Cross-country skiing as a sport became popular after World War I when the first ski competition was held in 1921, in Tartu. This has become a yearly tradition and the Tartu Ski Marathon, established in 1960, now attract professional and amateur cross-country skiers from around the world.
Most walking/hiking trails are suitable for cross-country skiing.
Prepared tracks are for “classical” style skiing which is though and physically demanding, but is still the easiest style to learn.
- Cross-country skiing on untouched snow allows a mixture of skiing styles. You can read more about cross-country skiing styles on Wikipedia.
Estonia has recently won European, World Championship and Olympic medals in cross-country skiing. The most famous and successful Estonian skiers are Andrus Veerpalu, Jaak Mae and Kristiina Šmigun-Vähi.
Popular Places to Enjoy Cross-Country Skiing in Estonia:
- In Tallinn: Pirita (Pirita River and Cloister) and Nõmme both have prepared well-lit, professional standard tracks, hills and offer equipment rental.
- Near Otepää: Kääriku has a very popular winter sports scene. Usually, there is a lot of snow and the hills and frozen lakes make it a very appealing location for the cross country skiers.
- In Pärnu: Jõulumäe Recreation Ski Centre has 15 different courses.
- In East Estonia: Kurtna’s hiking trails are popular with cross-country skiers who also love the Pannjärve skiing lodge where the numerous ski-tracks begin.
Larger ski resorts offer different kinds of winter fun and accommodation too. Snow tubing, snow mobile rentals, prepared tracks (even well lit night skiing tracks) and sledging are all popular.