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23 Mar, 2009 07:09

Ski police patrols Sochi’s pistes

Five years ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics the authorities in the Russian resort city have formed a ski police squad to patrol the pistes being built in preparation for the 2014 Games.

“It's a good surprise. People get a totally different impression of a policeman,” says police lieutenant Artyom Bogatov who is one of Sochi's six ski patrolmen.

Sochi is famous for its mild subtropical climate, but it is also well equipped for winter sports: the snow in the Caucasus Mountains does not melt even in the summertime.

Sochi and the Krasnaya Polyana ski resort have been picked by the International Olympic committee to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

Krasnaya Polyana is popular among Russian and foreign tourists. There is little crime in this village, but minor incidents do occur, so police say there is a need to patrol the ski tracks and surrounding areas.

Besides skis and snowboards, for serious pursuits the policemen use snowmobiles. With all the Olympic construction underway, the number of new ski tracks in Krasnaya Polyana has tripled and so has the unit's patrolling area.

The officers came up with the idea to use snowboards on their own, and Sochi's police department has supported their initiative.

“This has to be taken into consideration as well, as the Olympics are coming soon,” explains Sochi Police Department Spokesman Aleksandr Erenburg.

By the year 2012 the construction of the Olympic venues in Sochi will have to be completed. They will be tested during smaller sporting events, which will undoubtedly occupy Krasnaya Polyana’s new ski policemen ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Combating power shortages

Meanwhile, Sochi's authorities have remodeled Sochi's powerplant.

The facility is now ready to serve the mountain cluster of the city's future Olympic project.

The area has experienced power shortages, but the state-of-the-art equipment now in use will prevent them in the future.