The winter sports season kicked off in the Russian city of Sochi at the weekend, with many skiers taking to the slopes at the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Long queues could be seen at the entrance to the Alpine Ski Centre in Sochi's mountain resort of Krasnaya Polyana and the snow fell heavily, creating the perfect conditions for the keen skiers.

The Games, which will open on February 7, will be Russia's first post-Soviet Olympics and meteorologists are already optimistic there will be no shortage of snow for the Games.

Nevertheless snow machines, known as "snow guns" have been installed on the slopes to give them an extra covering if needed.

But on the first day of the season on Saturday, some skiers were left frustrated by the large crowds and the long queues to get to the ski lifts.

Preparations for Russia's first Winter Olympics are expected to cost more than $50 billion.

And with a busy first day in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia hopes that the newly built venues will continue to be used even after the Games are finished.

President Vladimir Putin, who has been in power since 2000, has staked his reputation on a successful Olympics. His image abroad has been damaged by what critics say is a clampdown on dissent, and a law banning homosexual "propaganda" among minors.

Presented by Adam Justice