Nordic mysteries uncovered! Here are some of the most asked questions about how we keep Teton Valley well-groomed.
How often do you groom?
We groom multiple Nordic trails every day all winter long when conditions permit. Singletrack grooming for fat bikes is dependent on the amount of new snow, air and snow temperatures, amount of trail use, and the depth and quality of the base. When we receive consistent new snow we will groom as often as we can.
We know that more experienced skiers tend to like hard fast conditions, less experienced skiers prefer to have slower softer conditions, and classic skiers want firm hard tracks. Our grooming staff and volunteers try to provide the best possible compromise so that everyone using the trail has an enjoyable experience. Our groomers update conditions on our Grooming Report on tvtap.org.
What time of day do you groom?
Usually in the early morning or late at night for Nordic Trails. Having grooming equipment on the trail at the same time as skiers leads to safety concerns. We also like the trail to have a chance to set up before the skiers begin using it. Singletrack trails need to be much more firm than Nordic trails to support fat bike use. We groom singletrack late at night with specialized equipment to allow the most time possible for the trails to set up between grooming and the first visitor.
How long does it take for the trail to set up after grooming?
Generally it takes from two to four hours, but ultimately depends on weather and temperature conditions.
Why don’t you set classic tracks during every groom?
Once we have established an adequate base, we reset the tracks as often as makes sense with the equipment we have. In order to set good tracks the base must be loosened up to the depth of the tracks. In conditions where we have not received new snow in a while and the base has become hard packed it is difficult or impossible to loosen, or renovate the old track deep enough. In this case we leave the existing tracks and resurface the skate lane only deep enough to remove most marks in the base. Each time we grind the base it changes the characteristics of the snow and eventually the snow will become so hard packed that this grinding will only break it up into chunks. Skiing on these chunks is something most skiers prefer not to do. Ideal conditions to set classic tracks would be after a 2 to 4 inch snowfall or on snow that is still more or less in its natural state and has not thawed and refrozen. While, as groomers, we would prefer to reset classic tracks during every groom we must deal with what Mother Nature gives us and try to provide the best possible conditions even though it may involve some compromising.
What equipment do you use?
We groom with a fleet of six snowmobiles, one tracked ATV, six rollers, four Ginzugroomers, two Nordic compaction drags, three singletrack rollers, two singletrack drags and one V-plow. The groomers make the decision on what to use after they arrive at the trailhead and evaluate the existing trail conditions.
Who maintains the grooming equipment?
Trails and Pathways Program Director maintains and modifies the equipment. Equipment dealers or specialized repair facilities handle serious repairs to the snowmobiles when necessary. Approximately one hour of equipment maintenance is required for every eight hours spent grooming. This does not include the trail preparation work that is done in the summer and fall to prepare the trail for the winter season. In the 2018-19 season, our staff and volunteers spent 1,334 hours grooming.
What causes most damage to groomed trails?
Footprints – whether they are from wild animals, dog paws, snowshoes or boots. Most of our trails are groomed for multi-use recreation and we want people to go enjoy them, so we groom often to fix the damaged trails. Winter trail maintenance is like sharpening a knife. If you sharpen the knife blade often, it’s easier to maintain a quality edge. If you let the knife blade get dull, then it is going to take a lot more work to get it back to sharp. We like our trails to stay sharp!
Thanks for rallying with us to build Teton Valley’s finest Nordic Program. We are working hard so you can play hard. The purchase of Trail Support Vehicle stickers and Puppy Permits support our operations or you can support us by paying as you go at the trailhead.