Krasnaya Polyana is Russia’s answer to Vail or Aspen. It’s the country’s preeminent ski town with three ski complexes, plenty of hotels, and a preponderance of snow. It also happened to be the site of many of the events of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which means it is now a part of history books.
"I went to Sochi in December," says Hendrickson. "That mountain range was so pretty."
Among Russian mountain men and fur-bedecked heiresses, visitors negotiate vast off-piste snowfields, groomed runs, and steep gorges flanked by waterfalls. If skiing at the resort appeals, the bounty of what lies beyond might appeal even more. Backcountry guides and helicopter services based in Sochi ferry the adventurous into the wilds of the Caucasus, a blank canvas of untracked snowfields.
Ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson may be young, but she has no shortage of hardware. Already, the Park City-based ripper has snagged plenty of World Cup medals in ski jumping. Plus, she was the World Cup overall champion in 2012 and the World Championships gold medalist in 2013. Hendrickson represented the U.S. at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and will also be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
- Nat Geo Expeditions