Ski a plastic slope, no snow needed. A ski hill in Minnesota is set to open a year-round slope that requires no snow; in a bid to attract more participants and build its reputation as a premiere training facility.
Buck Hill Ski and Snowboard Area will open three Neveplast slopes this month, making it the first winter recreation area in the U.S. with the Italian-made, artificial runs.
From September 10, visitors to Buck Hill can rip down beginner and advanced courses carpeted by thousands of slick plastic bristles that mimic the properties of snow. The Neveplast slopes work at any temperature, do not need a drop of water, and are left in place when the snow falls. They will sit buried under real snow until it melts in the spring.
Buck Hill: Year-Round Ski Training
While small, Buck Hill is a launch pad for aspiring ski racers yearning for turns. Four times World Cup championships winner Lindsey Vonn famously cut her teeth at the resort, and today young racers hone slalom turns on its slopes before progressing to bigger mountains.
“Even with the great snowmaking capabilities we have, we cannot depend on mother nature co-operating — so extending our season will be a big plus regardless of the weather,” said Buck Hill co-owner David Solner.
With 16 trails and 262 feet of vertical drop, Buck Hill is small, but it may be a trend-setter for winter sports thanks to its installation of a year-round surface.