The Sochi Chronicles - Rosa Khutor
Antonia from the Euan’s Guide team has been in Russia this week. In this blog, she gives her thoughts on the Paralympics and her passion - Alpine Skiing.
So… Fast forward 3 flights, 4 airports and a rather exciting taxi ride and this story takes up in Rosa Khutor. Home to the Alpine & Cross Country skiing events in the Sochi 2014 Olympics & Paralympics, Rosa Khutor is a purpose built ski resort in the Caucausas Mountains in Russia.
The road up from Sochi was dark - pretty much pitch black - so nothing to point out here until we arrived late at night to the Radisson Rosa Khutor. Immediate impressions were great - there was a large step free courtyard to the front of the hotel. There was a slight lip with a ramp to combat this and signs to accessible doors located either side of the main revolving door. On entering the hotel there was a reception area with low sofas and coffee tables and easy access to both the lifts and a good size disabled loo. The room was great - bed in the middle with ample space and power points to each side and the bathroom was a good size and well laid out. I didn’t see an accessible room - but if my room was anything to go by I’d imagine they would be great!
From the moment I walked in, the atmosphere was great. There were all types of people buzzing about in all types of national uniforms… At first glance I saw Russia, USA, Canada, Switzerland and, my favourite, Paralympics GB.
So, we’re going to have a look at Alpine Skiing in another post, but in the meantime - here’s my first thoughts of Rosa Khutor..
Rosa Khutor itself seems to be a selection of buildings on either side of the river with wide ‘boulevards’ on each bank.
They are all purpose built and many are occupied by large hotel chains e.g. Radisson, Park Inn, Mercure, Tulip Inn etc. Underneath these hotels are independent shops and restaurants and there seems to be ramped access to most of these - complete with markings to help visually impaired people.
Everywhere. Honestly every time you wish to go and do something you have to pass through security in one of a number of guises - from airport style gates to a quick body ‘pat down’ to being on a bus that is swept by bomb detectors you certainly feel that security is of utmost importance. In addition the buses look like they are regularly checked and have the remains of security tape over the doors.
Like gold dust! I originally got tickets to a couple of the Alpine Skiing events, and at the time was told that there were plenty of tickets. I am just so gutted that I didn’t get more tickets then for other sports. Instead I waited until I got out here - at which point I found out there were none left! The audiences I’ve seen have been predominantly Russian - and while I am delighted that the events are a sell out, I am disappointed that I can’t sneak in for a quick game of Sledge Ice Hockey!
Brilliant! They were uniforms that are so garishly bad that they are garishly fantastic! Every volunteer that I’ve spoken to is very happy & very helpful. The majority speak English and if they can’t help they will call over one of their fellow volunteers who will be able to. They seem to have borrowed some of the ideas from the London Olympics with the giant foam fingers and seating up on 'lifeguard style' raised chairs to give directions.
Transport round Rosa Khutor itself takes a number of forms. Buses are the most popular - there seem to be a few different types - and a couple that are definitely accessible and also take more than one wheelchair. There are also various different trains and cable ways - the gondola up to the main Rosa Khutor looks to be accessible and there is also a train that goes down the valley - presumably to Sochi & beyond - although I’ve yet to check this out.
Next up... We'll be talking about the Alpine Skiing events...
Pictures - from top - left to right
- Touchdown at Moscow Airport
- Sochi Airport Arrivals
- Paralympic Symbol at Sochi Airport
- Radisson Rosa Khutor - Entrance / Restaurant / Accessible Loo
- Rosa Khutor at night
- 'Boulevard' style pavements and dropped kerbs
- Ramps at Ice Rink and Tulip Inn Hotel
- Accessible buses in Rosa Khutor
Follow Antonia's adventures on Instagram at instagram.com/euansguide.
Check out the second part of the Sochi Chronicles here.