Hi All, here is a quick clip from grooming trails yesterday. Can’t believe how early the base is getting established at Sage’s private, custom trail system.
Our guess is not many, if any, others are currently establishing trail base at this time of the year. Operating on a private mountain that’s bigger than the Vail ski area allows us to start work whenever the weather delivers. Most other trail systems/outfitters are on public lands and regulated by the government, and grooming is not yet allowed on most public land.
What does a good base do? It’s like comparing driving in sand vs driving on packed dirt. Sand is wallowy and unpredictable. Packed dirt is pleasurable and gives a driver confidence. With snow, the same generalities apply. The more compaction you get on a trail as it snows early season, the better it holds up to use throughout the winter. When the base is driven on, it mechanically disturbs the snowpack, “packing” it down, and that snow sets up hard and will stay that way all winter.
You have all driven on washboard, pothole dirt roads in a car i’m sure. Well snowmobile trails can get the same way, only in the form of “whoops”. When the base is soft, the tracks of snowmobiles dig into the base, and create a hole, and generally also a pile of snow right before or beyond to the hole. The result is a dip into a rise, where the next track of a snowmobile will then land after the dip/rise rhythm, and create another dip/rise…and so on forever…miles and miles of back jarring head throbbing whoops (hole – rise – hole – rise – hole – rise…..).
At Sage, the trails never get that way. We prepare the base very early, and continue the maintenance of the trails very methodically throughout the season. We have heard it many many times from our guests that the trails/grooming on our mountain make the ride fun and enjoyable, instead of feeling beat and tired like on some other rough trail systems.