April showers bring May…skiing? With warmer weather and sunnier days ahead of us, winter is the last thing on a Minnesotan’s mind. But perhaps Buck Hill, a skiing hill in Burnsville, is trying to change this perception.
Skiing has traditionally been seen as a sport for winter enthusiasts that are not afraid to brunt the cold. However, with Buck Hill’s adoption of revolutionary technology, these winter enthusiasts can enjoy skiing all-year round. According to Buck Hill’s website, this whole experience is made possible by an Italian company, Neveplast, developing a synthetic surface that acts similar to snow when skiing or snowboarding.
Since the announcement of all-year round skiing last summer, employees, winter enthusiasts, and locals have all been eager and curious to see how you can ski without snow.
Curious no more! Skiing on this new technology at Buck Hill has been open since the fall of 2016 and those who have tried it are believers.
AVHS sophomore Abby Friedel is one of these believers: “Overall, I think it is good for Buck Hill. It gives people who love skiing an opportunity to go once in awhile, all-year round.” Friedel tried Neveplast at Buck Hill this fall.
This extended skiing season is not only encouraging to skiers, but to Buck Hill as well. Buck Hill is now aiming to be in business for 12 months a year as opposed to the relatively short winter season that it had before.
Besides being able to experience a longer duration of the skiing season, skiers who have tried this new option at Buck Hill are some of the lucky few in America, and even the world, who have skied on this new technology. Tom Schulz, director of Buck Hill’s ski school, in an interview for a WCCO article last fall mentioned that the technology has been around for years, but has never been implemented in the same scope that it has at Buck Hill. This is the largest implementation of the technology in the world.
Having this never before seen opportunity right here in the southern metro even has employees excited. Apple Valley High School senior and Buck Hill employee Kylie Maxfield says, “I think it is a very different experience but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun!…No one has ever done it so no one will ever think it may be an option. I think the more people know, the more they’ll love it!”
This opportunity is not just exciting, it’s accessible. If you want to try this for yourself, a weekday summer lift ticket is $12 starting in mid-June this year and a weekend lift ticket is $18.
But before you try this for yourself, check out Buck Hill’s website for rates and helpful tips to prepare for this technology.
The future success of this Neveplast surface is optimistic but not guaranteed. “I think that it’s a great invention, but you can’t compare it to snow… I’d like to hope that it will spread across the country, but I’m not sure if it will,” says Friedel.
Only time will tell if all-year round skiing will be as successful as winter skiing has been for generations at Buck Hill.
So as you are preparing for spring, perhaps don’t completely try to put a Minnesota winter behind you after all.