Birkebeiner skiers bringing prince Håkon Håkonsson to safety in 1206 A.D.
c. 1880’s, 19th century
© Vintage Winter
A wonderful gift for the ski historian in the family. This copy is direct from an antique print in our museum collection. The original painting was unfortunately stolen at the 1996 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and has yet to be recovered. Seen in the photo are two Birkebeiner birch bark legged soldiers carrying 2 year old Norwegian Prince Håkon to safety c. 1200 A.D.
King Håkon was born in territory which was controlled by the Bagler faction, and his mother’s claim that he was a birkebeiner royal son placed them both in a very dangerous position. When in 1206 the Bagler tried to take advantage of the situation and started hunting Håkon, a group of Birkebeiner warriors fled with the child, heading for King Inge II of Norway, the birkebeiner king in Nidaros (now Trondheim). On their way they came into a blizzard, and only the two mightiest warriors, Torstein Skevla and Skjervald Skrukka, continued on skis, carrying the child in their arms. They managed to bring the heir to safety. This event still is commemorated in one of Norway’s most important annual skiing event, the Birkebeiner ski race.
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To learn more about this epic story search out "Hakon Hakonsson's Saga" which records the entire life story of Prince Hakon. Further research information is listed below:
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