Alexey Potapov has said the newly-built Sopka Cluster should become a "mecca" for freestyle skiing and snowboarding in Russia ©Krasnoyarsk 2019

The newly-built Sopka Cluster, one of the main venues for the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, should become a "mecca" for freestyle skiing and snowboarding in Russia, it has been claimed.

Alexey Potapov, a category A snowboard judge within the International Ski Federation and a sports referee of All-Russian category, said as such prior to the upcoming snowboard test events for Krasnoyarsk 2019 this month. 

Potapov served as chief of competition when the Sopka Cluster was tested by athletes at a Snowboard Russian Cup stage in December. 

Men's and women's competitions took place at the venue, with home athletes then offering their positive opinions as the university sport event draws closer.

"Sopka Cluster should become a mecca for freestyle skiing and snowboard in Russia and might just as well attract such international competitions as a World Championship or a World Cup," he said.

"The Freestyle Federation of Russia announced a while ago that Sopka will host a Moguls World Cup stage in March 2020.

"The decision was made after the successful freestyle skiing test competitions of the Winter Universiade Krasnoyarsk 2019."

Potapov first saw the Sopka Cluster last year, during an inspection visit, and stated he was amazed by the scale of the project.

"The ground works had already been completed at a very high level," he said.

"Then I visited Sopka again for the test snowboard competitions of the Winter Universiade 2019."

The Sopka Cluster hosted a Snowboard Russian Cup stage last month ©Krasnoyarsk 2019
The Sopka Cluster hosted a Snowboard Russian Cup stage last month ©Krasnoyarsk 2019

Potapov added: "I would say the Cluster infrastructure has been thought out to the smallest detail and equals Sochi [2014] Olympic venues.

"It provides both athletes and coaches with all the necessary facilities not only for training and competitions, but also for recreation, medical care and meetings.

"But the main thing is that the Krasnoyarsk Cluster has courses for moguls, slopestyle, halfpipe and aerials.

"There is a lack of such venues in our country as their construction and maintenance require serious financial investments, highly-qualified specialists and high-tech equipment, such as snow-making systems.

"Krasnoyarsk is the main supplier of athletes to the Russian national snowboard team.

"It has brought up a real constellation of national and world champions, and World Cup and Olympic Games medallists, including Nikolay Olyunin, a silver medal winner at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"I am sure that Sopka Cluster will bring us new champions from Krasnoyarsk."

As well as snowboarding and freestyle skiing, the Universiade programme includes Alpine skiing, bandy, biathlon, cross-country skiing, curling and figure skating.

Ice hockey, short track speed skating and ski orienteering will also feature.

The Universiade is set to take place from March 2 to 12.