And they’re off!

When February comes around, do you dream of slipping off for a spot of fresh Alpine air and those gloriously crisp, sunny days for which chocolat chaud was created? If like us you can’t always fit in a winter ski break, you’re maybe a fan of getting your thrills vicariously through the likes of Ski Sunday. And, like us, you’re probably looking forward to catching some of the action underway in Sochi!

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Even those amongst us who wouldn’t profess to being big on watching winter sport rather than taking part are no doubt intrigued to see whether the former USSR can pull off what is possibly the most expensive Olympics EVER.

Better known for its beach resort, Sochi on Russia’s Black Sea coast has been transformed against all the odds into a modern city ready to welcome the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games (7-23 February). With its tropical climate, the city has seen a huge injection of both cash and the requisite powdery stuff to ensure it’s suitably snow-capped for the proceedings.

Following London 2012 and with the emergence of a new generation of skilled athletes, British hopes are high for a record medal haul, whatever the conditions. GB’s best tally to date was a grand total of four, won in the inaugural Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924. Do we have another Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards in the making? Can we curl our way to success? Could this be our year??

BBC Sport has touted the 10 leading British contenders with all eyes on bobsleigh, curling, freestyle skiing, speed skating, skeleton and snowboarding.

Whatever the outcome, we’ll be cheering on the sofa. And counting down the days until our next ski holiday!

If you are lucky enough to be heading to the slopes yourself, check out our winter sports cover. And DON’T break a leg.

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