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Vasa Trail Early Season Grooming Woes

Tue, Dec  6, 2005 - By Missy Luyk

A short note on our grooming last Friday/Saturday. There have been a handful of unhappy skiers that have called and e-mailed the TART office to express their displeasure with recent grooming on the Vasa Pathway. The concerns centered around three issues - we did not groom on Friday; we did not groom early enough on Saturday; and did not use the big groomer (LMC). The passion for skiing is matched by an intensity in expressing such concerns, so let me take just a moment to respond.

The 10 inches of snow that fell early Friday morning caught us all by surprise, as it was more than forecasted, and we even had grass still showing on Thursday. We have five people who help us with grooming, and on Friday, three groomers were working their regular jobs, one was out of town, and only one was available to groom. We prefer to have two groomers when we use the snowmobiles, especially in early season or in deep snow, because the snowmobiles tend to get stuck and the groomers have to unhook and re-hook attachments.

Because of additional snow in the forecast for Friday night, we made a decision to wait until Saturday morning to groom, with the hope that we could use the LMC. A contributing factor to skier frustration on Friday was an incorrect report on the North American Vasa web site that indicated the trail would be groomed on Friday. Please know that grooming reports from TART will always contain the most accurate information on grooming, but these other sites may offer insight into trail conditions reported by skiers.

Two of our grooming team members, Paul and Jim, arrived at the trailhead at 7:00 am Saturday, 24 hours after the big snow. This time, the forecast was wrong in the other direction, and only a dusting of snow had fallen over night. The ground was still soft and we were concerned the LMC tracks would pick up dirt and ruin the trail. To address this concern, they started grooming in tandem with the snowmobiles, and due to equipment difficulties, deep snow, and trees down, worked until 5:30 PM to finish the 25 K .

Please keep in mind that this is still early season. Timber Ridge is not opening until December 15, and Shanty Creek and Nubbs Nob are not even open at this point. It is great to have the snow we have, and we’re pleased to have the trail in the shape that it is this early. We will be grooming again soon, and the trail will continue to take shape for the season ahead.

Please join me in thanking our groomers for straddling a snowmobile for some 10 hours to better the trail last Saturday. I know they would’ve preferred to ride in the comfort of the LMC cab, but I’m confident that these choices will benefit the Vasa Trail in the coming weeks and months.

Grooming Reports

If you like knowing when TART grooms, please consider our new Grooming Badge program. TART sends regular "grooming report" emails to those who support our grooming program. Grooming Badges can be purchased on line at http://www.traversetrails.org .

Grooming report, 5:30 PM, Monday December 5, 2005:

The 3 K was groomed this morning for the first time. The 5 K, 11 K and 25 K loops on the Vasa Trail were also groomed this morning for classic and skating.

The Leelanau Trail was groomed for the first time over the weekend, from Suttons Bay to Shady Lane Road.

New Snow in the last 24 hours: 1 inch Snow is in the forecast.  

TART Trails
Enriching the Traverse area by providing an interconnected network of
trails, bikeways, and pedestrian ways; and encouraging their use.
232 E. Front Street - PO Box 252 - Traverse City, MI 49685
(231) 941-4300
missy@traversetrails.org  - http://www.traversetrails.org