Russia's £9 billion ski resort plan for the troubled North Caucaus area took a major hit over the weekend when terrorists launched an attack on a ski lift and minibus, leaving three people dead. 

Russia's Tourism Union told Retuers that the attack on a minibus of Moscow skiers by masked assailants was the first "terrorist" attack on tourists in Russia. It added that around 5000 tourists visit Elbrus annually.

Alexander Khloponin, presidential envoy to the North Caucasian Federal District, has called on travel companies to "not bring new groups . . . explain to them this is in the name of security."

This news follows the suicide bomb at Moscow Airport in Janurary which killed 35 and injured many others.

As Russia continues construction of Sochi Resort for the Winter Games, the usual "will it be ready in time" debate has been replaced by very real security concerns. Sochi is close to the restive North Caucays and the head of Russia's Internal Security Service, the FSB, has already warned that terrorists are planning to target the Sochi Olympics.

Extra Olympic security is no doubt extending spending further on what is already "the most expensive Winter Games on record". Some reports in the Russian media have suggested the total cost will be close to $2 billion.

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