Tallinn street skier: It had been on my bucket list for a long time

Joonas Plaan
Joonas Plaan Source: Erakogu

An Estonian man recorded skiing down a Tallinn street after Monday's snowstorm said he had been waiting to do so for a long time. The video, published by the BBC, has been viewed over 100,000 times.

The seven-second clip, shot by passer-by Collin Higgins, shows Tallinn University anthropology lecturer Joonas Plaan skiing down Lühike jalg (Short Leg Street) in the Old Town after Storm Birgit dumped 30 centimeters of snow on the capital.

The Christmas tree-lined side street is one of the steepest in Tallinn and connects Toompea with the lower part of the city.

The video was sent to the BBC and published on its weather service's Twitter page earlier this week. It has been viewed by over 100,000 people so far.

"It was on my bucket list for a long time. I was waiting for the right moment," Plaan told ERR when asked why he had decided to ski down the street.

He said he did not know the person who shot the video but said several people were filming at the time.

"First, I skied from Kalamaja to the Old Town, and when I was skiing around the Old Town people had their phones in their hands, apparently filming me," he said.

Lühike jalg in summer 2021. The street in Tallinn's medieval Old Town connects the upper and lower sections of the capital. Source: Helen Wright/ ERR

The academic said he warmed up around Toompea before making his descent.

"Skiing makes Estonians very friendly and nice — I have never been greeted by so many strangers before," Plaan joked.

"I lived for a long time in St. John's, Canada, where snowstorms are very common. The city is hilly, a bit like San Francisco, and when I was there I used to ski around the city in the same way. I even ended up on local television," he said.

Joonas Plaan. Source: Erakogu

Plaan told Postimees' Elu24 website he had thought about skiing on Lühike jalg for several years. "I have walked there and thought that it would be a great place to ski down when there is a lot of snow," he said.

He told the paper he decided to seize the opportunity and do so as soon as the storm ended and before snow clearing started.

But becoming a meme was "a bit unexpected".

"There has been a lot of funny feedback. I had a long lecture, walked out and was told that, in the meantime, I had become a meme," the lecturer said. 

Storm Birgit covered Estonia with a thick layer of snow on Monday, disrupting traffic and suspending air travel.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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