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Estonian Winter Fun

The first thing most people mention about the climate of Estonia is that the winters are really quite cold and seem like they will never end. The other downside is that the days are very short in winter. Some days it hardly seems to get properly light at all, which can make sightseeing less pleasant than in summer. It also means that, as everywhere, people can be less outgoing than they are in warmer months. However, some days can bring wonderfully clear skies and crisp, invigorating weather.

When the tree branches are stark bare, the days seem to be dull and cold, the mood is sullen and dark, the family is bored and the cold reaches to the bone and chills you throughout your body, the only way to stay animate is to do winter sports which will refresh you and bring back to life.


Skiing in Baltic region is becoming more and more popular. The region has an advantageous geographic position and long-held skiing tradition but is still not very well known among skiers and snowboarders. Estonia in particular is an excellent base for those who are really crazy about snow.

There are great opportunities for those who like crosscountry skiing and other winter sports disciplines. One hundred meter high slopes would perfectly suit for beginners. But long and steep slopes are also fun to descend for more experienced skiers as well. In addition to all this, it should be mentioned that due to its geographical position, winter in Estonia is one of the most stable in Europe. Sudden change of weather cannot do much harm to the ski season in Estonia as it can in some parts of the Alps.

One of the most popular places for skiing is Otepaa, where many people from Estonia and Finland come for winter sports. Actually, those of you who like winter venues that are not that crowded and expensive as in the Alps, Oteppa is a perfect place tovisit and there is no doubt that after the first visit, you will want to visit this place again!

Cross-Country Skiing

Estonia is particularly famous for its cross-country ski trails. The Tartu Ski Marathon is worth visiting at least once. This year Tartu held the 38th marathon. Of course, snowboarders also come to Estonia to spend their vacation. There are many interesting things to do in winter in Estonia so any potential winter tourist will find some attraction to their liking. Estonia is worth visiting not only for its lovely ski regions.

Rather low prices are a further incentive. Rates for ski passes and rent of equipment are dirt cheap in comparison to other European ski resorts. Skiing in Estonia is very exciting in many respects. There are some unique places in this country that are completely devoted to winter sports. There are many ski resorts all across the country. One can find excellent opportunities to practice winter sports in Laane Virumaa, Otepaa and Vorumaa. The idea of skiing in Estonia is really worth consideration.

No matter whether you stay in a ski hut or in a hotel room, your vacation in Estonia still will be unforgettable.

Sledding and Snowtubing

Sledding is probably one of the oldest and most popular activities in Estonia. Before sleighs were invented and introduced to Estonian market, Estonians used linen bags or linen hanks for sledging. These days children use pretty much everything – even plastic bags. If it slides – it works. Shrove Tuesday, which is in February, is still the day when almost every Estonian will go sledding – the longest slide is believed to bring luck. In the old days it promised good luck for the linen harvest.

On Shrove Tuesday traditional Estonians eat pea soup and Lenten buns. Sledding and snow tubing is fun for the whole family. Cross country sledding trips promise a unique experience for adventurous people. Most farm houses with horses offer sleigh riding. There is something for every taste and all equipment is provided, so take your seat and enjoy. When it’s not snowing, you and your whole family can still have fun on the snow tube hills where they use artificial snow. Tallinn, Viljandi and Otepaa with their different slopes for different ages and special tubes for small children are the best places.

Kicksledding trips can be especially enjoyable in national parks and nature trails throughout the country. Kicksledding on ice is less popular but will promise a unique experience. Ice sledding is less popular, but once you try it you’re bound to be hooked. The most popular places for snowboarding are Kuutsemae in Otepaa which offers different levels of difficulty. Runs range from 214 meters to 514 meters in length.

The longest run (450m) is in Otepaa, called Vaike-Munamagi. Another place is Kutiorg which lies on the edge of Haanja Nature Park in Vorumaa and has 5 lit slopes as well as Ansomagi which is only 1km away from Otepaa and has 5 lighted slopes. In Tallinn you can enjoy snowboarding and snowtubing at the Song Festival grounds in Kadriorg, situated in the city center. Moreover, the Valgehobusemae Skiing and Holiday Centre situated in the Korvemaa Landscape Protection Area is an ideal place for one to spend their vacation in a healthy manner in winter.

There one can enjoy 3 and 5 km long lighted ski tracks with interesting profiles, snowboard and snowtube tracks with an elevator, and the trails for Nordic walking, bicycling, and hiking and more. Needless to say, there is something for every winter lover in Estonia.

By Ella Karapetyan