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Moltzan, Ankeny take top honors in 2011 Buck Hill Invitational Chuck Stone Memorial Race

Top area skiers compete in annual Burnsville pre-Christmas races under blue skies and on speedy slopes

World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn cut her skiing chops on Buck Hill in Burnsville as a pre-teen.

And maybe, just maybe, there was another Lindsey Vonn competing or watching on the Buck Hill slopes Friday.

Close to 300 skiers took their turns on the runs Friday in the 2011 Buck Hill Invitational Chuck Stone Memorial Race.

Named for Charles W (Chuck) Stone, the Minneapolis founder of Buck Hill – who passed away in 1994 – the races annual draw some of the best state and regional downhill ski racers.

U.S. Ski Team member Mike Ankeny won the men’s race Friday, followed by Matt Strand and Dylan Bryant.

Paula Moltzan finished first in the women’s race. Second went to Maisie Ide and third to Sterling Grant.

Ankeny, Strand and Grant are all members of the Buck Hill Ski Racing Club.

“The hill was cool in the morning but then it turned out to be a beautiful day,” said Erich Sailer, long-time award-winning coach of the Buck Hill Ski Racing Team and a member of the US National Ski Hall of Fame. “It was a good day with plenty of sunshine and the snow conditions were pretty good  to very good.”

Ankeny, Strand and Grant are all members of the Buck Hill Ski Racing Club.

Since its start in the early 1970s, the Buck Hill Ski Team has produced many Junior Olympic and Junior National Champions, US National Champions, Collegiate All-Americas, more than a dozen US Ski Team members, four Olympians and 2008 and 2009 World Cup and World Champion Lindsey Kildow Vonn, who grew up in Burnsville before moving to Colorado when she was 13.

“We’re an assist to the community,” said Sailer. “It’s nothing big, nothing fancy, but kids can learn to ski.”

That they can.

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