Buck Hill

Coordinates: 44°43′26″N 93°16′59″W / 44.724°N 93.283°W / 44.724; -93.283
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Buck Hill
Buck Hill is located in the United States
Buck Hill
Buck Hill
Location in the United States
LocationBurnsville, Minnesota, U.S.
Nearest major cityMinneapolis
Coordinates44°43′26″N 93°16′59″W / 44.724°N 93.283°W / 44.724; -93.283
Vertical   262 ft (80 m)
Top elevation1,211 ft (369 m)
Base elevation   949 ft (289 m)
Trails16 total
- 6 easiest
- 6 more difficult
- 4 most difficult
Lift system2 quad chairlifts
1 triple chairlift
3 rope tows
2 magic carpets
1 snowtubing tow
Snowfall60 in (150 cm)
Night skiingevery night

Buck Hill is a ski hill in Burnsville, Minnesota, a suburb south of Minneapolis. It is one of three ski areas in the Twin Cities metropolitan area; the others are Afton Alps and Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area. Buck Hill opened in 1954 and offers ski, snowboard, and tubing trails. Artificial snow is often used to maintain the slopes, because while Minnesota's winters are cold, the average annual snowfall is low for a ski area: less than 60 in (150 cm).[1]

Buck Hill faces east, overlooking Interstate 35. It is owned by David and Corrine "Chip" Solner. The ski area is lighted for night skiing, and operates three chairlifts (2 quads, 1 triple) and multiple surface tows (trail map). The base area consists of a parking lot and a short strip of lodges. The ski runs use the east face of the hill, with the other sides occupied by residential housing, and a municipal water tower sharing the summit. The ski area's vertical drop is 310 feet (94 m).[2]


Buck Hill was named by early settlers, who noticed its summit was a gathering spot for Mdewakanton Dakota to watch male deer (bucks) drink at Crystal Lake.[3]

The ski area was started by Chuck Stone, who discovered the sport as a child recovering from polio, and had worked as a lift attendant at Suicide Six in Vermont. Returning to Minneapolis, he wanted to start a ski area, and went to the public library to search out viable topography. The present ski area of Buck Hill was the tallest hill close to the Twin Cities, but was on private land, part of a remote farm owned by Grace Whittier. Stone and his girlfriend Nancy convinced Whittier to lease them the property, succeeding where previous wooers had failed, and the ski area began operating in 1954. Whittier left the property to St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota, upon her death.

World Cup racers[edit]

World Cup ski racers Kristina Koznick and Lindsey Vonn learned to ski and race at Buck Hill.[4] Koznick, now retired from international competition, was a top slalom racer. Vonn (née Kildow)[5] races in all five disciplines and is dominant in the speed events. She is among the best female ski racers in history, with four overall World Cup titles (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012) and was the gold medalist in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was also a double gold medalist in the speed events at the 2009 World Championships, taking the downhill and super-G. Vonn has 82 World Cup victories, the second most for female ski racer in the sport's history.

Both were coached by Erich Sailer,[4][5] an energetic octogenarian from Austria who has been Buck Hill's racing coach since 1969. Sailer was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2006.[6]

Pro racing[edit]

The ski area hosted the pro skiing tour in early February 1973 as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. It was raced in a head-to-head parallel format in elimination brackets for both giant slalom and slalom. Two-time defending season champion Spider Sabich won the slalom on Sunday at the McDonald's Cup at Buck Hill.[7] That year's season champion, Olympic triple gold medalist Jean-Claude Killy,[8] won the Saturday giant slalom and was the fastest qualifier in the slalom, but did not place.[7] Killy and Sabich earned $2,500 each for their wins.[9]

Hugo Nindl of Austria won both pro events at Buck Hill in January 1974. He bested Sabich in the slalom final,[10] and went on to win the season title.[11]

Winter activities[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Minneapolis band The Replacements wrote a song called "Buck Hill", with lyrics consisting entirely of the words "Buck Hill" shouted repeatedly.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historical Climate Data". Archived from the original on 2014-04-19.
  2. ^ Rob Story (2008). "Believing in Buck Hill". SKInet. Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  3. ^ Dakota County Historical Society (2005). "Historic Sites: Burnsville". Archived from the original on December 30, 2003. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Dampf, Andrew (January 10, 2005). "Koznick caps successful week for U.S. ski team". Post and Courier. Charleston, SC. Associated Press. p. 7C.
  5. ^ a b Baum, Bob (February 10, 2006). "Kildow leads U.S. women's team with speed, charm". Ludington (MI) Daily News. Associated Press. p. 3, Winter Olympics.
  6. ^ "Erich Sailer's Contribution to Ski Coaching in the U.S." austrianinformation.org.
  7. ^ a b "Spider Sabich takes slalom competition". Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel. UPI. February 5, 1973. p. 11.
  8. ^ "Killy pro champion". Montreal Gazette. April 9, 1973. p. 18.
  9. ^ "Colorado skier whips Austrian". Victoria (TX) Advocate. Associated Press. February 5, 1973. p. 2B.
  10. ^ "Nindl sweeps Buck Hill meet". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. January 21, 1974. p. 7, part 2.
  11. ^ "Top pro Hugo Nindl wins in final slalom". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. April 4, 1974. p. 23.

External links[edit]