Snowmobile trail groomers are the unsung heroes of our sport and quite often the ones that do the most for our trails. This is especially true for those who groom our vast network of snowmobile trails throughout British Columbia. Here are some tips to show your support for the groomer operators work while also ensuring everyone has a smooth trail to ride:
1. Keep to the trail and save playing for the multitude of backcountry boondocking opportunities away from the groomed trail network. Quite often we will see sidehill lines cut into the banks adjacent to the trails. While those sidehills do not damage the groomed trail, upon re-entry the riders that pop back up onto the trail often leave craters and ridiculous lumps of snow that only continue to deteriorate throughout the day or week in between grooming.
2. Keep a steady throttle to avoid creating uneven wear on the trail. Yes, we know that it can be ever so inviting to go mach chicken on a corduroy smooth trail but fluctuations in your throttle and drifting will cause moguls. Slow down when entering a curve to avoid a drift bump on the outside or inside of the corner.
3. If you stop on the trail do not just give it a blast of throttle when you start or you’ll cause a snow lump which quickly turns into a mogul. Instead, use an even throttle and you will help keep the trail smooth for everyone.
4. Do not jump the bumps and moguls that develop. It is inevitable that bumps will start to appear and the last thing you should do is take this as an opportunity to catch some airtime. Every single time a bump is jumped it becomes even bigger, creating more work for the groomer and increasing your clubs operating costs. Get out there in the backcountry and build a booter if you want some air but please don’t “send it” on your groomed trail.
5. Put your scratchers down on the groomed trail to keep your sled cool. Trying to get snow on your heat exchangers by zig zagging on the trail or constantly dipping into the fresh snow on the side of the trail creates trenches for the next rider and is hard for the grooming operator to repair.
6. Do not pass the groomer until the operator has seen you and signaled it is safe to pass. There are many reasons that it may not be safe to pass yet so please have some patience and wait for the opertor to signal you to pass.
7. Once you have passed a groomer that’s just laid down a fresh track it is important to keep to the right to allow the trail time to set up. This will absolutely help to preserve the trail.
8. When approaching a groomer from the front at night please dim your lights! Utilize the same principle you would if you were driving a car or truck at night. Your groomer will appreciate this courtesy more than you know.
9. If your groomer is stopped on the trail don’t just zoom by. Your groomer operator is often working alone, in the middle of nowhere, and in freezing temperatures. So be sure to stop to see if the groomer operator is in need of assistance before you cautiously navigate around the machine.
10. Like driving a car or truck stay to the right. When you ride the center of the trail it creates wear and moguls that are difficult to cut and increases your chances of encountering another oncoming rider. Keep to the right and your hard-working trail groomer will appreciate it!
Grooming is the largest expense of your local snowmobile club. It doesn’t matter if the grooming program is run with volunteers or paid staff…grooming programs costs a lot of money in fuel, repairs and equipment needed. If we can all work together to reduce the frequency of grooming required we will be saving the club money which will ulitimately save you money because theses costs get passed on to the riders through trail fees and memberships.
Be sure to thank your groomer operator everytime you see them!