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Snow in NYC! Sochi countdown starts with a plaza ski mountain

Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:50 AM ET


It's almost here – only one year left until the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. 

As the usual TODAY crowd arrived Wednesday morning, they had a little trouble finding the plaza. They weren't lost, but instead found that it had been replaced by a little slice of Sochi, Russia in the form of a fully functional ski slope named "Mt. Rockefeller."

The TODAY anchors took to the ski lift, bundled up for warmth from the man-made snow.

TODAY correspondent Ben Fogel was in full spirit, wearing his festive Winter Olympic gear while getting an insider's look at Russia's preparation to host the Games next year. 

In more modest apparel than Fogel, figure skater Evan Lysacek was joined by former Olympian and gold medalist Scott Hamilton. Watch them discuss Lysacek's hopes to win a second gold medal and their expectations for the U.S. figure skating teams here.

The TODAY anchors eventually made their way out to Mt. Rockefeller, after taking the proper precautions – in helmets.

Tom Wallisch demonstrated slopestyle skiing, a new event in next year's Games.

The anchors decided tubes were a safer form of travel down Mt. Rockefeller.

Competing in their own mini Winter Games, it was neck-and-neck through the two-man sled leg of the race. Watch the anchors compete in a Winter Olympic triathlon here. 

In the end, Matt and Natalie just edged out Willie and Savannah.

But it didn't take long for everyone to make up, gathering around the fire at the base of the mountain. 

The TODAY anchors left the figure skating to the professionals, as Evan Lysacek took to the Rockefeller Center skating rink.

But Natalie isn't a novice when it comes to winter sports. During a commercial break, the TODAY anchor took a run down the plaza's slope.

Then came Kathie Lee and Hoda's turn on Mt. Rockefeller. Their arrival at the base of the slope was less than graceful. 

Less than an hour after the show ended, the mountain was already being deconstructed, bringing its short stay on the TODAY plaza to an end.