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6) FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway
Nothing beats the flag-waving frenzy of Norwegians cheering on their skiers at any winter event and that only escalates when the event is local. Oslo hosts the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships from 24 February to 6 March, a serious skiing affair of 21 events including the famed Holmenkollen Ski Jump, site of the world's oldest ski jump. At its museum you can learn about the delicate art of ski jumping and skiing's 4,000-year history, as well as take a simulated ski jump for a laugh (a queasy laugh anyway).

You can visit Holmenkollen's Ski Museum all year (www.skiforeningen.no); for more on the event check its website www.oslo2011.no.

7) Climb a 'stairway to heaven'
Robert Plant swears the lyrics to the Led Zeppelin's rock anthem "Stairway to Heaven" (turning 40 on 8 November; long live rock!) were written off the cuff, and that there are not Satanic messages when you play the "a bustle in your hedgerow" part backwards. But with a little imagination you can place the "stairway" near Bron-Yr-Aur, the Welsh cottage where Jimmy Page first put together the immortal chords. In the south of Snowdonia National Park, the 892m Cader Idris is the big climb here, reached in five hours along the rocky Ty Nant Path or Dolgellau Path - or with stronger thighs via the Minffordd Path. Views up there can make you wonder.

Page's old cottage is near Wales' "green capital'' Centre for Alternative Technology, incidentally home to one of the world's steepest funicular trains. You can arrange tours and stay in eco-cabins (www.cat.org.uk).

8) Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorbike race
A haven for tax dodgers and outdoorsy types most of the year, the remote oddball Isle of Man transforms in May and June for the Tourist Trophy, an engine-revving motorbike race that attracts 50,000 people every year - and 2011 is its 100th birthday. You can reach it by plane, or boat from Liverpool, and you can see much of the island by rental bike or on foot; the 95-mile Raad ny Foillan is a complete circuit of the island. Peek at past Tourist Trophy winners at the Manx Museum in the island's main town of Douglas.

Keep up to date with contestants and past TT glory at the race's website (www.iomtt.com).

9) Indy 500 in Indianapolis, USA
On the subject of engines and 100th birthdays, the US's premier motor race also turns 100 in 2011. Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the event over the Memorial Day weekend in late May, but celebrates the race all month. You can take a bus tour of the 2.5-mile oval track any time - at a snail-like 60km per hour. (see www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com).

Plan way ahead if you want to join the 450,000 fans at the actual race. See imstix.com for ticket information.

10) Write a postcard
E-books, mobile phone apps, augmented reality - we live and travel in a world of instant information and sore thumbs. This year is a good time to pause and revisit that ol' travel chestnut: the postcard. What started a century ago as a craze of keepsakes (recipients cherished them as much as travellers sending them cherished their actual experiences) has lost out to wi-fi, text messaging and Flickr images. A shame. Sending a postcard leads to all sorts of local life commonly missed - stationery shops, post offices, funny stamps - as well as the art of actually writing with a pen.

Of course you can also send a physical postcard digitally. Upload a shot from a mobile phone to HazelMail (www.hazelmail.com), which will print and send it for you.


Correction: A previous version of this article mistated the host countries for the Cricket World Cup. India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will host.

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© Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘10 best things to do in 2011’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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