'Action man' Putin hits the slopes of Sochi ahead of Winter Games

Story highlights

  • Vladimir Putin hits the slopes in Sochi
  • Russian president dons skis on a visit to Winter Games host city
  • Practices on runs adjacent to the pistes used for Olympic competition
  • Visit comes amid security fears after attacks on Volgograd

Russian President Vladimir Putin never misses an opportunity to show off his 'action man' credentials and used a pre-Games visit to the Winter Olympics venue at Sochi to hit the ski slopes.

Putin did not test out the runs which will be used by the world's best in a little over a month, but instead strutted his stuff at an adjacent ski complex run by gas giant Gazprom.

Putin, who has staked his personal reputation on making the Games a success at the Black Sea resort, will likely spend several days inspecting the facilities, which come with a reported $50 billion price tag.

Read: Sochi 2014 key to Putin's legacy?

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"In the next days, the president will closely inspect the mountain and coastal sites and again verify the preparations made for the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Games," a Sochi 2014 spokesman said.

His arrival in Sochi comes in the aftermath of two deadly explosions in Volgograd, which left over 30 people dead and cast fears over security arrangements for the Winter Games.

Security, already tight, has been ratcheted up across Russia and in particular around Sochi.

Putin visited a hospital in Volgograd on New Year's Day to speak with survivors of the blasts before heading 700km north to Sochi.

Read: Putin visits victims of Volgograd blasts

He has cultivated a 'tough guy' image in the past -- not least as an accomplished judo player -- reaching 6th dan and a similar rank in karate.

Putin has variously been pictured horse-riding bare-chested and swimming in a mountain stream in Siberia while on vacation.

He has also played ice hockey and sat in a bobsled used by the Russian team preparing for their home Olympics.

His prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev, also donned a black ski suit to ski alongside Putin and later inspect facilities.

Read: Mighty Putin, puny Medvedev