The “mountain cluster” of venues that will be used during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games look set to provide a lasting legacy for the local region – and Russia as a whole.
Located in Krasnaya Polyana, approximately 40km from Sochi, the newly-built mountain venues will be home to all the skiing and sliding sports during Sochi 2014. After the Games, many of the venues will continue to host major international competitions, such as World Cup events, while also providing modern facilities for the region.
The RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre, Sanki Sliding Centre and Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, for example, will all become national training centres, providing world-class facilities for Russia’s next generation of Olympians.
The Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, meanwhile, which will host the Alpine skiing events during Sochi 2014, will become part of a major new ski resort.
Prior to its successful bid for the Games, Sochi was more widely known as one of Russia’s most popular summer holiday resorts, but the new facilities that have been constructed – such as those at Rosa Khutor – will see it become an important winter destination as well.
"The key achievement of the Sochi Winter Games will be that Sochi is no longer regarded simply as a summer resort, but as a place where people can visit all year round,” said Sochi mayor Anatoly Pakhomov in November 2012. “Sochi has 300 days of sunshine a year. It has a unique sub-tropical climate, so in March and April you can come skiing here and still find people sunbathing on the coast. It can be 10 or 15 degrees below freezing in Krasnaya Polyana and 15 degrees on the coastline.”
"This is really a unique place,” Pakhomov added. “Sochi has always had the capacity to be an all-round resort, not just the most popular Russian summer resort. We never had the infrastructure or the conditions to make it happen before – but the Winter Games have prompted us to take that opportunity.”
Previously, the limited infrastructure in the mountains of the Krasnaya Polyana region made it difficult for visitors to take advantage of the excellent skiing conditions.
As a result of hosting the Winter Games, however, a high-speed train line has been built – linking the region with Sochi – while a new resort has also been developed in Rosa Khutor, with shops, restaurants and international hotel chains all due to open in the coming months. After the Games, it is hoped that Rosa Khutor will become a major ski destination for both Russian and overseas holidaymakers – providing another long-lasting legacy from the Games.