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Forget snow, Buck Hill prepares for year-round skiing

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A ski area just south of the Twin Cities has started preparing for a year-round ski and snowboard season (if you can even call something that's year-round a season).

Buck Hill in Burnsville announced last fall that the new owners had some big plans to make it a destination regardless of the weather.

One of the biggest plans is snowless ski slopes.

There's no artificial snow. It doesn't even matter if temperatures exceed 90 degrees.

The innovative synthetic surface produced by the Italian company Neveplast will take the snow out of snowboarding and turn it into a summer sport.

The material doesn't even look anything like snow. In fact, it looks more like a bunch of rubbery bristles.

It seems to work exactly the same as snow, though.

Videos show people on skis and snowboards turning, stopping and even doing tricks on the stuff.

Check out this video Buck Hill put out last month:

The ski area has been busy preparing for the high tech hills that are to open this fall.

Construction started this month. According to Facebook posts, crews are currently working on smoothing out the area so that they can lay the new surface.

You can watch video streams of what's happening on Buck Hill's website.

Once the surface is set, it doesn't need to be removed. Buck Hill says on Facebook that snow just falls over the top in the winter.

In addition to expanding recreational opportunities, the updates will give athletes more opportunities to train.

A story published in the Travel section of USA Today once noted that the Burnsville hill has produced a disproportionate number of champions, considering its size, writing that it’s “famous for the racers it has produced. Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn learned to ski there, as did Kristina Koznick, who competed in three Olympics and won six World Cup races.”

The snowless slopes are set to open in early September. Fall passes are on sale.

David Solner, a Buck Hill business parter, told MPR News last fall that only one other ski area in North America has a dry slope, and that's in Virginia.

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