They’ve finally done it. Buck Hill has eliminated the worst part of the year and may have finally given the Minnesota to Oregon exodus train cause to pump its breaks. We have a 12 month ski season now, too.
Abe, Dustin, my savage friends, you can come live with me again.
Italian geniuses Neveplast have created a plastic surface that skis like consistent ice or hard-pack corduroy and Buck Hill, patron saint of hot laps, early morning shredders, and half-pipe lovers has stepped up and commissioned the largest Neveplast installation in the world. It’s the first of its kind in the region.
A week ago, I drug my friend, Aidan, to Buck’s open house to check it out and get some turns. We lived on Mount Hood together after college, and he’s never quite re-acclimated to skiing in the midwest. This came close to changing his mind; in our opinion, Neveplast rides like a dream.
It’s not grabby like grass or mud, which you may have dabbled in. It’s kind of like skiing on a massive upturned dog brush. Here’s what Neveplast looks like up close:
If I had to compare it to an actual snow condition, it’s like super consistent ice. You can sink an edge into it and lay out carves, but you need to do so with precision; the bristles only allow your edges to cut so deep.
The key is to keep your weight centered – skiing backseat on this stuff will lead to a tumble at best, a rowdy case of road-rash at worst.
I’m not kidding here – Neveplast could flay you living if you’re going fast enough without sufficient protection so make sure you come well-covered.
People recommend doing a couple snowplow runs to get your feet under you. It’s not bad advice, but I ignored it and started riding switch almost immediately without a problem. That’s how similar to real snow this stuff is.
At the top of each run, there is a strip of carpet with more lubricant for your sticks, which is crucial for maintaining speed and low friction.
Buck had two runs open that day. The larger of them had a handful of rails and a small kicker to flat at the bottom, so I got flowy and hit some tiny 180s and switch 180s, then spread-eagled over one of the rails up top. Landing on this stuff is not a dream, but, I mean, what can you really expect from a hard plastic with lubrication embedded in it?
A bigger hill, Milk Run, is being covered in Neveplast right now and will be lift-accessible, making a season pass for snowless skiing something I’m seriously considering pulling the trigger on. Fall passes are $225 for adults, $175 for children, and $150 for seniors and members of the military.