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Cars and skiers share a lift on a new gondola in Sochi

Some of the biggest gondolas in the world are under construction ahead of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in 2014.

Austrian company Doppelmayr are already working on 20 lift projects in Sochi to install the ski lift infrastructure ahead of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

This includes a giant ‘3S’ style gondola which which will transport cars as well as skiers has also been confirmed for the area, while another 3S gondola in Sochi is set to be the longest lift of this kind  in the world.

What are ‘3S’ gondolas?

3S installations combine technology from a gondola with those of a traditional cable car, with two track ropes, and a haul rope. These lifts are stable in high winds, have a low energy consumption and can span across very long distances.

3S gondolas have previously been installed at several locations in Europe and North America – the world recording breaking Peak 2 Peak Gondola at Whistler Blackcomb is one such lift, with the largest unsupported span between 2 pylons of over 3km between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Cars and skiers to share a gondola ride to Olympics site

This latest lift will be a two-section gondola from Krasnaya Polyana in the valley to the skiing area of Rosa Khutor. The current access is by a road which can get blocked in bad weather.

The mid station will be at the Olympic Village at the ski area then it’s on to the Rosa Khutor Finish Zone where the alpine competitions of the Winter Olympics 2014 will take place.

The gondola will operate over a length of 3100m, ascending 700 vertical metres within 10 minutes. The epic size of this installation means it will also be one  most efficient gondolas in the world with a transport capacity of 4,500 passengers every hour in either direction.

There will be 53  gondola cabins, each carrying up to 30 passengers at a time.

And as for the cars?

Well each get their own cradle slung below the cableway, with 13 available on the lower section and 12 on the upper.

This giant gondola is designed to be quickly converted to add these car-carrying cabins in the event that access road to an Olympics venue should become blocked.

This is one of the stringent requirements from the International Olympic Committee to ensure the Games runs smoothly whatever the weather conditions.

This video gives a glimpse into how the cars will be transported on the first such lift of its kind.

The longest ‘3S’ gondola in the world

Doppelmayr also have the contract to provide the world’s longest 3S gondola, again in Sochi.

This will run from  the yet-to-be-constructed railway station at Krasnaya Polyana to the ski area of Laura where the Nordic competitions of the Olympic Games take place. It will take just over 11 minutes for one of the 43 cabins to travel the length of the cableway. When running at maximum capacity the lift will transport up to 3,000 persons per hour to the competition venues.

With an overall length of 5,383 m this installation will be not only the longest tri-cable installation ever built but also the longest continuous movement aerial ropeway in the world.

Both of the projects in Sochi are planned for completion in 2013 ahead of the Olympic Winter Games the following year.

Crystal Ski are the only UK ski operator who offer ski holidays to Sochi, giving you a chance to ski this eastern frontier ahead of the crowds in 2014. Prices for a short break start from £855 per person for 3 nights at the Park Inn by Radisson, including flights via Istanbul and transfers.

For more information visit the Crystal Ski website or call the team at Crystal on 0871 231 5655. Please note: Calls to 0870 & 0871 numbers cost 10p per minute plus network extras.

This post was written by Amy Fletcher from Crystal Ski

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