Beyond Powder: Artificial Ski Slope Set to Open at Buck Hill, Minnesota

Robin Azer |

Buck Hill, a tiny Minnesota ski area located 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, is out to change the face of off-season skiing. Set to open for the first time later this week, the resort has designed an artificial ski slope utilizing a new surface that simulates skiing, without the snow. Owners Don McClure and David Solner traveled to Italy last year to investigate various products to fulfill their new vision for the mountain. They wanted a means to expand year-round recreational activities while also providing unique opportunities for competitive training.

“We feel this is a really big deal.We will be moving our resort from an uncontrollable four-month season to a 12-moth facility [that] may draw more people into the sport.” David Solner, Co-Owner of Buck Hill

Neveplast, an Italian company started in 1998, set out on a mission to create ski slopes from synthetic materials to imitate the sensation of skiing or snowboarding on hard pack, any time, anywhere. The material is strong enough to hold up to usual ski equipment gear, requires minimal maintenance and stays in place year round, buried under real snow in the winter months.

Neveplast: thick bristles that mimic the sensation of snow
Neveplast: slick plastic bristles that mimic the sensation of snow

Lindsey Vonn, got her start skiing here, as well as four other Olympians, including Kristina Koznick, leading Ski Magazine to give Buck Hill the moniker “Legendary Capital of American ski racing.” Small even for midwestern standards, claiming less than 300 feet of vertical drop, this tiny giant proves it’s not what you have, but what you do with it that counts.

Passes for the Neveplast Buck Hill ski slopes are on sale now in preparation for the Grand Opening September 23, 2016. The season is set to run through November.

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