After a fairly painless travel day from Munich to Frankfurt and then onto Sochi. We traveled on the flight to Sochi along side the alpine and nordic skiers from Germany. Needless to say there was a lot of gear to pick up once we arrived in Sochi. We were also traveling with a few extra pieces of baggage. Just 42 extra pieces belonging to the Canadian Alpine team (the luggage was left behind after an extremely full charter flight). Everything arrived and there were no issues at the Airport. As we flew into Sochi I was able to snap a photo of the Coastal Village and if you look closely the cauldron. An alright photo despite the fog, rain and through an airplane window. From the Airport it was now a really quick drive up the valley to Rosa Khutor to my hotel. There are two highways literally side-by-side up the entire valley, one dedicated solely to Paralympic traffic. It was amazing to be driving to the Mountain villages yesterday during the day and seeing what it all looks like. Last year we arrived at 4 in the morning and departed at 3 or 4 in the morning. I never actually saw much of the area while driving then but this time we could see everything. It has been impressive to watch everything go by as we drove. Then towards the end of the drive finally it was like ‘hey, i kinda recognize that’. What has been worked on and accomplished in the last 12 months is mind blowing. Everything being finished and buildings that didn’t even exist are decked out for the Games. The Organizing committee has done ab incredible job.
Arriving at the Airport was very smooth, walking through and finalizing the accreditation and organizing the luggage on where it all ends up. All interactions yesterday and today have been smooth, efficient, all the volunteers are very helpful and I haven’t suffered any headbanging moments. The first few days are always about discovery and finding what makes you the most comfortable and what works best. Like clothes. Once I arrived in my room there was a red suitcase with all my Games clothing inside. Tried everything on to see what it all entailed but also to ensure it fit. Really good clothing package for these Games.
Up at the venue, in theory everything is the same; race courses, stands and wax cabins. But to look at it now, its it’s own city up there compared to last year. Two massive, two story, container buildings are set up as team rooms. Raised walkways run in ever direction for ease of travel. A large transportation hub with buses and shuttles for a half dozen routes drops you off in front of this massive complex. When last year we rode snowmobiles from the gondola to the ski stadium up a big hill, it is now paved and is a busy roadway with the shuttles. The Nordic Ski Housing where most of the athletes are staying is headlined by this enormous hotel. I’ve only explored a tiny fraction of the hotel and it is something else!
With a short ski this morning to test out the snow conditions. It is soft, slushy out on the courses. Here’s hoping it will firm up a little bit before the racing begins. Resting for the remainder of the day and staying focused on what needs to be done but enjoying the surroundings as well.