Grooming equipment – how much is there?

by Bob Truman on February 11, 2018

in XC

Heritage Guides at Lake Louise featuring Tracksetter Jeff Douglas

This is just a guess, but I figure there are at least 23 snowmobiles in operation to maintain the trails in the SkierBob kingdom, and 5 snowcats. Who would like to name all the locations and how many machines they have? The SkierBob kingdom includes Calgary, West Bragg, Sandy McNabb, Ribbon Creek, PLPP, Canmore Nordic Centre, Banff, Lake Louise, and Yoho. 

Yoho tracksetter Joe

Two crucial snowmobiles had mechanical problems last week including Yoho’s(Kicking Horse Ski Club’s) and the Heritage Guides’ at Lake Louise. With all the new snow, that was quite a setback. The Heritage Guides have theirs back in operation and the Yoho/Emerald Lake snowmobile needs a new clutch. This is Saturday’s update from the Kicking Horse Ski Club:

“We’ve been getting it by the buckets full and Yoho Blows !!!  I haven’t seen snow banks that big at the store ever!!!!!  Joe was out today trying to pack it down and set a trail-  he got up the Connector with cutting down 5-6  trees and started packing Emerald–which went pretty good–but then he was track setting and the clutch went up by the creek on the Fan!!!! He manage to get back(barely) to the Store–and we were closed!!. Our Golden fix it shop is closed on Sunday/Monday– so it will be a bit to get it running again!  At least there is a partial track and machine packed trails everywhere except Yoho Valley Road!!  Enjoy the deep snow on the side of the trails– eh!!”

Pisten-Bully on Elk Pass

The Ribbon Creek snowcat was in Edmonton for four days but it’s back and the trail crews were out today grooming and tracksetting on the Bill Milne, Wedge, and Evan-Thomas. 

Tracksetting on Hydroline in PLPP

The PLPP snowcat didn’t have a trailer for those same four days so no trails were groomed in the south end of the park but they were back at it early this morning with tracksetting on Elk Pass, Blueberry Hill, and Hydroline. That is also the reason why Mt Shark hasn’t seen any grooming for a while. 

Thanks to all the tracksetters for getting the trails groomed for Sunday skiing!

I’m surmising there must be a problem with the Banff snowmobile because nothing has been updated on the Banff trail report since Feb 8. On the other hand, I’m still holding out hope that we’ll have a trip report from Cascade Valley saying the trail was trackset today. Tunnel Mountain in Banff was groomed on the 9th, but that is done by the Lake Louise to Banff Loppet machine. 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Glen February 15, 2018 at 4:54 pm

I groom snowmobile trails in K-Country. We have 2 Skandic SWT snowmobiles and new to us this fall is a BR 275 snowcat. We average about 1500 Km a year grooming the snowmobile trails In Catarat Creek Snow Vehicle PLUZ. One of our snowmobiles came from Banff Park. I bet it groomed ski trails there.
We are self funded by Alberta Snowmobile Association provincial snowmobile trail pass and donations and volunteer labour.
Just liking the groomer section here.

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2 David February 11, 2018 at 10:16 pm

All of those groomers should be wearing helmets.
Groomer David

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3 Alf Skrastins February 11, 2018 at 8:31 pm

And don’t forget the two tracked KEI trucks at West Bragg Creek!

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4 fallsalot February 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm

It’s a bit of a shame Parks Canada is still grooming with snowmobiles. With tax money flowing in and park entry fees collected, there should be enough founds to buy a snowcat. Of course not every trail can be groomed by snowcats but many can like MLR, Great Divide, Spray Loop and Cascade. No need to freeze the lower back and do multiple passes on the snowmobile in -20C. I understand the vacation on the private tropical island is the priority but still Parks Canada it’s 21st century.

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5 David February 11, 2018 at 10:22 pm

Sleds are an important part of 21st century grooming.
Groomer David

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6 DEMOCRACY ADVANCER February 12, 2018 at 1:24 pm

Love the political crack about the vacation on a tropical island. As a champion for the Great Canadian Democracy Upgrade, I won’t get into serious politics here. But…

The Banff Park Superintendent is the person responsible for the directing of funds within the Park. We, the people, do not have a democratic right to look at how the money is being spent. Our ski trails are over growing in many areas and the back country hiking trails are eroding badly. Many camp sites are slanted jokes. So, as a result of undemocratic autocratic rule in Banff and elsewhere, we only get what the Superintendent feels like giving us.

People must be aware that at the end of February, the Liberal Government is eliminating the annual $68.70 backcountry pass and replacing it with a $9.80 per night camping fee and $11 dollar registration fee. This means back country travel for 1 night will increase by over 100% for a single individual and long trips several weeks in length will increase by over 400%. The poor will not be able to afford camping in the primitive backcountry within our National Parks now. Now people who do not use the backcountry in summer may not care. But if the Liberals are jacking up these fees, then one can expect that the Liberals will begin to start charging significant fees for XC skiing in the National Parks in the near future. This would be a barrier to the poor who can not afford any more fees. It is suggested that people write PM Trudeau and complain about the excessive fees on backcountry travel that may soon spread to XC skiing. It is better to be proactive rather than reactive. Save our Park spaces for all not just the wealthy.

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7 Rose R February 11, 2018 at 6:06 pm

I sometimes wonder if skiers realise how very, very lucky we have to have all these awesome groomers out there!

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