The LMC (Logan Manufacturing Company) Beartrac Groomer was purchased in 1998. The cost of the LMC was approximately $100,000 and was purchased by a grant from the Michigan DNR and matching funds from local skiers. This machine has a power tiller and two hydraulic tracksetters. It is capable of tilling an eleven foot wide trail and setting one or two sets of Classic tracks in one pass. It is powered by a diesel Caterpillar engine and is driven by hydraulic pumps and motors that operate the drive tracks and tiller. The LMC features a heated cab and is normally operated by a single member of the grooming staff. A full groom of the Vasa Pathway using the LMC usually takes about 5 1/2 to 6 hours to complete. The main factor that limits the use of the LMC is the amount of snow on the trail. Because of the metal cleats on the drive tracks a minimum of 4 inches of packed base must be in place before taking the LMC onto the trail. Taking the LMC out too soon will bring up dirt onto the ski surface. Once that happens those spots with dirt will be the first to melt off and continue to be a problem for the remainder of the season.
TART has two Skidoo Skandic SWT V800 snowmobiles used to pull the various grooming equipment used to keep the Vasa Pathway in great condition during the ski season. The snowmobiles are powered by fuel efficient and low pollution four stoke gasoline engines. One was purchased in 2009 and the other in 2011. Each snowmobile cost approximately $10.000.
The Ginzu groomers are manufactured by Yellowstone Track Systems in West Yellowstone Montana. The model used on the Vasa Pathway is 84 inches wide and capable of setting Classic Tracks. The Ginzu can be used in a wide range of snow conditions to provide an excellent skiing surface for both skate and classic techniques. The Ginzu features electrically operated cutting teeth that can be lowered into the snow to chew up the existing base and lay it back down to form new corduroy for a fresh skating surface. The cutting teeth can also be used to mix any new snow with the existing base so that the new snow bonds better with the base to help build a deeper base on the trail. The teeth also dig deep enough under most conditions to allow us to set a new Classic track when needed. Most of the time two snowmobiles are sent out in tandem so that the entire width of the trail can be groomed in one pass. A normal snowmobile groom on the Vasa pathway using the snowmobile and Ginzu or Tidd Tech takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours using two snowmobiles in tandem. The Ginzu was purchased in 2010 at a cost of $5400 with the optional tracksetter
The newest addition to the TART grooming equipment arsenal is the Tidd Tech G2 groomer. This item has been delivered and will be put in service for the 2013-14 grooming season. The G2 is similar to the Ginzu with electrically operated teeth and tracksetter. One advantage of the G2 will be the ability to renovate the Classic track area deeper than the skate lane. This can be accomplished by placing optional track renovators on the cutting bar that will allow the area in front of the tracksetter to be renovated deep enough to set nice Classic Tracks while renovating the skating area only deep enough to set great corduroy. This will allow the snow to set up faster in the skating lane because less snow is disturbed. The Tidd Tech was purchased for $5600.00 with the optional track-setter and track renovator.
Roller are used in deep show conditions or in early light snow conditions to pack the snow and help level the trail. In early light snow conditions the rollers allow us to start building the base by pressing the snow into the trail and keeping it on the trail where it will do the most good. Using any other equipment at this time will often cause much of the snow to be thrown off of the trail into the woods where it will not do us much good in the long run. In deep new snowfall conditions the rollers compact the snow enough for us to be able to make the second pass with other grooming equipment without getting stuck. In deep snow conditions the roller also helps to build up the base while keeping the maximum amount of the snow on the trail. On occasion we receive enough new snowfall that even the rollers will not work correctly. In that case we must pack the trail using only the tracks on the snowmobile and not pull any equipment behind them. We have two rollers purchased at a total cost of $3300.00.
The compaction drag was purchased by TART at the start of the 2012-13 season. This piece of equipment was designed to cut into ice after a thaw/freeze cycle to help loosen up the top layer so that the Ginzu or Tidd Tech can penetrate deep enough to reset corduroy and hopefully Classic tracks. The drag is also designed to cut off the snow on the high spots on the trail and redistribute it into the low spots making the trail more enjoyable to ski on. All of the groomers were impressed with the drags performance last season and welcomed its addition to our line of equipment. The 42 inch compaction drag was purchased for $1200.
All of this equipment requires annual maintenance and modifications to help create the best ski conditions possible.