest so far. Espen wanted to propose to his girlfriend Martine at the top of the jump.
Our second winner, Lauren from Colorado, had her own unique history with Holmenkollen. A competitive ski jumper for much of her young life, she had to retire early since female jumpers were not allowed to compete in the Olympics. (The most recent Winter Olympics in Sochi were the first games to allow female ski jumpers to compete.) Instead, Lauren went to school, found a different career and, more recently, the love of her life. As newlyweds, she wanted to share with her husband the feeling of standing at the top of the world overlooking Oslo (her favorite city) ready to jump.
Lauren’s friend had sent her the Airbnb listing for a Night At Holmenkollen. “Forget Fiji!” her friend said. “This is your new favorite place!”
When Lauren and her husband Bill arrived, they spent the day cross-country training, followed by a (loving yet competitive) biathlon shooting, and a tour of the ski museum at the resort. But the highlight was actually what followed all of their athletic activities: A 15-course dinner in their glass castle at the top of Holmenkollen. While the sun set over Oslo, a Norwegian chef prepared a custom menu of authentic local cuisine, even sourcing ingredients from the forest just outside of Holmenkollen.
When they woke up in the morning after an incredible night in the sky, they looked down over the jump and noticed that clouds had formed over the top of Oslo. From their perch, it was as if the clouds were a puffy blanket of white beneath them. Lauren and Bill spent the morning in awe of nature’s beauty and the incredible spectacle, and then, as a fitting check out from a room atop Holmenkollen, the couple zip lined down from the tower to spend the next few days exploring Oslo.
And of course, back to the proposal….
Espen had arranged with his girlfriend’s boss to make sure she could get the day off, telling her that they were taking a weekend away in a mountain cabin and he just needed to stop by Holmenkollen to help out a friend. There had just been a crazy snowstorm a couple nights before, so when they arrived at the resort, Espen explained to Martine that there had been a change in plans. The couple would be staying at Holmenkollen to enjoy the perfect snowy conditions…in a room at the top of the ski jump.
Martine, of course, had to let that sink in for a few minutes.
After spending the day enjoying the fresh powder, Espen and Martine took in their own 15-course dinner prepared and served by the incredible local chef duo of Magnus Støre and Even Rømo. As nothing had been growing in the frozen country for months, sourcing local ingredients proved to be a difficult task for Magnus and Even. But that didn’t stop them from getting creative with things like fenalår (a type of Norwegian charcuterie made from lamb and cured reindeer), Norwegian scallops, goat, raw shrimps from the fjord, wild mountain trout, “pinnekjøtt” from wild lamb, beautiful Norwegian cheeses, and moose that had been sourced from the forest surrounding Holmenkollen.
With floor-to-ceiling views overlooking their home city, Espen made his “final big leap” — asking Martine to be his wife. She said yes, and they celebrated the occasion with drinks, soaking in the views and reliving the memories from the day they both wished would never end.
At this point, we can only assume that Espen and Martine will start planning their Holmenkollen wedding. After all, it would be most fitting to continue the tradition.