January 3 - Russia's President and Prime Minister today hit the slopes in Sochi, the planned site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, to give the Russian resort town a New Year boost.

A series of photographs showed President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin skiing and sharing a ride on a snowmobile.

Medvedev and Putin went skiing and snowmobiling, and talked with other tourists.

The two happily posed for pictures with many of the skiers, and signed autographs.

The two leaders then moved inside, chatting over cups of tea at one of the resort's cafes.

Nonetheless, the light-hearted event received some criticism as Medvedev wore only a knit cap, not the safety helmet recommended for skiing.

Putin, who had been criticised for not wearing a safety belt while seated in a car during a publicity session in Sochi last summer, wore a helmet.

Both men are currently on holiday with their families in the region.

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