Just a few days ago, Sochi 2014 – the host of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games – celebrated a special milestone of 2014 days to go until the event. A few days thereafter, its leadership delivered the first official progress report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 120th IOC Session in Beijing (CHN), outlining the team’s achievements during the first year since Sochi’s election.
During the Sochi Games, to be held from 7th to 23rd February, the skiing events will be staged around the village of Krasnaya Polyana some 45 minutes away from the city of Sochi proper. As per the bid book, the Nordic Skiing events are planned to be carried out at the brand new facilities at Psekhako Ridge, which is set to host the Cross-Country and Nordic Combined Cross-Country competitions in 2014.
Initiated in 2002 and opened for the 2005/2006 season, Psekhako Ridge is a new resort owned by Gazprom. It currently consists of 18 trails and six lifts including a gondola, as well as accommodation for more than 8,000 people. The second construction phase is now underway and will include additional pistes, a ski stadium and other facilities to be used during the 2014 Games. Construction of the Olympic Ski Stadium with its facilities at around 1450 m of altitude is scheduled to be finished in 2010. The first official test events as part of the FIS World Cup will in principle be held during the 2011/2012 season.
The second construction stage at the resort also includes four ropeways, ski lifts, summer sports facilities, a multi-level car parking, 300 and 180-room hotels, a cultural center with a water park, conference halls, restaurants, cafes and a business area. Gazprom’s investment in Psekhako Ridge is estimated to amount to a total of Euro 300 million. Psekhako Ridge is intended to become the Russian National Training Center after the Games. A delicate balance with the surrounding nature remains a challenge because Psekhako Ridge is adjacent to the highly valuable Caucasus Nature Reserve and the Western Caucasus World Heritage Site.
â€œThe Psekhako Ridge ski area offers great promise for the Cross-Country Skiing events at the 2014 Games. While significant work remains to be done, including the construction of required accommodation facilities and major transportation infrastructure such as a highway from Sochi, the basis for an excellent Cross-Country venue is surely there,â€ commented JÃ¼rg Capol, FIS Race Director following his recent site inspection. â€œRussia is historically one of the major Cross-Country Skiing nations and given the experience at our recent FIS World Cup events in Rybinsk, we can look forward to great Cross-Country competitions in an outstanding atmosphere at the Sochi Games,â€ he added.