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30 Jan, 2009 12:39

Olympic fever grasps Sochi

The coastal venues in the Russian city of Sochi hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics are still far from completion, while the mountain resort construction continues unabated.

The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held both on the coast where the temperature rarely falls below 0 Celsius and the mountains which are within an hour’s drive.

The construction of Olympic sites on the mountain cluster is concentrated in three places at the moment.

One of them is the Gazprom mountain facility which was opened to the public a year ago and will host the upcoming Olympics’ cross-country competitions. The stadium for this event will be complete in 2012.

Another project is Rosa Khutor – the heart for the alpine disciplines, as well freeriding and freestyle. With a price tag of $US 1.4 billion, Rosa Khutor will be a temporary home to nearly 3,000 Olympians, stretching over 600 hectares.

The organisers claim that although there's plenty of natural snowfall, some pistes will be supported by artificial snow as well. The first international competition will take place there in the year 2012.

As Rosa Khutor Executive Director Aleksandr Belokobylski explains, there will be 14 ski lifts which will serve over 55 km of pistes.

“Up to 15,000 fans will be able to watch freeriding competitions and 18,000 can comfortably enjoy the alpine disciplines. The Olympic village in the mountains is located 1,150 metres above sea level and can accommodate up to 2,600 people,” he said.

A home for the Olympic media village located 540 metres above sea level will be ready in 2012. It will be able to house over a thousand members of the press who will be covering the mountain events.