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Will it be worth going to Sochi, Russia to ski during the 2014 Olympics?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

During the Vancouver Olympics, I read somewhere (perhaps here) that the skiing was good because the slopes that were not used for the competition were deserted -- most people were there to see the games, and everybody else stayed away for fear of overcrowding.


I am wondering whether to try to plan a trip to Sochi (or more specifically, Rosa Khutor resort) during the 2014 Olympics. My main purpose would be to ski, thought I wouldn't mind seeing a few events. Does anybody have thoughts regarding the venue or the advisability of going there during the Olympics?




post #2 of 7

I doubt there will be any crowds on the slopes.


Russia doesn't have a lot of skiers, and those who do ski usually have the time and money to go to the Alps. Russia also doesn't have a lot of foreign tourists because of the visa requirements, lack of cheap flights, and language barrier.


It's expensive and time-consuming to get to Sochi from anywhere outside of Russia. On top of that, it's near the most dangerous parts of the country, with Dagestan, Chechnya, and other regions in the immediate neighborhood. So, very few people are willing to go there to ski (Russians only go there in the summer for the beaches).


I'm sure the Olympics will increase the numbers on the slopes, but it will be an increase from an extremely small number to a not-quite-as-small number. So, the potential crowds really wouldn't be a factor for me if I were in your shoes.


However, there are plenty of other things worth thinking about. Are you willing to spend that much time and money to go to Sochi when you could get to the Alps more easily from just about every part of the world? Would the increased security threats in an already dangerous area make you feel uncomfortable? Are you willing to take your chances with Russian service given how poor it is compared to other parts of the world (I've lived in Russia, so I can attest to that)? Are you willing to spend your vacation in an area where your main method of communication would probably be pointing and gesturing (assuming you don't speak Russian)?


If you are ok with all that, then I'd say you should go for it.

Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/8/11 at 5:51am
post #3 of 7

I've clearly never been to Russia much less than Sochi but have you taken a look at the trail map:



I can't see how you could do any skiing during the competitions until they open more terrain that is separated from the mountain face where the Olympic runs are located.  Whistler is so huge that they could close down the Olympic chunk of the mountain and you still had 2/3rds of Whistler open along with all of Blackcomb.  Clearly, Sochi is planning to have a much bigger resort but until you see proof that it is built and you hear their plans for operating during the Olympics I wouldn't be making firm plans.

post #4 of 7

If your main purpose is to ski, with the hopes of finding less crowded slopes - than no, don't go to Sochi.  If you want to see Olympic events, soak in the Olympic atmosphere, see that part of Russia AND ski, than yes, might be an ok trip.  Don't know much about the ski area and what will be open for recreational skiing.   Lodging and local transportation might be difficult and expensive.  The whole Olympic atmosphere is a great experience - I volunteered in Vancouver / Whistler.  Honestly, there are not as many 'tourist / spectator' crowds at the actual events as you would think.  A very large number of the people at the events themselves are representatives from the various Olympic committees from around the world, foreign dignitaries, sponsors, media, etc - so a lot of these people are there for 'business' reasons - so slopes may be a little less crowded than normal - also they can be much more difficult to get to with travel restrictions.  Still fun, but a different vibe than being in downtown Vancouver BC where all the 'spectators' were hanging out.  You've got to want to go there for the "whole package' that the Olympics brings, along with some skiing on the side - otherwise, as others mentioned, better places spend your money and vacation if what you're really after is some uncrowded skiing.

post #5 of 7

I'd say go for it! the olympics are the greatest!

post #6 of 7

I went there back in the summer of 1980. Interactions with the locals can be shockingly unpleasant for an average American visitor. If on other hand you spent some time doing tours of active duty in places like Afghanistan, Iraq or, for older folks, Lebanon and Somalia you will be quite comfortable and it is definitely a different place than Alps or Canada. BTW, the mountains in the nearby Georgia are phenomenal. although I am not sure how easy it is to get there nowadays. If you have some extra money to blow it might be an adventure with some unusual experiences. If on other hand the money is an issue and you are looking for high quality skiing time I would take it to some other place, where it will be cheaper, way better quality and less extreme when it comes to your apres ski activities.

post #7 of 7

If your main purpose is to ski, why wouldn't you go any other time of the season? It sounds like Sochi is probably empty in the winter--except for that two-week, monumental event when people will come from all over the world. If you want to watch the Games, go during the Games. If you want to ski, go any other time but the Games. And from the sounds of it, maybe go somewhere else.

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