Who doesn’t like the sight of a freshly groomed snowmobile trail? It’s generally your invitation to an easy-going ride on a path that seems perfectly smooth and bump free, just for you.
The folks who make those perfect trails are a vital and often forgotten part of our sport. Sure, some of us may give them a hearty wave when we meet them on the trail, but do we truly understand things from their perspective? To try, we contacted Jerry Emery, the winner of the 2012 International Groomer Of The Year award, and asked him to name 5 things that upset him and other groomer operators.
1. Damage From ATVs — A lot of trails in our area allow snowmobiles and ATVs, but some ATV riders only want to go a little ways on the trail, then they want to turn circles and dig holes. They don’t realize that they ruts don’t fill in very easily and that really affects the trails.
2. Paddletracks On The Trails – The popular taller lugs can really dig out the corners and even cut a groove right down the center of the trail. That’s not easy to fix either.
3. Private Property Visits – The lack of courtesy of some snowmobilers on other people’s private property has always been a problem. They’ve got to respect the landowners if they want the trails to continue to exist.
4. Let It Set Up – Years ago when we groomed, if you met snowmobiles on the trail, they’d often stop and talk to you. Now they zoom past you and too many of them move over to what you just groomed without giving [the trail surface] a chance to set up. They should stay over on the hard snow so the trail holes we filled in have a chance to firm up.
5. Lack Of Participation – The average age of our club is probably 65, and I know a lot of other clubs are having this issue too. Too many people take the trails for granted. We need to get more younger people, and people in their 30, 40 and 50s, involved.