Questions about Grooming:
Learn more about snowmobile trail grooming: www.snowmobilers.org/groomer_guide/GroomerGuidecomplete.pdf
I paid my club dues, why aren't the trails groomed for my ride?Our grooming equipment is getting more expensive every year with the price of fuel and maintance. Every weekend and sometimes evenings the ski-slopes are packed with skiers enjoying their recreation of choice often paying $25 to $65 for four hours of facility use. Snowmobile club dues are $25 for the season, that could be 2 months or 4 months of trail grooming not including signage, brush cutting, culvert replacement, bridge repair and hours of prep work. If your not volunteering, who's getting the "deal of their lifetime?" Our NYS funding varys depending on snowmobile registrations which have not been holding or increase due to poor riding conditions last year. In summary, with the resources and inexpensive fee it cost to ride any snowmobile club trail, we should all feel it's a priviledge not a right. Please volunteer for trail work your opinion will quickly change.
I have free time, can I operate a groomer?
EZ Riders take grooming seriously, the expensive equipment we operate is even more expensive to fix. A large break could shut down a groomer for the entire season. Operators need to be mechanically inclined to recognize problems or breaks before a situation worsens. Trails are tight and is some places same width as a drag leaving little room for error. For that reason we appointed a Grooming Program Manager (GPM) as recommended by NYS, to oversee maintenance, operation, inspection and scheduling of grooming equipment. Contact GPM to schedule ride and to learn more about grooming and opportunities to participate.
When I meet a groomer, who yields?
Its NYS law, riders must yield to all groomers, big or small, even if a sled is pulling a drag. A groomer often times is pulling a full drag of snow and if the groomer has to slow, it can get stuck with full drag of snow.
What is the difference in a RAM Steer or hydrastatic track steer? Our club operates three types of groomers. The ASV tracktruck is a track steer and pulls a snowsaver drag on a pintle hitch, this unit is nice in windy trails and can turn around in small area. When it steers in one direction one track slows while the other speed up to pull the tractor in the intented direction, only downfall is that you can loose traction on one side especially on hillly or in deep snow conditions. The JD6200 is a RAM Steer which means two hydralic rams attached to the drag unit and rear of of tractor push the tractor in the intended direction of steer meanwhile keep both tracks moving at the same speed avoiding loss of traction. This type of groomer is good in climbing hills and on nice wide trails because it does take more room to turn around and often requires some forward/reverse to get turned in the opposite direction. Key to optimal steering is having a heavy drag with snow so that the hydralic rams push the tractor in the right direction otherwise the drag moves rather than tractor. You normally won't find the larger machines working in low snow conditions. Our third and fourth rigs are a Ski Doo Skandic Wide track and Arctic Cat Bearcat with 4' wide mogul master drags, these units are the most versitle units and used on feeder trails or narrow areas to local businessesl. Only problem with the smaller 4' drags is with a heavy snow fall it is difficult to get large moguls undercontrol because you don't have the heft or length of a conditioning drag and the unit flows with the terrain and takes mutiple trips to smooth trails and stresses the equipment and machine.
Why don't the groomers run more often during poor trail conditions?There's a couple reasons why groomers aren't on the trail as much as some believe they should. First, keep in mind that groomers do there best work alone, free from traffic. Our trails are approximately eight foot in width, our large grooming drag is eight foot in width and that gives no room for traffic to pass, causing some riders to pull off the trail and risk getting stuck. Second, our groomer operators are volunteers many who have regular jobs and/or commitments that causes some jocking of operators at short notice. The officers are always working on a schedule asking operators to committ to certain days providing snow conditions are well enough on the assigned routes.
Trails were rough today, why didnt I see any groomers out?
Our groomers typically operate at night or early morning. The purpose of a groomer is to remove moguls, not to break new trails after a light or heavy. The cold snow conditions after dark allow groomers to bust-up moguls moving snow thru the drag which causes friction, creating heat and resulting in a new smooth foundation, similar to paving a road. Grooming at night provides ample time the trail needs to set up hard to withstand heavy traffic. Groomers are well lighted and more visible at night too, providing for safe travel. Our grooming rigs will run during the daylight hours in cold conditions to repair heavy traffic trails although results are quickly washed away without ample time for the trail to set before being ridden by snowmobiles.