Krasnaya Polyana, Krasnodar Krai (Russia)
The resort village of Krasnaya Polyana is located 40 km from the Black Sea coast of the city of Sochi at an altitude of 540 m, surrounded by the ridges of the Greater Caucasus, reaching an altitude of 3000 m. It stretches for 5 km along the valley of the mountain river Mzymta. The unique mountain and sea climate of Krasnaya Polyana is characterized by mild snowy winters and warm sunny summers, and allows you to relax here all year round. In summer, you can go hiking and cycling, horseback riding, fishing, and in winter skiing and snowboarding. Numerous hotels, inns, guest houses, restaurants, bars and cafes are offered to tourists in the village.
According to SHOEFRANTICS, Krasnaya Polyana – the most promising and most dynamically developing mountain resort in Russia, because in 2007, along with the city of Sochi, it was chosen as the venue for the XXII Winter Olympic Games and the XI Winter Paralympic Games in 2014. Since then, active construction of new sports facilities and infrastructure facilities has been underway in the village and its environs. Unfortunately, due to construction, some ski lifts in Krasnaya Polyana are closed indefinitely, in addition, during the test competitions before the 2014 Winter Olympics, some ski resorts are also closed, tourists need to check their work schedule in advance. Ski areas of the Krasnaya Polyana resortlocated a few kilometers upstream of the Mzymta River on the slopes of the Aibga and Psekhako ridges. The maximum mark of the slopes is 2320 m. The skiing season varies depending on the height: in the lower parts of the slopes (up to 1500 m) it lasts from late December to April, and in the upper parts (above 1500 m) – from November to June. Ideal conditions for skiing are observed from January to March. There is no single ski pass for skiing at all ski resorts in Krasnaya Polyana.
On the northern slope of the Aibga ridge there are 3 ski centers: ” Alpika-Service “, ” Roza-Khutor ” and ” Gornaya Karusel “.
The closest to Krasnaya Polyana is the sports and tourist complex “Gornaya Karusel”. Today, at an altitude of 960 m to 2200 m, there are 12 km of ski slopes (2 “green”, 2 “blue”, 4 “red” and 1 “black”) and a toboggan run. The ski slopes are serviced by three gondola lifts, one 4-seat chair lift and a training drag lift, while the toboggan run is served by one drag lift. The lifts operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., however, the time of their operation must be specified in advance. In the future, there will be 20 lifts and about 70 km of slopes on the slopes of the complex. During the 2014 Winter Olympics, ski jumping competitions will be held here, for which the Russian Hills ski jump complex is being built. At the lower station of the cable cars there is parking for cars, equipment rental, cafes and shopping pavilions, at an altitude of 1450 m – a cafe and a ski school, and at an altitude of 2200 m – an observation deck and a restaurant with a panoramic view. It is worth noting that the lifts of the complex operate all year round, that is, even in summer, tourists can climb the slopes of the mountains to the observation deck, which offers a beautiful view. In addition, in the summer, the sports and tourist complex offers tourists sightseeing tours, hiking, cycling and horseback riding. tours, quad tours, as well as paragliding and rafting on the Mzymta River. In the immediate vicinity of the complex there are several hotels and guest houses. Alpika-Service is located 500 m upstream of the Mzymta River – the very first ski resort that appeared in Krasnaya Polyana. However, since 2011 it has been closed for renovation. Its slopes in terms of elevation difference (540 m – 2238 m) occupied a leading position in the list of ski resorts not only in Russia but also the world. In addition, the complex offered tourists a unique all-round view of the Main Caucasian Range on the observation deck in its upper part, and skiers and snowboarders – excellent opportunities for freeriding. During the Winter Olympics in 2014, the luge and bobsleigh track “Sanki” will be located on its territory.
“Rosa Khutor” – the youngest (begun in 2010) and the most remote ski resort in Krasnaya Polyana. Today, at altitudes from 940 m to 2320 m, there are 38 km of slopes with a maximum vertical drop of 1350 m. Here skiers are offered 2 “green” slopes (length 1800 m and 2750 m), 6 “blue” slopes with a length from 1750 to 4200 m, 4 “red” tracks with a length of 670 m to 4450 m, 3 “black” tracks (two of them – men’s and women’s Olympic slopes) with a length of 700 to 3800 m and a “Forest” freeride track with a length of 1780 m. Snow cover Some trails are supported by artificial snow. At an altitude of 1040 m, a snowboard park and a freestyle center have been built, however, it is still closed to the public. Tourists are delivered to the slopes by 3 gondola 8-seater cable cars, 2 chairlifts for 6 seats, 1 chair lift for 4 seats and 3 conveyor lifts (for training slopes). In the future, the complex will have 18 lifts and 80 km of slopes. The lifts operate from 9 a.m. to 4-5 p.m., however, it is necessary to specify the time of their operation in advance. At the lower station of the cable cars there is an equipment rental point, a ski school and a cafe, there is parking for cars. There is also a cafe at an altitude of 1150 m. Two 3-star hotels are offered to accommodate tourists. hotels, eight more hotels are currently under construction. During the 2014 Winter Olympics, competitions in all ski disciplines and snowboarding are planned to be held on the territory of the complex.
On the opposite bank of the Mzymta River, on the southern slope of the Psekhako ridge, there is a mountain-tourist center of OAO Gazprom. The mountain tourist center includes a ski resort, a 5-star hotel complex “Grand Hotel Polyana” and a 4-star hotel “Peak Hotel” with a rich number of rooms, a spa and wellness center with saunas and swimming pools, numerous restaurants, cafes and 3D cinema. Tourists staying in these hotels, discounts are provided for skiing on the slopes of the ski complex. The slopes of the ski complex start from a height of 1436 m, where the Psekhako mountain shelter is located. At the moment, 15 tracks have been laid here (about 15 km in total), 5 of which are illuminated at night. 2 “green” runs from 462 m and 702 m, 4 “blue” runs from 420 m to 1292 m, 6 “red” runs from 404 m to 1715 m and 3 “black” runs from 235 m to 1092 m m. The maximum height difference is 450 m. The snow cover of some tracks is supported by an artificial snow system. In addition, the ski complex has several cross-country ski runs ranging from 3 to 5 km long and toboggan runs. 6 lifts deliver tourists to the slopes: 8-seater gondola lift, 2 chair lifts for 4 seats, 1 chair lift for 6 seats and 2 drag lifts. The cable cars operate from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Wednesday, and from 09:00 to 23:00 from Thursday to Sunday and bank holidays. However, it is necessary to specify the time of their work in advance. A ski school, a children’s club, sports equipment stores, equipment rentals, an alpine restaurant and several cafes are open on the territory of the Psekhako mountain shelter. There is a ski station at the lower cableway station, on the first two floors of which there is a parking lot for cars, and on the third floor there are 2 equipment rentals, changing rooms, a ski school, boutiques of world famous brands and a bar. In the future, 5 more cable cars will be built at the ski complex and another 11 km of slopes will be laid. It is also planned to open a combined ski and biathlon complex “Laura”, where during the Winter Olympics 2014 there will be cross-country skiing and biathlon competitions. In winter, in addition to descent from the slopes, the mountain tourist center offers snowshoe hikes (there are rentals and instructors), and in the summer – trips on ATVs, horses and bicycles, hiking, sightseeing climbs to the mountains and fishing.
In Krasnaya Polyana, many companies offer the services of their instructors for freeriding (descent outside prepared tracks, on “virgin lands”) and heliskiing (descent along virgin slopes, to which tourists are delivered by helicopter). However, it is worth remembering that only trained skiers and snowboarders are recommended to engage in such sports.
The surroundings of Krasnaya Polyana are perfect for hiking. Two of the most important protected areas of Russia are located here: the Sochi National Park and the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve, famous for their landscapes, flora and fauna. These are unique territories, because nowhere else in Russia the subtropics are not so close to the highlands. Thus, the maximum diversity of natural zones is observed here. Sochi National Park and the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve offer tourists numerous routes that can be overcome on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Here you will see mountain peaks, canyons, gorges, caves, waterfalls and mountain lakes, you can enjoy panoramic views on observation decks or relax in specially designated picnic areas. In addition to natural objects, unique historical and cultural monuments (remains of ancient sites and settlements, dolmens, tombs) have been preserved in these places. To visit the Caucasian State Biosphere Reserve, you must obtain a pass. To do this, you must send passport data to the director of the reserve, indicate the route and terms of stay on the territory of the reserve. No permits are required to visit the sites of the Sochi National Park.