The recent thaw has caused concern for the organizers of the annual Tartu Ski Marathon, set to take place next month. It is not clear right now whether the ski tracks will hold out sufficiently for the race to go ahead, after several days of above zero temperatures, even at night sometimes, rain, and wind.
Never mind that the thaw has led to pools of water forming on the snow; skiers could be observed on the Tartu marathon ski tracks ahead of the event, with those preparing to challenge themselves this year in training.
Nearly 4,000 skiers have already registered for this year's event, to be held on the weekend of February 17-18.
"From the Hellenurme service point upwards, towards Palu and towards the slopes, things change and it becomes a different world," organizer Kaupo Tammemäe told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera."
"It is particularly snowy. There are a few bad patches, but even today, between Hellenurme and the finish line, there is some very nice skiing still to be had."
"If it gets colder and there is a little more snowfall, then the full-length classic marathon course would still be ski-able," Tammemäe went on.
One skier, Kersti, from nearby Elva, said: "The trail is icy and sometimes even watery, and there are pine needles all about on the ground. It's not the best going today, but it's okay, it's no big problem."
The traditional finish line is in fact close to Elva, but it is not yet known whether that will remain the case this year.
Much depends on the weather conditions in the following weeks.
Of this, chief event organizer Indrek Kelk told AK that: "The thaw this week seems set to continue, but temperatures will still be below zero at night. In the meantime, additional snowfall may come, and the forecasts for next week are still clearly on the negative side so far as temperatures go. With the promise of additional snow, though today is certainly no cause for celebration, the current situation on the track does not provide any reason for panic."
The traditional 63 km marathon normally runs from Otepää, Valga County to Elva, Tartu, along with a 31km half-marathon from Arula to Elva, a relay race and events for other age groups.
The original AK slot is here.
The official Tartu Ski Marathon event website is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte