2002 ABR Grooming Clinic Wrap Up

This year ABR again hosted the Midwest Grooming Clinic endorsed by the CCSAA on January 16th and 17th, 2002. We had 122 groomers and vendors turn up for the occasion…. from Canada to lower Michigan, from Montana and Colorado to Italy.

Next years clinic is scheduled for January 15th and 16th, 2003

A video was taped and is being edited of the clinic. Call or email for details.

Who was there?

  1. Pisten Bully by Track Inc with a new PB 100 demo equipped for Nordic
    http://www.trackinc.com 952-888-7372
  2. Bombardier by Aspen equipment with a BR 180
    http://www.aspenequipment.com/ 800-888-2773
  3. Tidd Tech with various groomers and new innovations
    http://www.tiddtech.com/ 877-843-3832
  4. Yellowstone Track Systems with the new Ginzu Groomer
    http://www.yellowstonetrack.com/ 406-646-7603
  5. Alpina with the NEW Twin Track Snowmobile and powertiller
    http://www.alpina-snowmobiles.com/ 906-932-3502
  6. Trakor by xcskigroomers.com a new track-setter
    http://www.xcskigroomers.com/ 231-526-7120
  7. Ski-Doo by Ave’s Sport Center
    http://www.bombardier.com/ 715-561-2720
  8. JACA by First Tracks of Thunder Bay Canada
    http://www.jacatrax.com/ 807-345-0162
  9. ASV’s Track Truck by Duffy’s Sales
    http://posi-track.com 715-537-3259
  10. Bachler by YTS with a renovator
    http://www.yellowstonetrack.com/ 406-646-7603
  11. Cragin Groomer

There were many sales as a result of the Clinic. Vendors came with trucks and trailers full and left empty. Please support these vendors and tell them you saw their equipment at the clinic.

The heated “Race Building” was used for vendor’s displays with boards for used equipment for sale and innovative ideas.

Who did we hear from?

  • Doug Edgerton, president of Yellowstone Track Systems and  the Chief of Course Preparation for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City
  • Russ Alger of The Keweenaw Research Center at Michigan Technological Univ.
  • David and Phil Zink of Tidd Tech in Fraser, CO
  • George LeFeuvre of JACA in New Brunswick, Canada
  • Dave Forbush of Forbush Corner in Frederick, MI
  • Ing. Quirino Tironi of Alpina in Italy
  • Jay Richards of Maplelag in Callaway, MN
  • Greg Toomire of Pisten Bully, Track Inc, in Bloomington MN
  • Erik Petersen of Bombardier of Aspen Equipment, in Duluth MN
  • Jim VanderSpoel Supervisor of Operations at Mt. Zion and faculty member of The Ski Area Management Program
  • Eric Anderson of ABR Trails.

What did we hear about?

  • Snowcat safety and maintenance by Jim VanderSpoel
    • Do not get out of your snow cat with the tiller running and always set your parking brake.  Thermoses on the front dash may end up breaking a $1500 windshield.
  • Keep your Snowmobile from burning up by Rick Slade
    • There are 3 suspension adjustments to make your Skandic SWT steer better, or a front weight rack and flexi skis. If your lights get bright and or your handle grips get hot, your voltage regulator is on it’s way out, turn off the machine and replace it (the regulator). Carry a fire extinguisher under your seat.
  • There really is an Alpina dual track snowmobile and power tiller! Quirino Tironi
    • We saw and test drove  the Alpina dual track snowmobile. It has tons of torque and traction plus it steers like a dream. It was built for hard work. The pull behind powertiller tilled some man made ice and set tracks like it was butter. The Alpina pulled the 8 foot wide Cragin groomer though deep snow with 4 men (1000 pounds) on the Alpina and steered as it climbed a hill! Orders for the Alpina should  be made this spring for October delivery. These specialty machines are built to order similar to snowcats. Alpina now has ABR Trails as the  Midwest dealer and Importer for the US. Call ABR for a demo of the Alpina. A video is available.
  • Grooming from a skiers prospective by David Zink
    • We saw a video/slide show on why to groom wide on hills, put a radius edge on the striding trails, alternate side grooming etc. This was an excellent presentation and very well done, especially for the non skiers
  • How to get the most from low snow conditions
    • Various discussions on how to conserve snow by not grooming, using JACA grabber wings to pull snow in or just scarifying the surface lightly so not as to bring up dirt. Use your snow cat with a compactor bar and have the tracks loosen up the hard pack. Be sure the ground is frozen or you will bring up dirt.
  • Snowcat grooming in low snow by Dave Forbush
    • Dave explained how he only uses snowcats and grooms in low snow. He only opens weekends and holidays and saves the weekday snow. He pulls moulding plates and rollers behind his snow cats and he runs a very reputable, professional and meticulously groomed private trail system with an $18 trail fee 1 hour south of the Mackinaw bridge in Frederick MI.
  • An open session discussing various grooming scenarios for different conditions.
    • This was a particularly interesting open discussion, coming up with solutions and ideas for grooming in different low snow conditions.
  • Powertilling and snow density by Doug Edergton
    • Till deep enough to set tracks, keep your shaft speed down to not over till and have a rock hard surface, use “up pressure” on  hill crests and intersections. Use summer tracks for early season grooming. If you overgroom your snow you end up with “sugar snow”.
  • The compact Nordic version of the Keweenaw Snow Paver Groomer by Russ Alger
    • The miller is under development for Nordic ski trails.
  • Where to find used equipment and how to know if it’s any good by Track Inc
  • Grooming for races and hi level competitions by Eric Anderson
    • If it’s snowing at midnight the night before the JO’s sprints, you will not get any sleep. These young athletes deserve the best course possible. In a open windy golf course sprint course pack channels upwind with your snowmobile to catch the blowing snow and keep it off the course. Don’t forget the warm-up loop, groom it as you do the course.
  • Grooming with a snowmobile in freeze/thaw conditions by George LeFeuvre
    • Bring out the snow fence drag and snowmobiles when your course turns to mush and the 3 snowcats are stuck at the 6 km mark of a World Cup event during warm grooming temps. Groom when the air is cooling and moisture is evaporating.
  • Automating your drags and attachments
    • Make sure your battery and alternator can handle the loads of your actuators and aux lights. Always fuse the aux equipment.  Cole Hearsey makes a nice 2 pol;e self centering switch with a long handle.
  • Grooming with a Track Truck by Duffy Anderson
  • Snow Characterization by Russ Alger
    • There is no black box to evaluate snow conditions.
  • How to evaluate your groomed trails
    • Talk to your skiers and ski your trails. Try hard with 100% effort, but remember you can not please everyone, try to please 80% of your skiers and 20% of the coaches.
  • Grooming for efficient skier flow by Jay Richards
    • Test your grooming by skiing it and look at the tracks of the skiers skiing them. Alternate the track from the left to right in dual tracked trails on down-hills. Do not track through your intersections.

What did we eat?

We had a nice banquet dinner at Tacconelli’s with the social hour paid for by Track Inc /Pisten Bully Dealer. Russ Alger followed with a 1500 Mile Trek Across Antarctica Slide Show. Alpina hats, Pisten Bully hats and a Pisten Bully jacket were given away to some technical question answers.

A pasty lunch was sponsored by CCSAA from  the Pastry Kitchen

An authentic Pizzocheri (hearty wholewheat pasta) and grilled Cottechini (Italian mountain sausage) was prepared and sponsored by Alpina dual track snowmobiles.

What did we see, touch and drive?

The  Bachler renovator and tracksetter and the new ginzu groomers from YTS, the full Tidd Tech line up including new 8 foot roller, super flaps and actuators from Tidd Tech, the full line of JACA equipment including a set of grabber wings, renovator and hi speed tracksetter, the new Alpina dual track snowmobile and powertiller, The xcskigroomers.com tracksetter,  the 8 foot wide aluminum Cragin groomer,  The PB100 and 070, Bombardier’s BR 180 and Prinoths T2S, ASV’s Track Truck,  Ski-doos SWt and WT’s, an older Alpine II, and various homemade attachments.