Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sochi, Russia - Unreal

I have struggled since arriving and then departing from Sochi, Russia to come up with the words that do the place justice. I will steal some from Canadian skier Devon Kershaw. They are building three Whistler Villages in a place where there were no inhabitants....and all this is being done in the past 2.5 years with one year to go. Actually one year to go today to be exact. 60,000 workers working 24/7 was what I was told before I arrived, and that is what I witnessed. I hope my pictures can make up for where my words lack. The area geographical is absolutely beautiful. It's a mix of southern Appalachia, and Alaska's Chugach mtn range. Tight river valleys winding amongst deciduous forest covered steep hillsides while shadowed by 2000m peaks. Just incredible. Up at the Nordic venues (a 15 minute gondola ride up from the middle village) is deep in snow. Probably a meter fell while we were there, but it is wasn't enough to hide the scars of the construction process. Down low where ski jumping, and Nordic Combined will take place all you can see are recently moved piles of earth with construction equipment littering the view. Aahh I will stop writing and just post pictures. Basically the process of creating an entire Olympic space in underway with enough man-power and all the money needed. It's massive!
The Aussie's just before the races when the mtns showed up
The finish stretch
A stadium view
Walking from the gondola to the snowmobile/sled shuttle to the venue
The arrivals area from our charter flight.
8 workers to shovel snow.
SnowMo shuttle
Construction storage area and a massive building just beside the gondola station.
Roads cut into the hillside. Tree's erode down the hillside
Above the snowline
No lines on the road. Pass as you wish, just leave space for oncoming traffic. Wow.
Contrasting future. Tourist kids amongst poor as poor construction guys living in Conex trailers.
Train bridge that will link Sochi proper to the up valley villages. Where there was a one lane road that took 3-4 hours to travel is now a full highway and rail line. Less than one hour drive.
Sochi Airport. +17c when we arrived. Yep those are palm trees.
Across the street from the airport
No safety lines
Where did I park my crane
Same guy three days in a row shoveling that exact section of roof.
Another view of that massive building by the gondola.
Maybe that is where I left my crane. This is at the athletes village up at the Nordic venues (XC and Biathlon)

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