Have you ever wondered why the groomers are not out when there is clearly snow on the ground?
The following information contains compilations about the ins and outs relating to trail grooming from manuals, other snowmobile clubs and through our own trials and tribulations while grooming.
Before questioning why the groomers are not out or why the trails appear to be missing signs some questions to ask yourself are:
First and foremost it must be remembered that the individuals setting up and maintaining these trails are ALL VOLUNTEERS.
So where are the Groomers?
The most important requirement for grooming effectively is the temperature. The ideal grooming temperature is between 0°F and 23°F. As the snow is collected in the drag, it has to be able to flow like flour. Once the temperature gets close to 32°F snow begins to stick together so instead of flowing out from under the pan the snow builds up in the drag until it spills over the top in large chunks or balls. These chunks become very dangerous when they freeze in the middle of the trail. When the temperature drops below 0°F the steel starts to get brittle and the equipment becomes very susceptible to breaking when it gets hit by a solid object like a rock or stump. The safety of the operator must also be considered since even though they are equipped with communication equipment and warm clothes, it’s not a great feeling to sit in a cold broken down groomer in cold temperatures waiting for a ride in the middle of the night.
We got 6” of snow last night so how come the groomer isn’t out?
The idea behind effectively grooming is to cut the moguls off completely, not just fill in the voids around them. If the voids a just filled in once a few sleds ride over them the new snow settles and low and behold the mogul is back. When grooming fresh snow the drag can’t be lowered deep enough to cut the mogul off because snow collects faster than it can flow out under the pan therefore the drag fills up and snow overflows the sides. After a fresh snow it is better to let the snowmobiles run it in and knock the air out of it then when the drag runs through this new snow it packs much tighter. Grooming is not scheduled or performed during heavy snowstorms because operator and snowmobiler safety are the main concern and it is not productive to operate the groomers in these conditions.
Most grooming is done at night because it is safer and more effective. Safer because there are not as many sleds on the trail and the bright lights of the groomer are visible for greater distances. Grooming at night is more effective because it is usually colder and the snow sets faster, also the longer the trail sets with no snowmobiles on it the better. The setup time takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours depending on the temperature and moisture content.
Bath Sno-flakes Snowmobile Association
6993 County Route 15
Bath, New York 14810
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