Who doesn’t love winter sports? In a country that is facing winter temperatures for at least half of the year, winter is just as good as summer. You either get used to it or move south. For us, Estonians, winter has become a favorite and long awaited time to wipe the dust off our winter gear (and take a break from water sports or hiking season).
No matter how old you are, you definitely own some sort of winter accessories for some serious snow fun. For most people, it is a simple sled that you can buy at any supermarket, others prefer ice skating. But lately, more and more people start to look in the mountain sports direction, especially since a few “resorts” have opened up.
In this article, we will look at some of the best options for Skiing and snowboarding in Estonia – the coolest resorts where you can easily spend a day full of carving the slopes and trying out new tricks.
If you are an experienced mountain skier, this article (as well as skiing in Estonia in general) is probably not for you. But most people, who have never stepped foot on Alpine ski resorts, will be thrilled to discover this fantastic way to spend winter days without having to travel too far from home. If skiing is not your thing, consider reading this Winter activities in Estonia guide instead.
Tuhamägi – Kiviõli Adventure Center
Tuhamägi is my personal favorite hill with awesome facilities! Located in the North-Eastern part of the country, it’s just 1,5 hours drive from Tallinn (130km). The slopes are very different in terms of length and difficulty.
As a beginner, I really enjoyed Roxy slope, because it was relatively long (by Estonian standards) and quite easy for beginners. However, after spending a full day at the hill you will eventually be ready to face the harder slopes. Tuhamägi is a perfect place to learn Skiing and snowboarding in Estonia.
If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent it for 23€ (3 hours) or 27€ for 1 day. Skiing lessons are also available for 45€/hour. When you get hungry (and you will!) you can check out the Hill Cafe. There is even a possibility to stay overnight at Tuhamäe hostel.
On the downside, Tuhamägi can get quite crowded on weekends. The slopes are rather short and the lift lines are ridiculously long. Basically, this means 30 seconds ride and a 10-minute wait. Luckily, the crew is extremely helpful and ensures that everyone can get on a lift without a problem. Also, the air is rather polluted due to nearby production/coal plants.
One of the largest hills with very good infrastructure. Very long drive from Tallinn (214km, 2h 40min drive), so the best idea is to stay overnight in or around Otepää or at least in Tartu. There is a total of 8 slopes and a few lifts, offering something for everyone.
A trip to Kuutsemäe can easily be turned into a fun weekend trip combined with SPA holiday (Pühajärve Spa is a good option). You will be happy to relax in a sauna and swim in the pool at the end of the day.
Prices: 3-hour ticket 29€, equipment rental 17€ for 3 hours.
Equipment for rent is available along with ski school and cafe for a quick snack. This hill can be combined with a visit to Munakas (see below), as the two are very close to each other and the ticket is valid in both resorts.
Munakas – Small Munamägi ski center
Small Munamägi ski center is open 5 days a week, until 20:00, making it ideal for some after-work skiing or snowboarding. Also, this one is the only resort in Estonia with chairlifts! On Fridays they have nighttime ski, meaning that the slopes are open until 23:00. So if you are coming from Tallinn, you get the chance to start your ski weekend already on Friday evening.
The slope is rather small and short, but combined with Kuutsemäe may be a good way to spend a weekend (remember, they share the same card system and the ticket is valid in both). If you are coming with a group of friends, it may be worth renting a cabin (up to 7 persons) with a sauna and fireplace. Price for the weekend – 180€/night.
Known better for its cross skiing facilities, Valgehobuse mägi is a nice choice if you don’t feel like driving too far from Tallinn (63km from Tallinn, 54 min drive) or if you have children with you. The hill is quite small compared to other bigger ones described above, but can still be enjoyable for a few hours.
For kids, they have snow tubing! This place is perfect for complete beginners because the slope is steep and easy. The view from all the way up is fantastic – endless forests.
The best part – it’s not so crowded like Tuhamägi, so you get to the lift really fast. I enjoyed this hill very much, especially when it started to get dark and the lights were turned on. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can easily rent it there for 20€/3 hours.
The road leading to Valgehobuse Mägi is going through the forest, so you are likely to see some wild animals! We spotted a deer right in the middle of the road on our way back – and it didn’t care to move away.
Skiing and snowboarding in Tallinn
In case you don’t have a car or just simply don’t feel like driving anywhere, there are a few options right in Tallinn city. Since snow is falling everywhere, it would be weird not to have any slopes in our capital city. Of course, these slopes are also crowded with young kids learning the art of snow carving. Nonetheless, they are actually worth checking out, because you can enjoy the thrill of riding without losing time (and gas money).
Amazing place, seen from far away thanks to the famous Ski Jumping track. The hill itself is not high at all. The best part about this place is that it can be reached by public transport (bus nr 36 from the city center). I would probably recommend avoiding weekends, as that’s when most people will come here.
Nõmme Lumepark offers some pretty good beginner ski and snowboarding courses. They have learner’s hill, so it’s perfect for your first time. Check out their course schedule, you might even get free courses if you are lucky.
Vimka – Viimsi Mäepark
Once again – one smaller hill, but still a nice place to be. Viimsi Mäepark is one of the newest hills created in the Tallinn area and certainly gaining popularity due to its location, good facilities, and fun atmosphere. This park can also be reached by public transport from Tallinn city center(bus nr 1A).
Perfect for after-work skiing, if you have a car and all your gear is already packed.
Skiing and snowboarding in Estonia – final thoughts
Estonia doesn’t have any mountains, but still, the people who live here crave hills and winter sports. I find it fascinating, how families with children pack their expensive mountain gear and head to slopes every weekend throughout the winter. We have fantastic nature, a beautiful Sea and lots of green forests with fresh air. Even if you don’t get to slide for more than 1 minute at a time, you are still enjoying yourself and the like-minded around you. It’s an experience of its own – a must-try! Plus, once you get comfortable with skiing and snowboarding here, you can proceed to bigger resorts in Finland, Sweden, and other European destinations.
What is your favorite skiing and snowboarding place in Estonia?