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Winter sports and mild weather: What makes Sochi popular winter destination

Tourism managers and local officials have told TASS about the best ways of spending winter vacations in Sochi

SOCHI, December 1. /TASS/. Sochi, Russia’s most popular Black Sea resort, is ready to welcome tourists both in summer and in winter.

The warm subtropical air and the Caucasus Mountains protecting the city from the North make Sochi’s climate very mild.

A number of local officials and tourism managers told TASS about the best ways of spending winter vacations in Sochi. 

More than 20 hotels and sanatoriums have special off-season offers and big discounts for the winter period as part of the Open South tourist program, which was launched ten years ago.

"The Open South project invites tourists to spend their vacations in Sochi and receive medical treatment for no more than 1,400 rubles ($24) per day. Tour operators have shown interest in this program," said Sergei Domorat, the head of the city’s resort department.

Hotels with no less than three star rating and a swimming pool and offering full board and medical services can take part in the project, the official said.

According to the Culture Ministry of the Krasnodar Region, about 460 tourist sites will be open in the region during the winter season. Visitors will be offered to travel along 170 tourists routes in all parts of the Krasnodar Region.

The famous Sochi sanatoriums are ready to offer treatment of heart diseases, nervous disorders and other health issues, as well as special spa and relaxation programs, including mud therapy.

Tourists coming to Sochi always visit the Olympic Park and attend sports competitions.

"Our guests from northern regions come to Sochi to prolong summer. The sea is already cold but we can have some warm days for sunbathing at the beach," said Ellina Akinshina, the head of the Sochi Planet tourist association.

She said that people who had no vacations in summer or fans of winter sports travel to Sochi in the off-season.

Temperatures on the Black Sea coast do not fall below five degrees Celsius. Many people come to the seaside to celebrate New Year and Christmas.

The Sochi City Hall told TASS that the resort will be decorated with sculptures of dolphins, jellyfish, seals and octopuses before the New Year.

However, Ski resorts with 37 chairlifts and trails are the most popular Sochi destinations in winter. Their daily capacity is about 15,000 people.

The Krasnaya Polyana resort, which hosted competitions of the 2014 Winter Olympics, has 150-kilometer ski runs with various levels of difficulty.

Preparations for the ski season begin in Krasnaya Polyana in mid-October when the temperatures in the mountains fall below zero. The season usually lasts until mid-May.

The resort’s hotels can simultaneously accommodate more than 50,000 people and they are always fully booked for the New Year and Christmas holidays.