1/17/2012

Tuesday, January 17 2012 @ 10:40 AM MST

Contributed by: Richard Droesbeke

1/13/2012 - Beaver Creek - from upper Beaver Creek parking lot to Pat Hollow Junction.

1/13/2012 - Swan Flat Loop.

1/14/2012 - Sinks Road to Temple Flat - from US 89 summit.

1/14/2012 - Beaver Creek - from upper Beaver Creek parking lot to Pat Hollow Junction.

1/16/2012 - Swan Flat Loop.

We are trained and recommended to have a minimum of 2' feet of snow on our trails before taking our snow cat on them to groom.  In some areas we need more than 2' of snow because we have sections of trails that do not follow existing roads.  Due to the dismal snow conditions and levels, the Logan Canyon snowmobile complex is currently performing a few grooming runs.  Because of these conditions, we have not been able to groom with any sort of regularity.  In these conditions, we have to weigh our decisions between not grooming,  smoothing out a trail, and increasing the likelihood of damaging our $200,000 snow cat and its grooming equipment.  Our 3 primary snow cat operators individually have over 16 years of snowmobile trail grooming experience. 
 
On Thursday, 1/12/12, we assessed our snowmobile trail conditions to see if we had the possibility of grooming.  We determined that we could groom a few trails even though we had less than 1' of packed snow on the trail.  In our assessment, even one mile up from the upper Beaver Creek parking lot, we barely had 1' of snow on the trail.  We determined we could groom the trail by using the tiller and a less aggressive approach to the front blade until the snow cat was into deeper and better snow conditions.  These trails were again assessed on Monday, 1/16/2012.  The snow storm from Sunday, 1/15, and Monday, 1/16, new snow depths ranged from 1 to 3 inches with winds in the higher elevations.
 
Yes, the trail in the lower elevations was bumpy and hard as we analyzed on Thursday.  If we are aggressive with the front blade when we have a 18", 12" or less of snow to work with, it increases our chance of damaging the front blade and the snow cat if we are to hit rocks or tree stumps.  Ultimately, it is the snow cat operator's decision how to use the blade when actually on the trail.  It was our hopes that with light use of the front blade combined with the use of the tiller, and making a pass both up and back that we may "soften" the bumps along the lower portion of the trail.  We knew wouldn't be able to cut them out all at once.
 
Snow conditions at our other snowmobile trails prevent us from safely and effectively grooming them - Tony Grove, Franklin Basin, Garden City, Amazon, and Sinks valley.
 
What we really need is a few good snow storms that can put down 2' or more of snow to get us back into a "regular" grooming schedule.  1' of new snow will get us started in the right direction.  Hopefully the predicted storms for this week will do that for us.

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Utah Snowmobile Association
http://snowut.com/article.php/20120117104017114