By Jay Lloyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Russians poured billions into an Olympic Mountain complex in hopes of attracting international skiers long after Olympic fever has subsided.
But what are the prospects?
Harry Griffith Jr. of Montgomery County, Pa. (top photo) was a champion ski racer who spent years working and skiing in Russia.
“It’s definitely an adventure,” he says.
Griffith notes that the higher elevations in the Caucasus Mountains produce spectacular skiing, but what the world saw near Sochi took place at lower altitudes.
“You’re dealing with a coastal climate,” he says. “As those other areas start to develop, I think you’ll be able to find places there that have a higher elevation, maybe have more reliable snow conditions.”
But it’s a mixed bag on amenities and ski infrastructure.
“They will be modern ski areas in the sense that they have modern lifts,” Griffith says. “They will not be modern in the sense of things like snowmaking or grooming operations.”
While the Olympic conditions didn’t give Sochi a big snow sports tourism boost, Griffith is itching to go back and ski it.