The (Abridged) History of Snowless Skiing

Who needs powder? A Minnesota resort goes to the mat for its future.  By Greg DiTrinco

There is an annoyingly capricious component of the sport of skiing. It’s called snow. Both skiers and resort operators alike have to deal with the seasonal limits of their passion—and their business model. So what if you removed the unpredictability of snow from the sport?

Buck Hill, Minnesota, aims to find out. This mighty mite of a ski area, tucked in a few miles south of the Twin Cities, is perhaps the biggest supporter of a small, but growing segment of the industry: four-season skiing. The resort has installed an all-year skiing surface to create—in theory—an endless winter. Now a few seasons into the radical experiment, “It took a while, but I’m pleased with where we are,” says Dave Solner, Buck Hill’s CEO and co-owner...

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