The 2014 Winter Olympic ski runs may be rated double black diamond, but they’re not quite as steep as they appear in this image of the skiing and snowboarding sites for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Image © NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team
The image acquired on Jan. 4, 2014, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft. Rosa Khutar ski resort near Sochi, Russia, is in the valley at center, and the runs are visible on the shadowed slopes on the left-hand side of the valley. Height has been exaggerated 1.5 times to bring out topographic details. The games, which begin on Feb. 7 and continue for 17 days, feature six new skiing and boarding events plus the return of the legendary Jamaican bobsled team to the winter games for the first time since 2002.
In this southwest-looking image, red indicates vegetation, white is snow, and the resort site appears in gray. The area imaged is about 11 miles (18 kilometers) across in the foreground and 20 miles (32 kilometers) from front to back. The image was created from the ASTER visible and near-infrared bands, draped over ASTER-derived digital elevation data.