When the fourth cablelift has brought you near to the top of Mount Achun, you can walk around over the rim or towards the top of this mountain that reaches around 2.400 meters. The views are spectacular and see towards the heart of the Caucasus (no, Mount Elbrus can not be seen from here). To prevent some irritation one has to reckon with a (stupendous) extra charge of between 10 and 30 roubles, to be allowed to walk outside the direct area of the cable lift arrival point.
An adventure on itself is the winding road that leads to Krasnaya Polyana from the Black Sea coast at Sochi-Adler. Along the way, the road passes through a narrow canyon and the narrow road gives spectacular views into the white rocked bed of the river Mzymta that presses itself through the mountains. Sadly enough one is not allowed to stop along the way to make pictures, as the road is busy and it's dangerous to pass any vehicle here. In the near future (summer 2006) a brandnew set of tunnels will offer an faster and safer way to reach Krasnaya Polyana, leaving the old road as tourist attraction that keeps being interesting to take.
A definate MUST in Krasnaya Polyana is to go up by cablelift to enjoy the magnificent view onto the surrounding snowcapped mountains, into Georgia (Abkhazia) and in the valley below where the colourful houses of Kranaya Polyana attract the eye. Up here the temperatures are fresh and the specific alpine flower holds dazzling beauty. The ride in the colourful chairs of a average cablelift takes quite a while and consists of four trajects. In total you spend about 40 minutes gliding over a changing terrain. First mixed foresty then firtrees to end with alpine fields ull of flowers. Of course in wintertime everything must be white and people ski down underneath your feet. New cablelifts are being built in rapid tempo and also whole hotel complexes rise up in the Kranaya polyana neighbourhood.
That's obvious. What are you supposed to do in a ski-resort? You're supposed to ski. And you do that all day long.
If you're a beginner like I happened to be, you're highly recommended to hire an instructor, what will cost about 500 rubles per hour, what is a bit less than $20, two hours will cost 750 rubles. But expect your trainer to be a real crazy-head, the second day he might take you to the second level of the mountain, which is a hill. It's not steep, but you'll be falling constantly and extending both of your hands to the instructor so that he could help you up. If you really don't feel like having your body ache for the next few days, ask him to be less extreme.
Overall, the experience is unforgettable.