Olympic Games Venues

All sport sites will be organised according to the principle of two clusters : Mountain and Coastal.

The central place of the coastal center will be the Olympic park. All sporting venues will be included here, together with parking area and facilities. For the first time in the history of the Winter Olympic Games and Para-Olympic Games, all ice arenas will be located just a few minutes walking distance from each other. The park has room for around 75 000 visitors simultaneously.

  • «Fisht» Olympic Stadium
  • «Bolshoy» Ice Dome
  • «Shayba» Arena
  • «Ice Cube» Curling Center
  • «Iceberg» Skating Palace
  • «Adler-Arena» Skating Center

The high mountain sports complex is located just 40 minutes driving distance from the coast. This cluster include Biathlon and Ski Complexes, a Bobsleigh Track, a Ski Center, a Ski Jump Complex, as well as a Snowboard Park and Freestyle Center.

Olympic Games Infrastructures

After my stay in Sochi I can really feel the atmosphere of this specific city. The reality of Sochi at the moment is a huge city under construction and pharaonic projects for the Olympic Games.

There is a big pressure from the olympic comitee regarding deadlines respect. In the contract the city of Sochi is supposed to build :

  • 100 km of railway lines
  • 75 km of highways
  •  19 flyovers
  •   20 tunnels
  •  New waste processing plant
  •  Seaport  for a capacity of 10 ships and 300 yachts
  • Goods terminals and port stations.

The real estate sector faces important changes as well. At the moment there are 23 000 rooms in the city and they plan to have 41 500 rooms in 2014.  (12 564 of 4* and 5* rooms)

These infrastructures will be a great advantage in the very competitive tourism industry. On the Russian market there is no doubts that Sochi will become very attractive. The question I am asking is why Europeans would have the desire to spend their holidays in Sochi ?

Mass Event generates mass Impacts

Athletes from 80 differents countries will compete for 98 medals, they will be supported by 600 000 guests, 100 000 workers and 3 billions TV spectators. There is no doubts that the Winter Olympic Games of Sochi will transform the area and generates significative shifts for the citizens of Sochi.

I took part in the international conference organized by Sochi State University in association with Preston University (Uk). Many interesting topics were discussed between students, Olympic Games volunteer center, and  tourism professionals. The key debate was about impacts of Sochi 2014 Olympic Games on the local community, on the economy of the region, on the environement.

Nowdays 400 000 residents live in the city of Sochi, the economic activity is generated by the 3 000 000 tourists who come each year. The main attraction in the Sochi region is the wellness centers, the traditional Russian “Bagna”, the pureness of the mineral water and all the seas activities.

Because of the Olympic Games this city of Sochi will go throught changes and a certain degradation of the current economic system

  • Poorly organized waste collection, processing and neutralization activities
  • Unsolved problems of water drainage and waste water treatment
  • The removal of pebble stone
  • The pollution of atmosphere
  • Private construction activity doesn’t comply with the city’s general development plan
  • Mass felling of trees
  • The great amount of migrant workers

All these issues were identified by the local organizations and several projects are being implemented

  • The Federal Governmental program on tourism development in Sochi up to 2018 . (The total amount of investments is 332 billion rubles)
  • The Schedule for the development of ecological tourism and sea-tourism
  • The plan for the following transformation of the Olympic venues and rehabilitation of disturbed natural properties and complexes
  • The program for reintroduction of the Persian leopard population in the Caucasus
  • Ornithological Park recreation
  • Sochi National Park and Caucasian Biosphere Reserve is to receive needed science and awareness infrastructure

Sochi city

Sochi is the largest black sea resort and summer capital of Russia. The city is spread out along 145km of the black sea coast by the Caucasus. Sochi is located at the same latitude as Nice, but here a subtropical climate is combined with a mountain climate. There are around 300 sunny days a year in this region. Sochi is literally awash with greenery. Palms grow here. Kiwi fruit, pineapple guava, dates, persimmons, oranges and tangerines all are harvested in the area. Its forests are listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites.

The ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana is located 40km away from the coast in the picturesque valley of the Mzymta River. The ski slopes are situated at the elevations between 575 and 2320 m over the sea level. The general elevation drop is 1745 m.

Something I like about Sochi is the desire to innovate. Whatever it is people here are keen on changes for a better life. They have great ideas, they have huge motivation and they have support from the highest authorities in Russia. Natural ressources combined with talented people guarantee a dynamic territory with enjoyable lifestyle.

Caucasian hospitality

When you say “hospitality” a lot of people associate it with Caucasus. Hospitality is one of the most striking features of the culture of the peoples of the North Caucasus, or Caucasians. The fact is it has deep historical roots. Hospitality is a direct result of the tough mountain way of life when a person had to get over the difficulties of environmental conditions and constantly defended themselves from enemies. Guest security was the main duty of the owner, even if the guest was your enemy. The first 3 days you shouldn’t have asked questions about any personal information. But the stranger was under the patronage of the owner only as long as he lived in his house. The guest should have been well-fed, provided with bed, drinks and all necessary things. There is a proverb saying: Without the place there is no grace of God as well.
Nowadays, of course, a lot of things have changed. But the Caucasian hospitality still attracts people from all over the world. Wherever you go, wherever you look in someone’s house, there will be a lot of people willing to feed you, to show local attractions, to invite to taste national cuisine and so on and so on. And if you have a chance to see true wise Caucasian elder, you will never forget him, his stories and toasts. In Caucasus you will never be hungry, thirsty and roofless. We don’t learn hospitality from the book of etiquette, we learn it at mother’s knees.

It is called natural sense of hospitality. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit North Caucasus and to feel the atmosphere of sunniness and hospitality, when everyone glad to see you!

WELCOME TO CAUCASUS!!!

Congratulation to Angélina Krikunova for the quality of her article about Russian Culture.

Arkhyz

Arkhyz means «Beautiful Lady» in the Karachay-Balkar language and after our trip it made lot of sense to me.

This «Beautiful Lady» lives 3 hours from the Min Vody Airport. The road is long, the access is hard but it is worth seeing her and all the gifts “she” offers you.

“She” offers you the generosity of the locals. I swear the devotion of Mahmoud  – our local guide almost made me uncomfortable but never mind it’s in the culture, so don’t refuse presents, traditional meals and legendary stories…

“She” offers you a pure Mineral water. Yes, sometimes Russians drink water and a really pure one. It is pulled from 150 meters water castles to offer all the minerals of the earth and allows to cure many diseases. The plant offers drinking water to many organizations, offices and common people all over Russia.

“She” offers you the warmness of her climate in summer. Excursions on horses along the river, fishing trout and friendly BBQs will be the program. In summer “Arkhyz” also invites you to the song festival which is  held from 5-9 May every year. People from all the country come here to find new friends and enjoy “live” music, playing the guitar, sitting by the fire on a warm summer evening…

And after such an active day oil barrel procedures and sauna will give you the sense of relief.

“She” offers you the opportunity to join the Olympic Games resort of Krasnaya Polyana after 2 days walking through the National Park of Teberda and admiring beautiful nature you can never forget…

“She” offers you a trip in the sky with the 4th biggest Observatory of Russia. It is used by scientists and researchers of the Russian National Institute but you have the chance to visit it in the weekends.

“She” is not always the same. The infrastructure is being greatly developed with the construction of hotels, apartments, roads and chairlifts.

“She” offers you adrenaline with Winter Sports. For the moment you just climb the mountain by yourself or with your helicopter to discover this huge Freeride Area. In 2018 funiculars, chairlifts and gondola will drop you to the top (3000m) to reach a 265 km slopes area.

Thank you Arkhyz for the emotions you procured me, I was so pleased to meet you and I am sure I will see you again.

« Outchin Priatna »

Dombaï

Early in the morning we left the Airport of Mineralnye Vody for a long and exhausting drive to Dombay. The biggest adventure was surely the road. Our driver who must be retired from a rally career did great turns between holes, wandering dogs and cows! Besides don’t fasten your seatbelt otherwise the driver will be offended… After 3 hours of emotions we finally arrived to this amazing spot with impressive glaciers all around and right next to the Natural Park of Teberda. The high season was over so the locals were very pleased to show us all the advantages of the resort. Trust me they have natural skills for hospitality and they will do their best for making your trip great. Our first guide was the famous local guy – Said who is responsible for slopes security, Free ride instructing, skiing equipment providing. By the way he runs a hotel! This man can offer you everything you need for your stay in Dombay even some crazy anecdote in the chill zone of the “ Freedom” bar.

Let’s hit the slopes and discover that Dombaï doesn’t need artificial snow. Indeed the 4 meters of pressed snow in the season must be enough to guarantee you fresh powder off piste. The brand new gondolas and chairlifts will drop you to the top, 3048m above the sea level. From there after less than 1 hour of walking, you can reach at least 12 Freeride itineraries with an average of 2000m vertical drop.

If the avalanche risk is too high, doesn’t matter, you can practice some tricks in the Snow Park made by local riders.

For the most motivated, there is a possibility to rent a helicopter for the day and offer you a Massive Freeride area. For the moment only Travis Rice and the Quicksilver team can offer this kind of service.

Time to get back to the hotel at the back of Said’s Pick-Up. Chilling in the sauna and Russian traditional banya will give you a pure sensation of relief and enough energy to finish this exhausting day.

Enjoying the delicious national cuisine in the Metelitsa hotel we have met Mahmoud, our second guide. After some talks about the strategy of Dombay, he quickly explained us that he was a local rider of Arkhyz and he is the one to introduce us this resort, well-known for the heliski trips and the sky observatory.

The next destination is chosen, see you in Arkhyz.