Krasnaya Polyana

Krasnaya Polyana combines picturesque architecture with stylish modern city-living. Photo by Alex Malev / CC BY-SA 2.0

When planning your winter break this year, don’t be afraid to get a bit off-piste. Most people normally think of heading south to warmer climes when planning a Winter vacation, but a skiing trip to a previously remote and inaccessible town in Russia might make a more interesting destination.

Krasnaya Polyana ski resort
High among the Caucasus Mountains, in Russia’s far-west, lies the trendy ski-resort of Krasnaya Polyana. At this resort, you’ll be able to hit the slopes in the morning then wind down with cocktails and fine dining in the evening – as well as visit some of the other places of interest in the town, such as the Casino Sochi, which opened in 2017 and hosts a range of events or the Polyana Local Market, an artisan market in town.

In addition to some of Europe’s most incredible skiing, there are also plenty of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs nearby, so you’ll never be stuck for something to do if you take a day off from the slopes. Some gastronomic highlights include Vershina 2020, which serves up contemporary interpretations of traditional Russian classics, and the trendy but laid-back pizzeria, Modus, as well as a fully stocked supermarket for those who are self-catering.

Olympic transformation
Such vibrant and sophisticated nightlife wasn’t always present here, however. When Russia won its bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, Krasnaya Polyana featured heavily in the country’s plans. Russia’s successful bid prompted huge amounts of money to be invested in the town, which accounts for the modern infrastructure and stylish downtown area it now boasts.

Widening accessibility
Transport in Krasnaya Polyana during those now distant pre-Olympic Games years used to be arduous, but now, thankfully, development and investment have made getting from A to B a breeze. The modern transport infrastructure allows you to arrive in comfort and style. Krasnaya Polyana is now more or less 10 times the size it was before the successful Olympic bid prompted high levels of investment to improve the resort’s infrastructure.

In the old days, skiing here required a very high level of commitment and dedication, as the only way to access the ski routes was via the ancient (and somewhat precarious) chairlifts, something which may have put off less experienced skiers. Nowadays it’s much easier for beginner skiers to access and traverse the pistes.

Krasnaya Polyana has been completely transformed and is totally unrecognizable from the place it was during its recent austere past. Indeed, it’s difficult to underestimate the transformative effect that being selected as an official venue for the Olympics can have on a town, just ask anyone in Whistler.

The past is never far away…
The past hasn’t been completely forgotten, however. Krasnaya Polyana’s quaint architecture has been preserved, giving the village the feel of a secluded winter paradise where you can cut a dash flying through the powder, before heading to a sophisticated restaurant and enjoy a cocktail before dinner. Or, if you’re that way inclined, just skip the skiing and move straight on to the cocktails.

Martini and skiing

Who doesn’t enjoy a cocktail or two? Photo by Unknown / CC0 1.0

Looking the part
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that Krasnaya Polyana attracts a fashion-conscious clientele, so you may want to put some thought into planning your outfits before you leave. You don’t want to feel underdressed when you hit those bars in the evening!

Krasnaya Polyana tends to attract guests who are pretty well-heeled with a taste for the finer things in life, so if you’re looking for a quaint, laid-back destination for your winter skiing vacation this probably won’t be the place for you. If, on the other hand, you feel perfectly at home in fancy bars and restaurants, rubbing shoulders with the kind of people you can expect to find frequenting such places, then Krasnaya Polyana should be right up your street. This is a ski-resort for people who enjoy a high level of luxury while on vacation.

30 miles from the black sea in Russia’s European extreme lies a secluded and vibrant little pocket of modern Russia. This is a place where Russia’s past and future collide with one another and one that might well make a perfect destination for a skiing break.

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