ROSA KHUTOR, Russia - The Russian resort town of Sochi is set to host the Winter Olympics in just a few months. The city is famous for its beaches on the shores of the Black Sea, where the average winter temperature is 50 degrees. The area also has skiing.
An unseasonably warm winter of 2013 had forced Russian officials to start storing snow for the winter of 2014.
Silver contraptions on the mountains and the upcoming competition have drawn tourists to Roza Khutor.
"Anyone who hasn't been here should find a way to come and visit," Renariy Tanayevski said. "It's hard to put words to what is around us."
Roza Khutor is the mountain where Lindsey Vonn and others will compete. Roza Khutor to Sochi, is about the same distance from Brekenridge to Denver.
Russians say it has more than 5,000 vertical feet, making it one of the biggest lift-served mountains in the world.
Even in the summer, the mountain and the three gondolas it takes to get to the top are impressive. It takes two rides to get to the snow storage.
"As it was explained to us this is some sort of thermal insulation special material," Olga Tanayevski said. "It reflects sunlight and keeps the temperature underneath."
She and her husband Renariy, a former military man, have been vacationing in Sochi for 10 years. This year, they came to check out the Olympic sites.
"The nature is beautiful and the work that's been done here is impressive as well. We're proud," Olga said.
"It's quite impressive. Good job," Anastasiya Luganskaya said.
The upcoming Olympics brought her and friends Anastasiya Javoronkova to Roza Khutor.
"This is very impressive, for a layman, this is hard to comprehend. I, for instance, can't believe that snow is under that tarp and how that amount could cover everything that's needed," Luganskaya said.
"We'll count on the snow cannons," Javoronkova said, "It's some sort of a new thing."
Russian officials have said they expect some stored snow to melt, leaving more than 300,000 cubic meters available for next year.
Spectators, like one of the two Anastasiyas we talked to said they're more concerned about a good showing at the games themselves.
"The minimum goal is not to embarrass ourselves. And maximum to excel," Luganskaya said.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)