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Estonia - Part 2

Tue, Aug  11, 2009 - By Karl Saidla

OK. Finally, the ski training part. After Parnu we travelled to Otepaa where most of the Estonian skiers train and where all their big races ( like World Cups and the Tartu Ski Marathon) are held. Otepaa is probably the one place I wish I could have within driving distance of Ottawa. At their World Cup ski trail area, "Tehvandi" they have a 6.2km rollerskiing track which I would guess is probably the best one in the whole world. It covers what would be a quite legitimate ski racing trail in terms of terrain, and has been more or less perfectly designed with all the right types of grades and downhills which, while certainly very exciting, are made reasonably easy thanks to impressive engineering and forethought. They also have designated "ski walking trails", once again, very nicely designed with desirable grades and very regular coverings of sawdust.

We could rollerski to and from the village and the ski trails along something called "Sporditee" (Sport Road), which is a normal road which has been designated as one where people riding bikes, walking, running or rollerskiing are given priority. This also connects to a network of bikepaths that follow some nice gently rolling roads. In other words, you have every rollerskiing option you could want at your fingertips.

I just loved the mix of quaint country atmosphere, peaceful scenery, and incredible ski training facilities. What more can I really say?

This is the saun ( That's how it's spelled in Estonian) building at our hotel. If you wanted, you could fish in the pond and the hotel people would fry it for you! Another great hotel activity was "supervised Viking axe throwing".

The Tehvandi rollerski tracks. The pile of sawdust at the top of the picture covers snow that they will put on the trails in October.

Megan on "Sporditee". Why couldn't they do this on the Gatineau Parkway?

The Tehvandi building. I wonder who arrived on the motorbike....

 Megan on the rollerski tracks with the new international jump in the background

Megan going for it on the "big corner"

Here's the great little swimming spot where we would go after rollerskiing. It is just below our hotel.

This is the view from the great "Harimagi Tower", one of the highest points in the whole area. No, it's not very high ( maybe 300m?), but the Estonians are proud of it.

That's why they built Harimagi tower!

So, given that this is the longest article I have ever written for this website, I guess I will leave it there!