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Let's Ski Chechnya!

Let's Ski Chechnya!

[ Wed, 2010-02-03 16:18 ]
the Caucasus Mountains in Chechnya
The president of the war-torn republic wants to turn Chechnya into the next Switzerland. Stranger things have happened.

Ten years ago, if you'd have told us there would one day be skiing in the desert, we would've told you to lay off the après. Of course, today you can ski -- albeit indoors -- at a year-round snow dome in Dubai. So we're not going to completely write off the news we just heard, which is that the president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, wants to turn his war-torn and terrorism-riddled republic into a skier's heaven in the mold of Switzerland. "These areas are perfectly suitable for setting up a tourist resort," Kadyrov said in a recent interview with a Russian Web site. "The climate is wonderful, there's beautiful nature." Of course, there's also the minor issue of Doku Umarov, the Osama bin Laden of the Caucasus, who's been hiding out in the very mountains Kadyrov wants to ski. (Remember that bombing of a passenger train in Russia back in November? That was Umarov's doing.) One small ray of hope for Kadyrov's plans is Russian political powerhouse Vladimir Putin, who has long pushed -- often forcefully -- for a more modern, Westernized Chechnya. Putin was a driving force behind the 2014 Winter Olympics being awarded to Sochi, Russia, and his influence could yield dividends for Chechnya's ski-tourist future.

Photo Source: Wikipedia