Gjøvik olympiske fjellhall

Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall


Useful Information

photography
Entrance, Gjøvik olympiske fjellhall, Norway. Public Domain.
photography
Ice rink, Gjøvik olympiske fjellhall, Norway. Public Domain.
Location: Heimdals gate 2, 2821 Gjøvik.
From Oslo RV 4 110 km exit Vestre Totenveg, at roundabout left towards Overby, second roundabout straight ahead, third roundabout right to city center 1.4 km.
(60.793255480168675, 10.684675898658982)
Open: All year Mon-Fro 9-15.
Climbing wall: All year Mon-Fri 9-15.
Swimming Hall: All year Tue, Thu 15-18, Fri 16:15-17:40, Sun 10-14.
Guided tours after appointment.
[2024]
Fee: Adults NOK 20.
Groups (20+): Adults NOK 15, Guide per Group NOK 1000.
[2024]
Classification: underground sports center
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=91 m, W=61 m, H=25 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:
Address: Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall, Heimdals gate 2, 2821 Gjøvik, Tel: +47-61-13-82-00. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1974 one of the first underground swimming pools built.
01-APR-1991 beginning of construction.
06-MAY-1993 opened to the public with a hugely entertaining televised show.
1994 17th Olympic Winter Games in nearby Lillehammer.

Description

Gjøvik olympiske fjellhall (Gjøvik Olympic Mountain Hall) is generally translated Gjøvik Olympic Cavern Hall, because it is actually the world's largest public underground chamber, 120 m below ground. This huge hall is an ice-hockey stadium which was built for the 17th Olympic Winter Games in 1994 in nearby Lillehammer. The municipality had two choices, to build the stadium underground or to build it above ground. Above ground would have been easier and cheaper, but unfortunately it would have been in the outskirts of the city, far from the visitors. The underground alternative was in the middle of the city, at the end of High street, easily accessible by public transport. And the underground location makes it independent of the harsh winters and bad weather of Norway. And an ice rink has cooling costs, which are much lower underground. And actually the Norwegians are used to build underground structures, so it was not that hard to convince them. Probably the construction costs of NOK 134.6 Million were a drawback.

When Consulting Engineer Jan A. Rygh and Municipal Engineer Helge Simenstad had dinner in 1988, they discussed the fact that Gjøvik had been awarded an ice rink for the Olympics. They had the idea to build underground and made first drafts on a napkin in the restaurant. A research group was created to solve four problems: necessary infrastructure, environmental issues, geology, and the legal problems. Those topics are important for any building, but in this case they were more complicated. Especially the infrastructure for an underground structure, which includes ventilation, energy, fire and safety, created lots of problems. It's necessary to handle a large number of people and to provide escape routes in case of an emergency. The infrastructure required for a safe stadium takes additional space, and so the cavern is actually much bigger than the visible part. But the city already had some knowledge about building underground structures here, in 1974 Gjøvik Municipality opened Norway's first underground swimming pool at the same spot. It is now part of the underground site.

The requirement for such an underground structure is a stable rock, which is no problem here, the hill consists of gneiss, which is about 1 Billion years old. Extensive geological surveys were carried out before the work was started, and during the blasting the effects were monitored by deformation gauges in a number of drillholes. The cavern was blasted into the rock, which required 170 tons of dynamite. The uppermost tunnel was built straight into the rock, and then 10 m of rock were blasted away to create the ceiling. The rock was used to build the promenade and park at Mjøsa lake.

The stadium has a capacity of 5,830 spectators, a 25-m swimming pool and telecommunication installations. During the 1994 Winter Games it hosted 16 ice hockey matches, it hosted the 1995 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, and since then it is the home of Gjøvik Hockey team, and is used as an event location. It is said to be "the world's largest cavern hall for public use". And it is a multipurpose arena for a range of sporting and cultural activities, as well as exhibitions, trade fairs, festivals and conferences. It is the leading concert arena in eastern Norway. During the day on weekdays it is possible to go ice skating, swimming or climbing underground.