Olympic downhill test-run as Sochi hosts World Cup

Some of the world’s best winter athletes are putting to the test Sochi’s Olympic venues this weekend. The city is hosting a leg of the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

The Rosa Khutor resort near Sochi already hosted European Cup circuit in February 2011. But the men race on Saturday and Sunday and the upcoming women race on February 18 and 19 are the first world-level event for the facility. Athletes are competing in downhill and super combined in Sochi.

Preparing pistes for the race was a challenge due to sudden heavy fog and blizzard. But organizers got everything ready in time, and the weather too eventually favored the event, RT’s Denis Bolotski reports.

Last week, Russian ladies were the first to compete on the resort’s slopes for the national Ski Cup. Elena Prosteva compared the experience with the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“The piste here can be compared to what I saw in Canada, except there was ice in Vancouver too, which made it even more difficult. But the overall conditions here are good," she told RT.

The 30 kilometers of new ski runs and world-class accommodation of the facility will make the test competitions unforgettable for spectators and athletes alike, organizers hope.

The experience will also be priceless for the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee. They will use the World Cup as a dry-run to give Olympic preparations a boost.