PARK CITY, Utah (July 4) - U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt expressed his enthusiasm Wednesday for the International Olympic Committee's selection of Sochi, Russia, to host 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
"What a fabulous opportunity we have with the selection of Sochi as the 2014 Olympic site!," said Marolt. "It's a chance to take our sports to a new and truly fascinating destination in the Caucasus Mountains along the Russian Riviera of the Black Sea."
The mountains reaching skyward above the Krasnaya Polyana valley are the home to Russia's primary winter resorts with massive alpine terrain. The new Rosa Khutor will have over 5,000 feet of vertical, making it one of the biggest lift-served mountains in the world. And it's all just 30 miles from Sochi on the Black Sea!
Olympic venues are under construction. Most of the snow competitions are planned at Rosa Khutor with nordic events at Psekhako Ridge. Former Breckenridge Resort (CO) Co-President Roger McCarthy recently joined the company building Rosa Khutor to head the development of what will be Russia's largest ski resort.
"Roger was a big help to us with competition and training for our athletes when he worked for Vail Resorts and IntraWest," said Marolt. "It's exciting to know that he will play a key role in building the stunning new ski and snowboard venues in Sochi."
Sochi's airport is just 10 minutes from the city. With the mountain venues less than an hour away, it will be one of the most convenient Winter Olympics in recent history. Sochi represents a truly unique location for winter sports. Spectators will be able to catch an Olympic competition in the afternoon in the mountains, and stroll that evening under palm trees along the Black Sea in Sochi!
The 2014 Olympic region has a rich history dating back to the Byzantine Era. It is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and has welcomed visitors for thousands of years, from travelers and merchants on the famed Silk Road to Russian czars. Sochi became Russia's most popular resort destination a century ago, and continues today to be an attractive international destination because of its moderate climate in the city and over 300 spas along its Mediterranean-like Black Sea coastline and in the nearby Caucasus Mountains.
The climate in Sochi is unique - the northernmost tropical climate in the world due to the unique location between the Caucasus Mountains, including Russia's highest peak (Mount Elbrus - 18,000 feet) and the Black Sea. Temperatures in the mountains likely will be in the 20s with little wind while winter temperatures are expected to be in the 40s and 50s in the city.
"Russia is a great winter sports nation and the hosts will bring incredible passion to these truly unique Games," said Marolt.
Sochi was one of three finalists. Salzburg, Austria went out in the first round of voting, with Sochi eventually prevailing over PyeongChang, South Korea.