Spring has sprung too early in Sochi

Switzerland's Christopher Lambert crashes during men's freestyle skiing aerials training at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.
Sergei Grits, AP

SOCHI, Russia - Spring is in the air in the one place they'd rather not have it: at the Winter Olympic in Sochi, Russia.

When the temperatures go up, the skiers go down, especially in the new thrills-and-spills events like slopestyle, where the warm, sticky snow made for more spills.

France's Marie Marchand-Arvier crashes into safety netting during the women's downhill at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Charles Krupa, AP
It was in the 60s in Sochi.  It's often mild here, even in winter, but not this mild.

Silver medalist Devin Logan said the key was to embrace the warm -- not fight it.

"You can't control Mother Nature so you just have to go with it, and I mean all the other competitors are dealing with it just like you," she said.

The Winter Olympics often have snow trouble CBS News
 Russian President Vladimir Putin has said complaints about Sochi conditions, on the slopes or in the hotels, are just more Cold-War style Russia-bashing.

The Winter Olympics often have snow trouble. There can be too much of it, too little, it can be too hard or in this case, it's too soft. That's why the Russians were stockpiling it from last winter. But even Putin can't guarantee it's the right kind of snow.

Russians head to Sochi for the beach -- not the snow CBS News
 Hearty Russians usually come here for the beach, not the snow -- even now.  Anyone who is coming for the snow had better hurry.

The Russians say between Sochi on the coast and the ski areas in the mountains, they've built a combination of Miami and Aspen.  It's a little more Miami now and on Thursday it's supposed to be warmer.

  • Mark Phillips
    Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.