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Olympic Complex Nears Completion in Sochi

Matvei Geller, head of Gazproms special projects department, said all construction work will be finished by October this year.

Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)



  • Work is nearing completion at the Alpika Service ski complex, which will be linked to the bottom of the Krasnaya Polyana resort by the worlds longest aerial cableway.
    Photo: GALINA STOLYAROVA / SPT

  • The ski and biathlon complex will serve as a training base for Russias teams.
    Photo: GALINA STOLYAROVA / SPT

As the much-anticipated Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games approach, the mountain resort of Krasnaya Polyana is getting ready to host international competitions at its brand new facilities. The state-of-the-art biathlon and ski complex, which boasts arguably the worlds most complex and challenging runs, is set to host the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup Biathlon competition in March this year.

While Russian athletes are yet to produce impressive results on home soil, the team behind the ambitious project has begun to set its own records. The Alpika Service ski complex is putting the finishing touches to the worlds longest aerial cableway, which will link the transport hub at the bottom of the Krasnaya Polyana resort with the ski and biathlon complex up at the Psekhako Ridge.

The cableway will have the capacity to serve up to 3,000 people per hour, according to Vladimir Makarenko, deputy director for the construction of Olympic projects of the Social Invest wing of the Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom.

The technical solution that we are employing on this cableway is unique: This is a so-called 3S road, meaning that instead of the one rope usually used on such cableways, we are using three, said Makarenko.

This extra resource ensures that we can use very large gondolas that can hold up to 32 people. By comparison, a standard cabin has a modest capacity for no more than five people.

Work is in full swing at the future transport hub that will connect those who arrive by train from the Adler-Sochi airport and by bus from the nearby areas to the stadiums by three aerial cableways. The three cableways will together be able to process up to 7,000 people per hour.

At present, with about 70 percent of work completed, Alpika Service is a busy construction site, with shells of buildings looming over piles of facing tiles, pipes, metal and wire.

Matvei Geller, head of Gazproms special projects department, said all construction work will be finished by October this year, when the company will announce the total costs of the ambitious project.

The biathlon and ski complex has already gained praise and approval from both medal-winning sportsmen and sports officials who have had the opportunity to assess the facilities.

Sergei Prosvirnin is a four-time world champion in summer biathlon, a warm weather version of the traditional biathlon in which the skiing is replaced by either running or mountain biking. He now works for the state-run ROS Engineering Service that has been contracted to provide technical assistance in the construction of the Olympic projects.

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