Summer at Olympic heights

November 5, 2014

What to practice at Krasnaya Polyana resorts in summer? In order to make the answer known to as many guests of the Sochi city as possible, employees of Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center invited journalists to make a tour around the resort facilities. During the tour, media representatives, editors of tourism websites and bloggers were also followed by some vacationers. See the day of a deep dive into the active leisure in our new ‘Olympic’ photo report.

As ‘the theater begins with a hanger’, Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center starts with the 5-star Grand Hotel Polyana.

In more than 10 years the surrounding area of the complex has changed drastically: new cableways, parking areas have become available, new leisure and business facilities have been constructed.

At the low station of the aerial cableway, the starting point of our journey, the information center is set to work. The whole Mountain Tourist Center is showed in small here. And though the size of the model is over 8 square meters, it is made at a scale of 1:2,000 and all the Center’s facilities can hardly find room there.

By the cash desks opening, the fans of hiking are gathering already at the low station – a part of their route will pass through Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center, the hikers will cross it by Gazprom’s cableways.

We also used the cableway to find ourselves at an altitude of about 1,500 meters above the sea. Here are the first visitors. We are coming round to Mountain Shelter No.1 – in winter it hires out alpine touring ski equipment, and in summer – a lot of other ‘vehicles’ for mountain travellers.

Galina Vachagaeva (left) – Deputy Head of Service Department and trainer manager is demonstrating summer equipment for hire and explaining safety regulations right away.

Sure, mountain bikes are offered for hire: selected for various ages and track complexities. And there are less known means of transport…

For example, mountainboards. These boards for riding in standing position are equipped with a braking device and large wheels. One should be specially trained to ride them.

Here are summer sledges for downhill riding with manual steering.

Ordinary scooters…

…and special scooters. It is a heavy scooter, which is able to produce a significant speed at a sharp slope. It is designed only for adults.

It’s time to test the ‘mountain transport’.

Riding is permitted only in protective helmets.

Mountainboards are recommended for those experienced in snowboard or skateboard riding.

With a summer sledge – it’s a bit easier,…

…though not everybody would dare to ride it – the track of medium complexity features a significant incline.

Girls enjoyed it a lot, while men desired for more extreme riding.

They preferred solid mountain scooters.

Journalists remember to record the events. Some of them are shooting the riding process, the others – tourists.

For the guests of Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center several observation sites are equipped with binoscopes – devices enabling to explore the Caucasus Mountain Range, waterfalls and mountain hiking trails in a good approximation.

Some travellers left for a sightseeing tour to take lovely pictures from aerial cableways.

Ann, a young guest of the Tourist Center chose a mountain bike. We will make sure later, that this girl is very brave.

Galina Vachagaeva, already familiar to us, shows the location of various resort tracks – bike, roller, hiking and sport ones.

Apart from tracks of different complexity for tourists riding, there are tracks equipped for professional sportsmen – biathletes and skiers. We met with training teams!

Using roller skis for summer training, sportsmen build up high speeds: they slip by tourists watching them, in just seconds.

However, sports fans come up with a chance to communicate with sportsmen.

They wait till the break in an exercise, collect autographs and take pictures as mementos. A bit later we will also have a chance to speak with trainers and members of Russian biathlon teams.

Even though almost the entire resort could be viewed from cableways, many people yet prefer to walk here.

And this choice will be rewarded.

After all, near the Biathlon and Ski Complex, where the Olympics were held just recently,…

…the first high-mountain kart track is located against the background of the charming landscapes. It is set at an altitude of nearly 1,500 meters above the sea.

Our guests were in for a surprise – the organizers suggested that they should take part in team karting competitions. For this purpose, all volunteers fell into groups and chose names for the teams. For example, the names were the following: ‘Butterflies’, ‘Team No. 6’, ‘Arrows’, and ‘Muggles’.

There is the entire ‘Bearded Men’ team.

Instructions before starting,…

…and races began!

And here is the youngest participant of races! Ann dared to close with older participants.

The necessary instructions, protective helmet… and, at the end of the competitions, Ann won one possible score to her team.

The real fight shaped up.

The fans supported their teams as best as they could!

Media representatives appeared in several characters – they took part in competitions and worked as well. Photo: left – Tatiana Polinyuk, a staff correspondent at ITAR-TASS, right – colleagues from Maks Media Group television company, Galina Mikulchik (correspondent), and Oleg Filatkin (cameraman).

Contrary to the chosen name, Team No. 6 took the first place, while each participant received a small souvenir.

Those who didn’t participate in races enjoyed mountain panoramas – a magnificent view opens up next to the Biathlon and Ski Complex – and umbrellas brought in case of rain were used as protection against the sun.

Let us proceed to the shooting zone at the biathlon stadium. In general, the shooting zone is professionally called ‘the biathlon shooting range’. It is equipped with a target set and an automatic scoring system. We were told about the peculiarities of sportsmen’s actions while shooting, and were actually given rifles into the hands, but…

…we were not allowed to shoot due to the absence of personal permissions. Nevertheless, we managed to feel a little bit as biathletes. Soon real biathletes came to the shooting zone: Ilgiz Samigullin – the senior trainer of the Russian Junior Women’s National Biathlon Team and his trainees.

They said that this complex was considered to be one of the best in the world, and they were very pleased to train and live here. The girls do have a case to compare – Maria Ivanova and Tamara Voronina are medalists of the Junior World Championship in American Presque Isle and other competitions.

In order to save some time – we go further by buses.

This is a new hotel complex – Polyana 1389 in a Mountain Olympic Village which hosted leading sportsmen of global biathlon and ski races not long ago. The name of the complex, as you have already guessed, corresponds to the elevation above the sea.

Certainly, we examined the new hotel rooms…

…and came out to the porch, where one could appreciate not only the wonderful mountain landscape,…

…but also the scale of this complex. Its capacity – around 1,000 people. Mountain ski tracks are situated several meters away from here, and this will, for sure, please fans of mountain skiing and snowboard.

By the way, Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center offers a plenty of catering options, including barbeque.

One more stop – this time at the Pikhtovaya Polyana area, near the 3S aerial cableway station. Architectural concept of the station is the combination of the futuristic design and appearances of mountain groups, this is one of the most noticeable buildings at Krasnaya Polyana.

Here we fall into the story of Evgeny Nikishin – a hiking instructor with over 20 years of experience. He has a sound knowledge of the Krasnaya Polyana history, and can talk about it absorbingly interesting.

Not far from the horses we can also notice an ‘iron horse’ indispensable on mountain roads. Tourists are offered horse-riding tours or car trips along special routes.

We are getting acquainted with horse riding instructors, and they encourage everybody to try saddling right away, promising that it is ‘by no means scary’.

Almost everyone had a treat, but… we should hurry downhill.

After getting down by the 3S aerial cableway, we found ourselves at the lower station of cableways of one more resort – Alpika. The Galaktika community center is situated nearby. It is our destination.

The Galaktika community center is accessible on foot from Alpika or the Krasnaya Polyana high-speed railway station through a pedestrian bridge over the Mzymta River.

The Galaktika community center is one of the most interesting facilities in Krasnaya Polyana.

Comprising a waterpark, an ice rink, an information and entertainment center, a club for children, cafes, and cinemas, the center is designed not only for family recreation, but also for business events – it also includes a modern multifunctional conference hall for 1,000 people.

Together with our travellers we are going to get some rest and to have a dinner: it is the evening already. Our trip took almost the whole day, but this story includes by no means everything that can fill up a holiday at Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center. We will certainly share more about our resort!

Elena Plyusnina (Gazprom Sotsinvest), Gazprom website Editorial Board

P. S. We appreciate the input of the Advertising Directorate of Svod International and the Corporate Affairs Directorate of Gazprom Sotsinvest in arranging the press-tour and its coverage.

You can find large-size images in Photos.