Krasnaya Polyana is one of the most scenic and beautiful world-class alpine ski resorts. It is located 40 kilometers from Adler at 600 meters above sea level. The valley is surrounded by magnificent mountain ridges and peaks of about 3 thousand meters – the Main Caucasian Range, the five-headed Aibga and Achishho mountains. Three alpine resorts offer several cableways to the ski tracks and mountain slopes, the fourth ski resort is about to be commissioned soon.
Krasnaya Polyana is called the snowy pearl of the Caucasian Black sea coast. No other Alpine skiing destination in Russia is as popular as Krasnaya Polyana. It is small wonder that it attracts skiers from all over the world, as there is hardly any other ski resort in the world that incorporates so many enticing attributes: unique forests, centuries-old glaciers, eternal snowcaps of the mountains, lakes of crystal-clear cold water, white waters of mountain rivers. The flora and fauna of the Greater Caucasian Range have always been known for outstanding diversity and splendor. The climate in Krasnaya Polyana is of rare alpine-marine type. On top of this all, the alpine resorts stand out by excellent snow slopes that attract enthusiasts of snowboarding and skiing.
Krasnaya Polyana, along with the Olympic Park, had all the virtues to develop to an ideal host of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games in 2014.
The resort zone of Krasnaya Polyana consists of two settlements situated on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasian Range on the banks of the Mzymta river – one of the fastest rivers in Krasnodar krai. The name of the resort took after the name of the largest of the two settlements that lies at 550-600 meters above sea level surrounded by four peaks – Pseashho, Chugusha, the five-headed Aibga, and Achishho - a ridge of several cliffs. Their summits are almost always covered with snow and rise to the height of about 3 thousand meters. Upstream of Mzymta, there is the second settlement which used to be called Estonski Sad (Estonian Garden), and now is called Esto-Sadok.
The main complex of cableways, taking skiers to the carefully maintained pistes of various length and complexity, is located right next to Esto-Sadok, on the northern slope of five-headed Aibga mountain. Tourists are heartily welcomed at four tourist complexes – ‘The Mountain Carousel’, ‘Rosa Khutor’, ‘Laura’ (Gasprom) and ‘Alpika-Service’.
The “Alpika-Service’ lift beats any other alpine cableway in Russia: the vertical drop is 1698 meters. It means that tourists ascend from 600 meters to 2238 meters above the sea level. A splendid vista opens from the highest point over the Caucasus highlands. In clear weather the range of visibility can be up to 100 km.
In summer 2013, three new cableways were commissioned in Krasnaya Polyana – ‘Kavkazski express’, ‘Zapovednyi Les’ and ‘Olympia’ taking visitors to the highest panoramic point at the resort - Rosa Peak at 2320 meters above sea level.
Winter and summer holidays in Krasnaya Polyana
The skiing season in Krasnaya Polyana lasts from December till May, i.e. almost half a year, although the high season is January-April. Our national skiers claim that the quality of pistes in Krasnaya Polyana is on par with those in Europe. Here you can even find special evening pistes that are equipped to ski in the evening. Expert athletes and amateurs can choose slopes according to their skills and wishes, so even beginners can start their alpine experience on easy slopes that are specifically adopted for training. There is a ski school to master all the intricate techniques of winter sports. The freeriders who consider the maintained slopes too boring, can enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the backcountry.
Family vacation in Krasnaya Polyana with kids over 3.5 years is quite a pleasure. There is a real kindergarten at which instructors and tutors teach kids to balance on skis while parents indulge themselves in riding the slopes.
Summertime holidays in Krasnaya Polyana are no less exciting and interesting than in winter, and maybe even more diverse. Enthusiasts of active pastime are offered speleotourism, cliff climbing, fishing, quad bike and jeep safaris, rafting, horse-back riding. Fans of less adventurous ways of travelling can choose alpine trails of some specific category of difficulty out of many, or just wander in the picturesque surroundings. It is also possible to glide like eagles up above the beautiful highlands on a parachute, paraplane, or take a helicopter ride.
There are many attractions worth visiting in and around Krasnaya Polyana. Among them are: the Dragon’s Jaws caves and Ashtyrskaya cave, Ahtzu and Dzyzrinskoye canyons, Besymjannyi No name) and Bratja (Brothers) waterfalls, the Khemelevskije, Atzetukskije, Kardyvatch lakes. Inquisitive tourists can visit a house-museum of Tammsaare, an Estonian writer, in Esto Sadok, as well as the ethnographic museum at a school in Krasnaya Polyana, or the hunting lodge of tsar Nickolas II. A wonderful view opens from the slope of Achishko mountain.
Krasnaya Polyana is famous for its numerous mineral springs and honey. By its composition the mineral spring water is similar to waters of Kavkazskiye Mineralnyie Vodi (Caucasian Mineral Water) resorts. Krasnaya Polyana resort area is part of the Sochi National park and of the Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve, therefore official permits are required to enter some sites for tourist attractions.