Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ski, snow and Club France: a day in Красная Поляна!

(There will be an update and pictures of the ice-dance competition later on)
On Tuesday, I took my first (and only) trip to the Mountain Cluster for the Women Slalom and to finally meet up with Emilie!
The weather condition were planned to be heavy rain so I finally was able to use all those winter clothes and thermals I had brought all the way with me!
Early day it was and I headed to the train station at 7. The trip to the Krasnaya Polyana hub is 50 kms and it took 1h45 to get there and it wasn't even the end of the journey.
So far, for me, the slowness of the train is the only glitch of those Olympics. Having to spend so much time commuting to cover so little distances is killing me. Maybe there was a Window for Alsthom or Bombardier on those Olympics? Anyway too late. And everything else has been amazing so that's really just a small complain.
Happened to be sitting on said train with 2 French guys from Paris who had WON a trip to the Olympics with RMC (French radio).
One of them was so blasé about it I could have slapped him. He was unhappy with everything, the events he got, the distance between coastal and mountain clusters and kept taking about the money the Russians spent and how it will all go to be ruins once the OG were over.
He also went on a rant on how people couldn't speak English and the abnormality of it. At this point, I went the obnoxious Olympic expert know it all way with him and gave him an explanation on what most of the venues will become and reminded him how the Krasnodar region was quite remote and not Moscow. My "vous pensez que si vous allez en Creuse vous allez trouver des gens qui parlent anglais?" seemed to shut him up for a while.
What is wrong with people? You just got an ALL EXPENSES PAID trip to the greatest show on earth, just enjoy it!
(The other guy was quieter and seemed more open minded).
This type of people are the reason why I always make a point of saying I don't live in France. Rant over.
Once we made it to Krasnaya Polyana, we had to take two buses to Rosa Khutor (Alpine skiing center) and then a very steep cable cabin up to the mountain.
The not so little secret is that I'm terrified of mountains cable cabins... I can travel round the world in planes, trains and any cars - but being suspended hundreds of meters above a valley scares the sh*t outta me.
I can't explain it, it just does!!!
And lucky me did not even get a seat, so I was wonderfully able to have a 360 view on all that emptiness!!
I tried not to think about it and I made it up to the mountains!
There I finally met with Emilie! They has brought the beginning of the competition forward by 90 min (without notice) so I missed the biggest part of the first run. It was pouring down with rain, but I still enjoyed the end of that run. I had never been to a ski event before and the steepness of the slopes was very impressive! Kudos to the skiers for taking that at such a speed!
I was quite happy with our standing tickets, as it wouldn't have been impossible to sit, and Emilie had arrived early and got us great spots on the first row! The views were great.

We went down for a coffee at intermission and had a lengthy chat with 3 Russians from Krasnodar City, all in Russian if course! My brain was so tired after!!! We obviously had to pose for the usual "you're the first French people I meet" photo with them.
It was then time for the last run of the 30 best times ladies. By then it had started snowing heavily at the top of the slope and the race was delayed by 10-15min. While it could have been a let down, it was actually great to see snow. We are at the WINTER Olympics after all!! 😊
Once the race started, all the girls had a good run (only 1 fall) and the French skier (check name) remained in a Bronze position for a while.
That unfortunately did not happen, but as we were surrounded by many German people and the German lady did get bronze we were able to join in and celebrate! The Franco-German alliance is strong as ever!!
We then headed back towards Krasnaya Polyana. It was cable cabin time again!! Yeah!!! The cabin was made of a big group of CBC sponsored Canadians, more Russians and our dear Krasnodar friends who had had a few beers since we left them.
Krasnodar lady decided that everybody should know I could "speak" Russian and went on to repeat our entire conversation from earlier to all of them!! I was a bit gobsmacked but I was in a middle of a 'bonding' with two Montreal Canadians Canadiens fans over 'our' common hate about the Boston Bruins!
Who said hockey was a violent sport? It has brought nothing but love to me! Lol.
Krasnodar lady was not done yet and she took to me to be liaising with the Canadians as she wanted to know if the Canadian group was enjoying their time in Sochi/Russia.
And we all ended up singing "Россиа, Россиа" in the cable cabin!! What an awesome moment it was! And yours truly totally forgot she was suspended in the air in the middle of nothing!
We then headed to the Club France in Krasnaya Polyana for a bit of warmth and see what the French team was up to in the medal ranking!
As soon as I walked into the Club France, I walked into who is probably my favourite athlete ever, all sports all countries included - Marina Anissina!! Time to react she was almost gone, but kindly stopped for one picture! Unfortunately, I never know what to say to her... I'm just in awe at what she achieved and the sacrifice she went through to achieve it, words fail me everytime! We just took to our seats in time to watch the great end to Martin Fourcade's third race - he literally missed gold by ONE inch!!! Tough, but so far two golds and one silver in one Olympics is something to be proud of!!
Club France had flown a French chef in, and that Poulet Provençal and Speculoos cheesecake were!! Eating those at the same table as French Olympic Gold Medallists Luck Alphand and Edgar Grospiron did not hurt either!
It was a good day for France with a Gold in Snowboard, a Silver in Biathlon and a Bronze in half-pipe!
It was 7pm and time to head home after a great day!

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