|Location||Burnsville, Minnesota, U.S.|
|Vertical||262 ft (80 m)|
|Top elevation||1,211 ft (369 m)|
|Base elevation||949 ft (289 m)|
- 6 easiest
- 6 more difficult
- 4 most difficult
|Lift system||2 quad chairlifts
1 triple chairlift
3 rope tows
2 magic carpets
1 snowtubing tow
|Snowfall||60 in (150 cm)|
|Night skiing||every night|
Buck Hill is a ski hill in the north central United States, in the city of Burnsville, Minnesota, a suburb south of Minneapolis. It is one of three ski areas within 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 utilized for maintaining the slopes, because while Minnesota's winters are cold, the snowfall is relatively low for a ski area, averaging less than 60 in (150 cm) per year.
Buck Hill faces east, overlooking the adjacent Interstate 35. It is owned by Don McClure, 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 physical hill, with the other sides occupied by residential housing, and a municipal water tower sharing the summit. The vertical drop of the ski area is a modest 310 feet (94 m).
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 fiancée Nancy) convinced Ms. Whittier to lease them the property, succeeding where previous wooers had failed, and the ski area began operating in 1954. Ms. Whittier left the property to St. Olaf College, in Northfield, Minnesota, upon her death.
World Cup racers
World Cup ski racers Kristina Koznick and Lindsey Vonn learned to ski and race at Buck Hill. Koznick, now retired from international competition, was a top slalom racer. Vonn (née Kildow) 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. As of February 2015, Vonn has 63 World Cup victories, more than any other female ski racer in the history of the sport.
Both were coached by Erich Sailer, an energetic octogenarian from Austria who has been the racing coach at Buck Hill since 1969. Sailer was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 2006.
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. That year's season champion, Olympic triple gold medalist Jean-Claude Killy, won the Saturday giant slalom and was the fastest qualifier in the slalom, but did not place. Killy and Sabich earned $2,500 each for their wins.
In popular culture
Minneapolis band The Replacements wrote a song called Buck Hill, with lyrics exclusively consisting of the words "Buck hill", being shouted several times.
- "Historical Climate Data".
- Rob Story (2008). "Believing in Buck Hill". SKInet. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Dakota County Historical Society (2005). "Historic Sites: Burnsville". Retrieved September 8, 2007.
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- 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.
- "Erich Sailer’s Contribution to Ski Coaching in the U.S.". austrianinformation.org.
- "Spider Sabich takes slalom competition". Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel. UPI. February 5, 1973. p. 11.
- "Killy pro champion". Montreal Gazette. April 9, 1973. p. 18.
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