Vasa Grooming FAQs

  • How often do you groom? We try to groom when we can improve the skiing conditions on the Vasa Pathway. This depends on the amount of new snow, air and snow temperatures, amount of skier use, and the depth and quality of the base. We try to groom a minimum of four times a week when conditions permit; however, when we receive consistent new snow we will groom as often as necessary. More experienced skiers tend to like hard fast conditions, less experienced skiers prefer to have slower softer conditions, and classic skiers want firm hard tracks. The groomers try to provide the best possible compromise so that everyone using the trail has an enjoyable experience.
  • Why do you groom in the evening or early morning when there are few skiers using the trail? Having grooming equipment on the trail at the same time as skiers leads to safety concerns. We also would like the trail to have a chance to set up before the skiers begin using it.
  • How long does it take for the trail to set up after grooming? Generally it takes from two to four hours. It depends on the amount of new snow, the density of the snow and base, snow and air temperatures, and moisture content.
  • Why don’t you set classic tracks during every groom? We need at least two to three inches of base before we can set classic tracks the conventional way. Sometimes we can use a special track setting roller to set tracks in thin conditions; however, these tracks do not have the depth and traditional look of tracks set normally. Once we have established an adequate base we reset the tracks as often as possible. In order to set good tracks the base must be ground up to the depth of the tracks. In conditions where we have not received new snow in awhile and the base has become hard packed it is difficult or impossible to grind deep enough so the new tracks then turn out worse than the existing tracks. In this case we leave the existing tracks, just renovate the skate lane and hope for new snow.
  • How long does it take to groom the Vasa Pathway? A normal groom will take at least five to six hours. A lot of things can increase this time including removing debris, repairing damage, and the need for additional initial passes to pack significant new snow. It is not uncommon for groomers to spend 8-12 hours on the trail.
  • What equipment do you use? TART has a nice selection of equipment from which to choose. Learn more about the equipment here. The groomers make the decision on what to use after they arrive at the trailhead and evaluate the existing trail conditions. Sometimes they will try a piece of equipment only to find that it is not working as expected and then go back to hook up something else.
  • Who maintains the grooming equipment? Whenever possible the groomers maintain and modify the equipment. Equipment dealers or specialized repair facilities handle serious repairs to the LMC or snowmobiles when special tools or expertise are needed. Approximately one hour of equipment maintenance is required for every four hours spent grooming. This does not include the trail preparation work that is done in the summer and fall to prepare the trail for the season.
  • What are the ways to ruin cross country ski trails in the winter? Footprints – whether they are from dog paws, snowshoes or people’s feet. Dog owners, snowshoers, and hikers should use the multi-use Meadows Loop or the snowshoe trails. Skiing on the trails when they are wet, soft and/or during rain. Big groups of skiers making abrupt turns and stops without filling in holes. Skiers who make unnecessary and radical moves; e.g., hockey stops. Fecal matter! Even multi-use trails should never have dog poop. Don’t deer and other critters leave fecal matter and footprints? Yes, they do, but they don’t have human owners!
  • Why do some skiers skate over the classic tracks? Good question. If anyone has a good answer please let us know.