It used to take Brian over 4 1/2 hours to groom and track set our almost 20 km. of cross country ski trails. And of course, all grooming depended on the weather. It would be pointless to groom and track set while snow was falling heavily... by the time he was around with the drag that levels and loosens up the track, there would be too much snow fallen to allow him to go around again with the track setter. Conversely, if there wasn't enough snow -- say just a few inches -- then the grooming equipment would tend to just pack it down and make the trails hard. That made conditions worse, not better... It was a very fine -- not to mention time consuming -- line.
So the Bondi Maintenance Department was thrilled when all the various plans they have been scheming over since late last summer came together. First was the arrival of the new, vastly superior and high tech groomer. It arrived in a lovely wooden crate that protected its various bits and pieces. This slightly pricey (but you're worth it!) machine can not only cut up the track and level it out in a much wider profile (suitable for skate skiers!), it can set a track that is second to none... and it can do the job in literally half the time it took before. That's because both the levelling and trail set can happen simultaneously with this machine, which couldn't happen before. Then came the arrival of the new-to-us Skandic snowmobile to pull the whole thing. It's a big piece of gear, and needed a big piece of snowmobile to work-horse it around. It also needed a machine that permitted the hydraulic hook-ups to work... The Skandic arrived just before New Year's Day, and the boys hovered over the machine for some time making sure all the connections were working.
Then off went Brian for the trial run. We had not been able to groom the trails much during Christmas and New Years, despite a great snow base on the trails, because we'd only had about 2 - 3 inches of fresh snow. But Brian groomed them New Year's Day, early in the morning, and skiers hit the trails almost right away. The new track got thumbs up from everyone.
Including Brian, who was home in time for morning coffee...
This machine has inspired Brian... he's planning to groom a loop for skate skiers in the back field, and he's been up and down the toboggan hill a few times. He does report, however, that if you drop the big sled off the trail, it can be a trifle challenging to get it back on course. It's one of those things you learn by doing.