Grooming / Groomer


February 06, 2016, 08:12 PM

I saw a sign at CamRock Cafe talking about raising funds for a professional trail groomer, but I haven't seen it on the website at all.  Are you actively fundraising for a groomer?  On the sign I saw a photo of a Wild Cat groomer, I assume because that is the model you are planning on buying.  Any reason you chose that over the other widely used groomer, the YTS compaction drag? http://www.yellowstonetrack.com/snowmobilegroomingequipment/ytscompactiondrag.html  I don't know a whole lot about either, but I do know that the YTS is designed to break up the snow before it compacts.  That could help here in warm no snow Madison to break up iced in ruts and foot holes.  Snowkraft up in Sturgeon Bay owns both so they would be good to ask about the pros and cons of each model. 
Also, I know here in our first season of grooming we have trial and error in the process.  The groomed trails at QR were great, but after this last snow it looked like you used a different drag that left 4 ruts.  My 4" tires were getting tossed around in those ruts especially where it was wet during the grooming and iced in.  Let's file that one under error and stick with the original drag.
Sorry for the long meandering post, I didn't see another thread on the subject and thought I would get the conversation on grooming techniques started.  Cheers!

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Gary S
Board Member, co-Trail Steward Blue Mound SP
Administrator

February 07, 2016, 09:52 PM

Thanks for your comments.  Expect some things like this to happen until we get a wider range of grooming setups, and more experience with timing the grooming passes with regards to conditions and temperature.

I rode QR Thursday night, a day after it was groomed, and know the grooming marks you are referring to, but quite frankly, didn't find them to be a problem on my 2.4" tires, and I was just happy to be out riding.  I'm not certain what drag was used, as I haven't seen Jeff's setup. The ice wasn't even slick in most areas, it had texture to it.

This is something that I'm certain the fat bike committee to look into.

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augs
President
Board Member

February 08, 2016, 09:43 PM

I believe the groomer that has been purchased at CR is a Caruthers pulled by a Rokon.  Not sure on the research into that choice, but I know research was done.  Like bicycles, no groomer is going to be ideal in all conditions, so, until you have a quiver of them, sometimes you make do with what you have.

Not alot of detail on the groomer here, but a fair bit about how it is working: http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=3294.0.

The QR groomer discussion is here: http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=2846.0.

Seminole groomer discussion: http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=2833.30.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

February 09, 2016, 01:18 AM

Saw this post a few days back, and have been meaning to respond. Don't take it as a lack of interest, but simply a too busy schedule. I'm in California enjoying 75 degree weather and working an outdoor show. A nice break but I would rather be snow biking. Is that wrong ::)
Anwho: As for the groomer you saw on the poster at CamRock Sport. Jon is correct that the model on the poster, and the one we purchased, was a Caruthers Singletrack Groomer. And yes a lot of discussion with other clubs, etc went into this. One item was the price. The Caruthers groomer cost us $400. The Wildcat groomer you mentioned, which is very similar, but with a few tweaks, costs $1600.
Frankly I had never heard of the YTS groomer before your post, and I have been to 2 Fat Bike grooming events/summits/ whatever you want to call them, and talked to five  other clubs using groomers. So I was intrigued to hear of this groomer, as there is a lot more to learn in this new and still developing sport of snow biking. But also at $1500 before delivery it is a pricey investment for sure. I would love to know more about it. The idea of being able to break up crust and icy ruts is certainly intriguing. But with this little snow, anything we use needs to be able to take a lot of hits from rocks, roots, ground strikes, stumps, etc. Issues places with more snow do not deal with.
If you have any contacts for that group you mentioned in Sturgeon Bay I would love to get some more input on it.


~ Chuck Hutchens


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XXX

February 09, 2016, 07:30 AM

That groomer also looks to be over 6ft long with the draw bar. I wouldn't make it through
the tight and twisty trails. Those ears on the side would also be gone within 30ft at Cam-Rock.
Looks like it would be great for trails that are open and obstacle free.

This summer we plan on modifying the groomer or making something to break up the ice.

Educating trail users also needs to be a priority.


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« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 08:42 AM by MPett »

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imwjl
Pleasant View Trail Steward

February 09, 2016, 08:43 AM

Groomers unite and learn is a big part of the event. It should also be great if it's only a portion of what the Marquette and RAMBA folks did in summer. Great place, great people. Consider it.

:)

http://www.northernfatbikesummit.com/

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XXX

February 09, 2016, 11:38 AM

IMO The YTS groomer design is one of the best, if you look at XC ski and snowmobile trail groomers they use a very similar design and have been doing it for years. The particular size of the unit is a little long, but they doesn't mean one couldn't be made smaller. With heavy snow a V-plow would have to make an initial pass, as a compaction drag an clog up in deep heavy snow.

Levis mound is now using a YTS groomer for their fatbike trails.... I order some more combs from them this week. They are great to work with. That being said I think the current groomer at CR could benefit from a comb on its drag. It allows the snow to set up much faster.

http://www.yellowstonetrack.com/ytssnowcomb.html

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XXX

February 09, 2016, 12:34 PM

Adapting a comb to the Caruthers is a great idea.

Remember at Cam-Rock the groomer is also going through the ravines, Beer Run,
and Rip N' Ride. 

Having a YTS along the river and the Caruthers for the tight would be ideal for
Cam-Rock.

What is Levis using to pull the YTS?
 




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« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 12:43 PM by MPett »

XXX

February 09, 2016, 01:25 PM

An older SkiDoo 550 snowmobile, in past they have used the roller type you currently have at CR.

I could build a compaction drag that would be able to be pulled on any trail at CR. The current one I threw together is very small and has taken a beating at Seminole.




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« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 01:45 PM by greymountainbike »

XXX

February 09, 2016, 02:11 PM

That's cool! but very looong and wide.

You should come out next time I groom at Cam-Rock. I think what we think will work
in our heads won't always work in reality. Maybe a baby version of that might work for
the Rokon. I think we are currently at max length and width with the trails we are grooming
at Cam-Rock at the moment.

Is that what they use at the Trek trails? I was told it's not the ideal for them and there
was talk of them getting a Rokon set up like us.

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XXX

February 09, 2016, 05:18 PM

That's cool! but very looong and wide.
It is more of a reference of the style of groomer. Mine is only 22 inches wide.

You should come out next time I groom at Cam-Rock.
I'll take you up on that.

Is that what they use at the Trek trails? I was told it's not the ideal for them and there
was talk of them getting a Rokon set up like us.
They use a compaction drag, but not one from YTS that is also pulled by a snowmobile.
v

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XXX

February 09, 2016, 06:42 PM

I didn't realize the buying of the groomers was so trail-specific.  I thought the fundraiser was just for the club in general.
In terms of space for a groomer on the trail, I read an interesting interview with the guys at Levis.  They groom their normal single track trails, but change them and divert them over the winter.  https://fat-bike.com/2014/02/case-study-levis-mounds-winter-trail-system/ So they just cut the corner on tight turns, and also make trails that are winter-specific which don't need to be dug in, just cleared of trees.  It makes sense, although you get a lot of traction riding a fatty in the snow, it's still not dirt, so might as well not have such sharp turns.  It has the added benefit of giving your trail a different character over the winter.
Unfortunately our first year of grooming is an el nino and we've dealt with a lot of warm days, so rutting is a real issue.  If we had a normal year of cold temps and more regular snow we could be more live and let live about soft conditions.  Remember, it was just last year (and for some trails still) that ruts on top of ruts on top of ruts is what passed for a groomed trail.  ;)

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augs
President
Board Member

February 09, 2016, 09:57 PM

Technically the Rokon/Caruthers is primarily for CR, not exclusively, but the logistics of getting it to other trails in a timely fashion has not been worked out, and may or not be realistic.  One of the many things the nascent Fat-Bike Committee has to think about: http://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?topic=3296.0.

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TheMayor1
Trail Steward - CamRock
Trail Steward
608-772-7833

February 10, 2016, 12:25 AM

That groomer also looks to be over 6ft long with the draw bar. I wouldn't make it through
the tight and twisty trails. Those ears on the side would be gone within 30ft at Cam-Rock.

This summer we plan on modifying the groomer or making something to break up the ice.

Educating trail users also needs to be a priority.
Good points Mike. It is also a bit wider I think. Which would be another issue.
I am curious what we can do to break up the ice when we have so little snow, and not damage the groomer.
I think we are learning how different it is to groom when we are trying to make the most out of a tiny bit of snow, versus the issue being packing a deep snow layer. It's a whole different animal.
We will learn as we go.
One thing we have learned: Riding groomed trails, even if
not perfect, are WAY more fun than riding non-groomed trails!


~ Chuck Hutchens


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XXX

February 10, 2016, 10:30 AM

I am curious what we can do to break up the ice when we have so little snow, and not damage the groomer.

Most likely a new groomer..... Having thick steel plates that are replaceable.....


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