[R89R, Buck Hill], near the Twin Cities, may be best known for its highly touted race training program through U.S. Ski Hall of Fame coach Erich Sailer, which has produced at least five Olympic champions over the last 20 years.

What's not as well known is that the ski area also has been a longtime leader in the important area of renewable energy, which they are just as proud of.

"It's amazing the number of people across the nation who know of Buck Hill because of Erich Sailer and our racing program.  But, there are few ski areas that have had the success at producing ski racing champions that his program has," Buck's longtime General Manager Don McClure told OnTheSnow.

"Buck Hill has also been a leader in the field of green energy, which I'm equally proud of.  For the last seven years we've purchased all energy requirements - 100 percent - through Wellspring Renewable Wind Energy," he enthused. "Electricity is our main power source.  We use over 1.5 million kilowatt hours per season.  Purchasing this large amount of wind energy is equivalent to planting 287 acres of trees annually."

The ski area has held a leadership role in the EPA Green Power Partnership Club for the last few years.

"We've also upgraded all of the motors on our lifts and snowmaking pumps," McClure added.  "It's a cumulative effort, which has allowed us to actually conserve energy costs by about 10-percent per season.  It's important that we all find ways to conserve, and this is our way to help give back to a community that's supported us for the last 50-some years."

The ski area received the National Ski Areas Association Silver Eagle Award for energy conservation and clean energy use in 2006.