We’ve all heard that the Sochi Games cost over $50B and that there was an awful lot of infrastructure built to welcome the games. It’s obvious in Adler, but striking in Krasnaya Polyana.
I believe the road and railway from Adler to Krasnaya was the most expensive project although driving it isn’t that impressive. It’s a gradual incline that crosses a river several times. I have no idea what it looked like before, but if that’s the $1B per mile road, I am not sure why it happened. The more impressive road is the one that goes from Krasnaya to the nordic centre in Laura. A thousand meters of elevation change and pretty much all retaining walls. I don’t have a good picture because it was raining/snowing that day. I cannot imagine how much concrete was trucked up to build this road.
The road to the alpine centre of Rosa Khutor is a bit more mundane. It’s typical switchbacks one sees going up to big ski hills. I’m sure it was still costly though. A network of gondolas was also built to move people up without road congestion. All shiny new and leading to a rather small ski area compared to the Banff & Whistler areas. In fact, I have no idea how all this infrastructure will be used in the future.
One afternoon, we went up to the adjacent (and also new) Gornyana Karusel ski area. Three gondolas to get up there and we didn’t choose the right day. Not only was it a statutory holiday, but it was also International Women’s Day and ladies rode up free. We were going to ski, but tickets were sold out. Almost everyone just went up to check the view. From up there, you can see the totally new town of Krasnaya Polyana. All new buildings! Only time will tell if this is viable. There aren’t many options around, but the resort is far from major markets so my guess is that they’ll be dependant on Russian tourists.