Sportress of Blogitude

Blatant Homerism

Lindsey Vonn Fans Pack Her Old Stomping Grounds – Buck Hill – For Viewing Party

There it is, in all its diminutive splendor: Buck Hill. Where a young Lindsey Vonn got her start at two years old. Sure she began commuting out to Colorado to train before moving out to Vail in the late ’90s, but no one will ever be able to take away the fact she started at the humble hill in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Ah yes, Buck Hill. The Little Mound Of Dirt That Could. I see Buck every day when I am driving to work, rising out of the Minnesota River Valley – although it doesn’t take much to rise above the landscape around here – and I remember, just like Vonn, taking my first ski run at the little bump. I imagine Vonn fared better than I did, as I got tangled up in the tow rope on the bunny hill and got slowly and humiliatingly dragged up the nearly flat incline, frozen icicle snot hanging out of my nostrils, much to the amusement of other skiers gawking at my ineptitude.

Memories.

Buck Hill was the scene of a much more exciting – if not predictable – event than the sixth-grade version of Weed Against Speed making a fool of himself on the bunny slope. Despite already likely knowing the outcome and once again establishing the time-worn fact that Minnesotans are a bunch of  damn rubes, fans still turned out in droves at Buck Hill for a “Let’s Watch Lindsey Vonn Win Gold And Act Like We Don’t Know How It Will Turn Out” party.

A video report on the “legendary” skiing locale after the jump.

Buck Hill has a solid reputation for turning out quality skiers, including three Olympians.

Sailer also coached three-time Olympian Kristina Koznick and two-time Olympian Tasha (Nelson) McCrank at Buck Hill. He tells The Associated Press he could see that Vonn had the same potential, but he “didn’t know that she would be that good.”

He credits repetition for giving Buck Hill skiers a leg up. Young skiers are able to grab a tow rope and rapidly ascend the slope, giving them a chance at more slalom runs each night than skiers who train on mountains.

But the rubetastic viewing party is the news here. People freely admitted they knew that Vonn would win the gold, but still wanted to share the moment with others.

“I am so excited for her after watching all that she sacrificed. She really gave up a lot to be where she is. I’m to the point where I’m tearing up at commercials. I’m just so happy for her…nobody in the world deserves it more than Lindsey,” Cara Ilioff who went to elementary school with Lindsey..

“I just knew that no matter what challenges she faces she could do it…and she’s got four more to go. She’ll do it…go Lindsey,” Janice Ilioff.

“It means a lot for everybody. It gives validity to what we do around here and for an area like Buck Hill to have the fastest woman at the Olympics in the downhill which is a high speed, big mountain event come from here, that’s huge,” Brad Weidt.

You can see the video of the viewing party here, but I think you get the gist of it. A bunch of Minnesotans swelling with provincial pride while watching one of their own achieve amazing feats of athletic skill. It’s what we do here.

And did you know this? The greatest Minneapolis rock band of all-time, The Replacements, even wrote a song about Buck, eponymously named “Buck Hill” and which can be found on their classic album, Hootenanny? Cool, huh? Okay, not really, but it’s kind of interesting.

In the end, we Minnesotans are all extremely proud of our Lindsey – how can’t we be? And I know in my mind that she and I will always share our warm memories of Buck Hill, and that feels nice.  Sure, her memories have absolutely nothing to do with mine, but it’s still cool, huh? No? Not even remotely interesting either, I bet.

Vonn fans pack Buck Hill to watch her win gold [KARE11]
‘Little hill’ in Minn. produces Olympians [KARE11/AP]