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  1. #1
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    Grooming for fatbikes

    Our trail system has been considering introducing fat biking into the mix this winter. I thought I'd simply groom the trails by packing in some trails with snowshoes and encouraging snowshoeing on those trails. Is it any more involved than that?

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    As far as singletrack goes, snowshoers are a fat biker's best friend. Our snow is super dry and usually ready to ride after a day of sun and a little shoe traffic. Works even better when somebody else does it for you too. Our other trails are all groomed with big snow cats. Stay away from steep uphills unless its super short.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaab70 View Post
    Our trail system has been considering introducing fat biking into the mix this winter. I thought I'd simply groom the trails by packing in some trails with snowshoes and encouraging snowshoeing on those trails. Is it any more involved than that?
    Why would you groom for a fatbike. If you groom, then you can ride a mountain bike and you don't need a fatbike.

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    Thanks leadvegas. We have some favorable grades so this should work well. I can't wait for the snow to give this a try.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Why would you groom for a fatbike. If you groom, then you can ride a mountain bike and you don't need a fatbike.
    I don't have any first hand experience, but I got the impression that fatbikes need a little help from snowshoe or snowmobile tracks. I could be wrong.

  6. #6
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    I've heard of guys on snow shoes dragging weighted sleds to pack the trails down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    Why would you groom for a fatbike. If you groom, then you can ride a mountain bike and you don't need a fatbike.
    Where do you live?
    It must not snow much there.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

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    I'm not that ambitious...but there's a regular rider up the way who runs dogsledding tours and'll earn a lifetime membership and some beer if he brings the team down to sled the trails a few times this winter.

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    YRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Where do you live?
    It must not snow much there.
    We get about 400" a year but, I was kinda being a smartass. But around here we groom trails for skiing and if you want to ride a bike, you just ride on the groomed trail. Regular bikes are fine. So if you were to ride a fat bike, it seems you should be blazing trail. Not that it matters cause I think wheels are silly for snow, I spend my time on classic skis, skate skis, alpine skis, and backcountry skis (or snowboards) and only when I feel like doing something slow and silly do I ride a bike on snow. I do have friends who say they can dig trenches railing turns on their dh bikes going down runs on the resorts. That sounds good, but I know it's still slower than skiing.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    We get about 400" a year but, I was kinda being a smartass. But around here we groom trails for skiing and if you want to ride a bike, you just ride on the groomed trail. Regular bikes are fine. So if you were to ride a fat bike, it seems you should be blazing trail. Not that it matters cause I think wheels are silly for snow, I spend my time on classic skis, skate skis, alpine skis, and backcountry skis (or snowboards) and only when I feel like doing something slow and silly do I ride a bike on snow. I do have friends who say they can dig trenches railing turns on their dh bikes going down runs on the resorts. That sounds good, but I know it's still slower than skiing.
    Yeah, 400" is barely a squall.
    So sorry.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaab70 View Post
    I don't have any first hand experience, but I got the impression that fatbikes need a little help from snowshoe or snowmobile tracks. I could be wrong.
    You're right. Snowshoe tracks work OK but are bumpy and can be a bit narrow after a few significant dumps. Riding in the trench is not as much of a problem as pedal strikes on the walls. Dragging weighted sleds definitely improves the 'tread'.

    Timing is everything. I keep a stretch of singletrack packed from my house to a snowmobile trail and try to get on it on days above freezing so that it hardens up at night. It really takes multiple passes of stomping - more people help. Likewise people riding when it's soft can rut it out and make all your work freeze to crap.

    Packing by riding only works when there's just a few inches of snow. Really, more than 4" or so is pretty hard to plow through when it's our typical New England density. Park City conditions have no bearing on what you have in VT.

    Best wishes. Love your network!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grooming for fatbikes-pugs-pale-ale-1-11-13-medium-.jpg  

    Grooming for fatbikes-pugs-sunny-track-1-18-13-medium-.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by YRG View Post
    We get about 400" a year but, I was kinda being a smartass. But around here we groom trails for skiing and if you want to ride a bike, you just ride on the groomed trail. Regular bikes are fine. So if you were to ride a fat bike, it seems you should be blazing trail. Not that it matters cause I think wheels are silly for snow, I spend my time on classic skis, skate skis, alpine skis, and backcountry skis (or snowboards) and only when I feel like doing something slow and silly do I ride a bike on snow. I do have friends who say they can dig trenches railing turns on their dh bikes going down runs on the resorts. That sounds good, but I know it's still slower than skiing.
    Apples & oranges. In New England, when the skiing becomes bulletproof boilerplate the fat biking gets really good. True that you can still skate ski on the groomers (and many of us do), but the biking can get magical. And regular mtn bikes, even with 2.5" tires, do not compare with fat bikes. Fatties turn marginal conditions into sweet velvet.

  14. #14
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    We have groomed Nordic areas here but they don't allow wheels on the trails (which as a nordic skier I totally support) Many of the trails that we ride in the summer get lots of snowshoe and XC ski traffic and we see some fat bike traffic but 1) The trails stay pretty narrow, if it's just a ski track it will usually be very narrow. 2) If it's been snowing a lot the trail will stay quite soft and even with the big tires, fat bikes will get mired in the snow. 3) Fat bikes make a mess of ski tracks which doesn't make fat bikes very popular with skiers (who are very often cyclists but don't like seeing the ski track trashed).

    Around here Snowmobile trails are usually the best bet for fat bikes.

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    Skiers haven't used our trails for years, so they're lowest on the totem pole if they do come. Snowshoeing is picking up. Given our frequent snows, it will be a challenge to keep anything fat bikeable, but I'd like to play around with it nevertheless.

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    Thanks Radair! I'm planning on working on some signage this winter anyway so I thought I'd take a two birds with one stone approach. I'm not quite committed enough to drag heavy sleds with me, but the landowner always has fanatical ultra endurance athletes training on the mountain who carry heavy objects as part of their regimen. They'd be more than happy to do it. I might suggest it to the landowner.

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    Snowshoe grooming works really well. Our local trail system (urban park really) gets a lot of foot and snowshoe traffic and over the past couple years the number of fatbikes has exploded. The trail gets a lot of traffic by bikes daily which helps keep it groomed. It turns into a really fun flowy pump track like experience.

    What we did do last year was organize a snowshoe night when we were to receive a very heavy, wet dump of snow rapidly in one afternoon. About 6-7 of us left the bikes at home, brought our headlamps and a few wobbly pops and stomped out the tracks over a couple hours. I even built a pulk sled with pull poles to try to finish up the grooming (damn thing kept flipping over on me though). The temperatures dropped overnight and the tracks setp nicely and were awesome the next day.

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    We're having a 300 person snowshoe race in March and there should be some primo tracks to follow after that. Too bad there's nothing earlier though.

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    While riding works to pack down trails after small snowfalls, bigger snowfalls require some extra help. One of the techniques used up here on the singletrack is to drag weighted car tires. They help to give a good tread width on the trail and leave it fairly smooth. You can either drag them on foot or pull behind a snowmachine (snowmobile in the lower-48 I am told.... ). Hook up a shot stick (cut off hockey stick works well) and tie a sling from that to the tires and go for a hike.

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    SHHH... just bought my wife a pair... Marquette Backcountry Ski I've had mine since last year... told her it's all about having more us time while we exercise.. little does she know that she will be helping pack down the local singletrack, for my fatbiking the next day...

    if I had a younger kid.. I'd be getting him out there on one of these..


    Google Image Result for http://www.snowgoer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Kitty-Cat.jpg

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    Snowshoeing can be hard work. To get any kind of distance, I think the snowbike future has to be a machine groomed trail. Which means considering trail width, potential groomer obstacles, and what such a trail would be like to ride in Summer.

    A snowmobile from the 1970's would be much more narrow than those made today.... I don't own a fatbike, and am considering them but keep coming back to the grooming issue. Relying on snowshoes is a leap of faith.

    There used to be a motorcycle type snow machine, that may be the ticket. Don't remember what those machines are called.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Snowshoeing can be hard work. To get any kind of distance, I think the snowbike future has to be a machine groomed trail. Which means considering trail width, potential groomer obstacles, and what such a trail would be like to ride in Summer.

    A snowmobile from the 1970's would be much more narrow than those made today.... I don't own a fatbike, and am considering them but keep coming back to the grooming issue. Relying on snowshoes is a leap of faith.

    There used to be a motorcycle type snow machine, that may be the ticket. Don't remember what those machines are called.
    It wasn't the Rocon you were thinking of was it? 2 wheel drive mini-bike. I haven't seen one in years but those things will go anywhere and have a tire about as wide as an ATV tire.

    Edit: It appears they still make them.

    Rokon 2-Wheel Drive Motorcycles
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    do a search on you tube for diy snowmobiles.. there are a lot of things out there, that your local group might be able to piece together... I am currently trying to more info for something like this..
    homemade snowmobile / tracked vehicle / lumihärveli 4 - YouTube

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  28. #28
    zrm
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    You're right. Snowshoe tracks work OK but are bumpy and can be a bit narrow after a few significant dumps. Riding in the trench is not as much of a problem as pedal strikes on the walls. Dragging weighted sleds definitely improves the 'tread'.

    Timing is everything. I keep a stretch of singletrack packed from my house to a snowmobile trail and try to get on it on days above freezing so that it hardens up at night. It really takes multiple passes of stomping - more people help. Likewise people riding when it's soft can rut it out and make all your work freeze to crap.

    Packing by riding only works when there's just a few inches of snow. Really, more than 4" or so is pretty hard to plow through when it's our typical New England density. Park City conditions have no bearing on what you have in VT.

    Best wishes. Love your network!
    Yeah, it seems like fat bikes are fairly limited to well packed trails. Snowmobile trails (groomed or otherwise) or a singletrack well packed by slowshoers, walkers or skiers is required. Fat bike tires will keep rolling in snow that will bog down a standard sized tire, but they won't plow through deep snow.

    Most XC ski areas prohibit wheeled travel on the groomed trails so unless they specifically allow it, (bike tracks can make a mess is set track or skate lanes) people should assume XC groomed are for skiing only. I also know some groomed snowmobile trail systems prohibit wheeled travel although that's mostly oriented to ATVs, dirtbikes or passenger vehicles, I don't know if they'd care about bicycles or not.

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    FYI - A short description of what the link is for would help. Personally, I don't bother to go to any link that doesn't look legit. Too many spammers out there who just randomly post a link on every thread they can find.

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    https://www.facebook.com/groups/362878050453494/
    This facebook page has photos of a groomer they are building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Most XC ski areas prohibit wheeled travel on the groomed trails so unless they specifically allow it, (bike tracks can make a mess is set track or skate lanes) people should assume XC groomed are for skiing only. I also know some groomed snowmobile trail systems prohibit wheeled travel although that's mostly oriented to ATVs, dirtbikes or passenger vehicles, I don't know if they'd care about bicycles or not.
    Sorry to hijack this thread, but does anyone out there have experiences/examples they can share about XC ski/fat bike co-existence or conflict?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    Sorry to hijack this thread, but does anyone out there have experiences/examples they can share about XC ski/fat bike co-existence or conflict?
    We've had pretty good experiences around here. We have several local trail systems that are groomed for non-motorized multi-use. Most of the skiers are friendly and have accepted the Fat Bikes. Every now and then, though, I encounter a rude skier who seems to think they are exclusively entitled to our public snow trails. For them, here's a sticker i came up with to gently remind them of their place in the evolution of snow sports
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grooming for fatbikes-r615545008_proof.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildfire View Post
    For them, here's a sticker i came up with to gently remind them of their place in the evolution of snow sports
    Love it!

  34. #34
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    I think there's a difference between not for fee groomed trails and for fee groomed trails. I think if someone has paid for the use of groomed trails for Nordic skiing, then they have a right to expect the trails to be used exclusively for that purpose - groomed trails for skating or classic. When people walk, snowshoe, walk dogs, or ride bikes on them are more than just not as nice, they can be dangerous. (think about how much MTBer whine about horses using "their" trails - trails designated multiple use BTW)

    If a trail is groomed and designated for the general public then that's a different story, but those trails are generally already pock marked with foot prints, full of dog walkers and slowshoers so a skier knows what to expect and accepts it.

    BTW - skis are a much better way of moving across snow than wheels. The Scandinavians figured this out thousands of years ago.

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    As a hardcore snowmobiler who rides a fat bike. Be careful on the snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers pay to have the trails groomed. We must buy state registations and groomer stickers.

    Fat bikes don't pay any money to the snowmobile groups. Should that change is a good question. But a snowmobile doing 40 mph around a corner is not going very fast. But to a fat biker doing 3 mph it is fast. Make sure you show respect to the sledders, they pay for the groomed trails with time and money.

    Personally I think there will be a showdown between the fat bikes and the snowmobilers. There are very few people like me who take the middle ground on this. Most cyclist are antimotor and most motor people are anti human power people. Mainly both sides do not get the other side, Both sides have good points and bad points. But it is mainly the human power side that tries to kick off the motor side. So don't be surprised if there is resentment to fat bikes on snowmobile trails.

    Also learn the snowmobilers hand signs. Usually the amount of fingers being held up is the amount of sleds behind you. the help up closed fist represents last person.

    as far as grooming, just pick up a used sled and go ride it around your trails. multiple times.

  36. #36
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    Quote: BTW - skis are a much better way of moving across snow than wheels. The Scandinavians figured this out thousands of years ago. [/QUOTE]

    Agreed on the part about if the trails are groomed by and just for XC skiers, I was talking about groomed multiuse trails. And, many XC ski areas are now allowing fat bikers because they usually leave less of a groove/rut than a skate ski does. Riders do have to use discretion and not ride the trails when they are soft, like just after a groomer goes through, but skiers should also let the trail set up a bit. I groom trails professionally all winter, so I am familiar. I think a lot of the perceived conflict comes down to bikers being viewed as "non-traditional" and new.

    So how come, if skis are so superior, almost every year in the 350 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational and the Susitna 100 mile races - which are raced by both skiers and bikers - the bikers usually win by a wide margin? I bet those Scandihoovians would have loved to have fat bikes if the technology existed back then.
    Last edited by Wildfire; 12-14-2013 at 02:09 PM. Reason: typo

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    There don't seem to be a lot of first hand accounts of how well a weighted sled works for packing in fresh snow on singletrack. It seems like an obvious solution but maybe it's more efficient to spend the energy to making multiple trips with snow shoes instead of a slower trip hauling a sled? Can anyone else speak to the viability of the human ox method?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brassnipples View Post
    There don't seem to be a lot of first hand accounts of how well a weighted sled works for packing in fresh snow on singletrack. It seems like an obvious solution but maybe it's more efficient to spend the energy to making multiple trips with snow shoes instead of a slower trip hauling a sled? Can anyone else speak to the viability of the human ox method?
    The problem with sleds, and even skis for that matter, is they have such a large surface area, they will sit too high up on the snow and span over soft spots or voids in the underlying surface. Over time, they can do a decent job, but it usually takes a combination of a sled, then the first bikes who have problems for a while, then the trail gets more rideable. The trail behind a sled looks nice and smooth, but it is not packing into the low portions of the underlying trail surface, just spanning across them. As a rider, you will not be able to see where the more solid portions of the trail are behind the sled.

    Smaller drags tend to work better as they will have a smaller surface area and move snow around a bit more while packing. They will help to fill in the divots in the trail surface underneath and contour to the trail a bit better. We tend to use 2 or 3 car/truck tires with a little added weight, either pulled by hand or by a snowmachine (snowmobile down in the lower 48... ). A combination of things over the long run works best to pack in a good line for riding, mixing snowshoes/skis, tires, feet, and bikes, but that is more of a long term trail packing thing once the initial work is done.

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    We've had good luck with the snowshoes packing things in but unless you get a lot of traffic it leaves a bumpy surface that's difficult to ride if only a couple pairs of feet have gone through. The plan is for the sled to come after two snowshoers have done the initial stomping with the hopes that it will compact and smooth the snow enough to take the trail from 'hike a bike' to 'struggle' for the first few riders.

    The sled is going to be based on this tub:
    All-purpose Mixing Tub by Do It Best Global Sourcing - Essential Hardware

    The idea is to load weight on one end and tip it up enough that only the rounded portion will be making contact with the snow along with a few other modifications to make it track straight. At least it's a cheap experiment.

    I know it's not going to magically turn the trail into a highway but if it shortens the break in period after a good snowfall I'll call it a success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    The problem with sleds, and even skis for that matter, is they have such a large surface area, they will sit too high up on the snow and span over soft spots or voids in the underlying surface.
    These guys seem to have the sled thing dialed:


  41. #41
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    For those that live in or near the Upper Midwest region, here's a conference on grooming and advocacy for fat bikes:

    https://www.imba.com/civicrm/event/info?id=367&reset=1

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    could get one of these (link) probably could pull behind a snowmobile also
    Human Powered Trail Grooming - Home

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    This club has built a trail grooming device that is towed behind a snowmobile. They maintain over 20 miles of fatbike trail. https://www.facebook.com/pages/NTN-S...47765491905204
    I don't know what trail we're on, but at least it's getting dark

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    Quote Originally Posted by GregB406 View Post
    This club has built a trail grooming device that is towed behind a snowmobile. They maintain over 20 miles of fatbike trail. https://www.facebook.com/pages/NTN-S...47765491905204
    There is definitely an echo in here.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim208 View Post
    As a hardcore snowmobiler who rides a fat bike. Be careful on the snowmobile trails. Snowmobilers pay to have the trails groomed. We must buy state registations and groomer stickers.

    Fat bikes don't pay any money to the snowmobile groups. Should that change is a good question. But a snowmobile doing 40 mph around a corner is not going very fast. But to a fat biker doing 3 mph it is fast. Make sure you show respect to the sledders, they pay for the groomed trails with time and money.

    Personally I think there will be a showdown between the fat bikes and the snowmobilers. There are very few people like me who take the middle ground on this. Most cyclist are antimotor and most motor people are anti human power people. Mainly both sides do not get the other side, Both sides have good points and bad points. But it is mainly the human power side that tries to kick off the motor side. So don't be surprised if there is resentment to fat bikes on snowmobile trails...
    I joined the local snowmobile club (2 of them, actually) and the trail master of one of them said he has no problem with skiers and bikers on their trails. Much of their funding comes from State grant programs so they are OK with multi-use. Becoming a member also gets you their latest trail map. But some snowmobilers have the same sense of entitlement that some bikers and hikers have, so there will always be a few who don't want to get along.

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    A blog on the recent snow bike summit, grooming. I wasn't there.
    2014 Midwest Fat Bike Access & Grooming Workshop | Mountain Bike Geezer

  47. #47
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    I thought I'd dredge up this thread to see what evolution has produced over the last year. A crew of us are still relying on snowshoes and fat skis but are looking toward more modern methods. Anyone have anything to add?

    The photos from the 2014 Midwest Workshop cjohnson linked are quite inspirational.

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    We just got done with a group ride on our newly groomed trails. Up here in Leadville Colorado we get a lot of snow and sunshine. This year we are trying out a new single track grooming project and it is amazing so far. The weather has been warm and now we have a rock solid base to groom for the rest of the year. Our grooming implement of choice is an old Nordic track setter with the cutters removed and combs added on. We also have 150 # s of weight on it too. The sled pulled the groomer very well after one run with the snowmobile only. I'll get a picture up soon.

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    So fat bikes are meant for snow, but they don't do that well unless the snow is groomed..? But I've also heard talk of fat-bike specific trails??

    So, we're building specific trails that fat bikes can be ridden on, and they don't work well for the terrain they're intended for without it being groomed....?

    Seems like a case of "here's an odd widget, let's make a machine that uses odd widgets, then we can sell them!"

    Maybe I just don't get it. Why not make the tires fat enough so that snowy trails don't need to be groomed? I guess then that bike will be useless when the snow is gone....?

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    So fat bikes are meant for snow, but they don't do that well unless the snow is groomed..? But I've also heard talk of fat-bike specific trails??

    So, we're building specific trails that fat bikes can be ridden on, and they don't work well for the terrain they're intended for without it being groomed....?

    Seems like a case of "here's an odd widget, let's make a machine that uses odd widgets, then we can sell them!"

    Maybe I just don't get it. Why not make the tires fat enough so that snowy trails don't need to be groomed? I guess then that bike will be useless when the snow is gone....?
    A muscle powered bike that could travel on un packed trails would not be feasible. There is a limit to what a wheeled vehicle can do in soft, deep snow. It's why there are skis, snowmobiles, and wide tracked vehicles like snowcats.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skelldify View Post
    Maybe I just don't get it....?
    You got that part right anyway. Sometimes the snow is firm enough that you can ride anywhere with no grooming required - we were blessed with some of those conditions this week.

    Like Nordic skiing, alpine skiing and even snowmobiling, sometimes a little trail preparation makes conditions more ideal. One pass with a snowmobile or 3 passes with snowshoes/skis can firm up a trail just enough. It really has nothing to do with widgets, unless that's what you call grooming attachments.

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    grooming for fatbikes

    have used snow shoes.. fat skis (marquettes) to set the trail on the local single track trails... this last Spring purchased a snowmobile. worked on a drag/groomer.. but realized that I would only be able to access perhaps 30% of the trails... the single track at HHE is often tight and twisty.... just sold the snowmobile and picked up a Rokon... took it out Wednesday morning in close to 0 degree weather with about 9 inches of snow.. snow was a bit too cold, light and fluffy for good packing to take place, but the Rokon got every inch of the single track that I was hoping to reach... now working out a small groomer idea to pull behind it to set the trail.... the tires are almost 10 inches wide, but would like a groomed surface closer to 18 or 20 inches.... will update on how it goes...Grooming for fatbikes-2015map.jpgGrooming for fatbikes-imag0128.jpgGrooming for fatbikes-imag0131-1.jpgGrooming for fatbikes-imag0133-1.jpgClick image for larger version. 

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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by twright205 View Post
    have used snow shoes.. fat skis (marquettes) to set the trail on the local single track trails... this last Spring purchased a snowmobile. worked on a drag/groomer.. but realized that I would only be able to access perhaps 30% of the trails... the single track at HHE is often tight and twisty.... just sold the snowmobile and picked up a Rokon... took it out Wednesday morning in close to 0 degree weather with about 9 inches of snow.. snow was a bit too cold, light and fluffy for good packing to take place, but the Rokon got every inch of the single track that I was hoping to reach... now working out a small groomer idea to pull behind it to set the trail.... the tires are almost 10 inches wide, but would like a groomed surface closer to 18 or 20 inches.... will update on how it goes...Click image for larger version. 

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    I look at stuff like this and it seems to me like a lot of trouble and expense to go to. I know some people will see this post as something as a troll but I can't help but wonder if it's worth it. I suppose the answer to that depends on who you ask.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    I look at stuff like this and it seems to me like a lot of trouble and expense to go to. I know some people will see this post as something as a troll but I can't help but wonder if it's worth it. I suppose the answer to that depends on who you ask.
    The same could be said for running Pisten Bully groomers every night at Nordic and/or alpine ski areas. And I bet Mr. Wright has a lot more fun riding that Rokon than the guys running the snow cats.

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    Makes me wonder what the LMs think about something like this in areas that don't typically allow motorized access on singletrack trail. Is it all of a sudden okay just because fatbike?
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    yeah, the rokon is fun... beats tamping the trail down with snowshoes... been trying to get some snowshoe clubs to head out and do the trails for us... but no luck yet.

    I was the only one with a fatbike 2 years ago. on one ride last January (little snow so no real need for fatbike, allowed 3 others to ride it for a while. in a month.. all three purchased their own... now in the county we have maybe a dozen... it does take time, but it's time out in nature, peaceful and time to ponder.. plus get to ride all year round...

    have fun no matter what or where you ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Makes me wonder what the LMs think about something like this in areas that don't typically allow motorized access on singletrack trail. Is it all of a sudden okay just because fatbike?
    I can't speak to other areas, but here in the Twin Cities (MN), the LM's who allow for the motorized grooming, do so on a very conditional basis. The grooming apparatus (apparatai?) are owned by our local user group, and it is only those machines that are allowed on trail. It isn't some Rokon free for all.

    I see it as similar to the agreements that ski areas have with the National Forests. They can use their groomers and snomobiles on the slopes for the betterment of the area, but not anyone with a snomobile can go ripping around the resort at any given time.

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    don't fret.... ATV. snowmobile. Rokon.. mech. vehicle use is specified in the stewardship agreements with the LM..for trail creation and maintenance.
    as zombinate suggested, not a free for all... no ripping around for fun and jollies.

    been creating this little trail network for over 8 years... certainly don't plan on doing something that would end up jeopardizing it... we are close to over 12 miles of single track with the hope to bring another 2 to 3 miles online over this next year. and the same the following...

  59. #59
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    I help manage about 2500 acres of town conservation land and motorized access is limited to maintenance and timber management. Grooming for fat bikes has not yet been discussed but I expect we will approve it in specific areas within the next year.

    So here's my version 1.0 of the wheelbarrow tub human-powered groomer. Stomp out on snowshoes ahead of it and make it buff with this unit. Features:
    -Steerable
    -Unlimited weight & placement options.
    -Self-adjusting weight locations on steep ups & downs.
    -Custom rusty-bottom acts as skin on steep uphills and reduces Achilles strikes on descents.
    -Plows like a boat in deep* snow.

    Grooming for fatbikes-wb-groomer1-small-.jpg

    I think I'm onto something with this.

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    radiar, I like how you think, I know many groomers have metal pan apparently from what I was told the friction causes heat which help melt and then bind the snow/ice crystals. so your metal pan ought to serve you well. might borrow your idea for the tow behind the Rokon..

  61. #61
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    There will be a good bit of information sharing and discussion on these topics at the Global Fat Bike Summit in Jackson, WY, next week. Riders, land managers and expert groomers will gather to discuss strategies.

    Global Fat Bike Summit | January 23?25, 2015 Jackson, WY

  62. #62
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    Well then... How about a nice crackling wood fire in the wheel barrow while you drag it around. Plenty of heat to warm and lock the trail surface and quick stops have a source of heat and the ability to roast marshmallows at will. Sounds like a traveling party. Your buddy could lead out towing the first sled with the cooler...

    Quote Originally Posted by twright205 View Post
    radiar, I like how you think, I know many groomers have metal pan apparently from what I was told the friction causes heat which help melt and then bind the snow/ice crystals. so your metal pan ought to serve you well. might borrow your idea for the tow behind the Rokon..

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesternMD View Post
    Well then... How about a nice crackling wood fire in the wheel barrow while you drag it around. Plenty of heat to warm and lock the trail surface and quick stops have a source of heat and the ability to roast marshmallows at will. Sounds like a traveling party. Your buddy could lead out towing the first sled with the cooler...
    That's funny and I like your thinking. Or, fill it with water and rig up a propane heater for a nice trailside soak.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesternMD View Post
    Well then... How about a nice crackling wood fire in the wheel barrow while you drag it around. Plenty of heat to warm and lock the trail surface and quick stops have a source of heat and the ability to roast marshmallows at will. Sounds like a traveling party. Your buddy could lead out towing the first sled with the cooler...
    That is a pretty hot idea, actually. My wood backer blocks on the eyebolts would not fare so well but those could be changed out to steel. Keep that beast moving or you'll melt a hole!

  65. #65
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    Finally warmed up above freezing today for the first time in weeks. Took the opportunity to snowshoe some backyard singletrack and pull the tub. It's a good workout! I like the weight in the front, as it makes the tub plow a bit and leaves a better tread. The results are far better than packing with snowshoes alone; before & after:
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  66. #66
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    I like it Radair I'm going to steal your idea since I have a spare wheelbarrow tub with rotting handles...with the recent 2+ feet of fresh, relatively fluffy/dry snow on the trails, we have some trail grooming to do for this weekend: https://www.bikereg.com/26386

    I kinda like the idea with putting a fire inside it. The best fire inside it would be a whole bag of hot charcoals. If I have the time, maybe I weld up a concrete block holder.

    if you wanted to go crazy with the hot coals, you could throw a dutch oven on top...deep dish dutch oven pizza ready to eat when the grooming is done...ha!

  67. #67
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    We have loads of snowshoers in the area, and they use the same trails that the fat bikers do. If I wait a day or two past a big dump of snow, the singletrack will be packed down reasonably well. We're on the front range of the Rockies and don't get much snow, so there will be a few inches every couple of weeks. Formal grooming isn't really needed.
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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.P. View Post
    I like it Radair I'm going to steal your idea since I have a spare wheelbarrow tub with rotting handles...with the recent 2+ feet of fresh, relatively fluffy/dry snow on the trails, we have some trail grooming to do for this weekend: https://www.bikereg.com/26386

    I kinda like the idea with putting a fire inside it. The best fire inside it would be a whole bag of hot charcoals. If I have the time, maybe I weld up a concrete block holder.

    if you wanted to go crazy with the hot coals, you could throw a dutch oven on top...deep dish dutch oven pizza ready to eat when the grooming is done...ha!
    Hi Chris - Glad you guys got some snow for your event! Best wishes with it. I love the idea of a sliding barbeque, be sure to post pics whether you light it up or not.

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    Here's what I'm trying on our trails. Usually pack it first with the snowshoes and then buff it up with the drag. Smoothes it out and seems to firm up the edges. Can add or remove as much weight as you want and without the weights it's only 2-3 lbs so it's easy to move around.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by firemb View Post
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    Here's what I'm trying on our trails. Usually pack it first with the snowshoes and then buff it up with the drag. Smoothes it out and seems to firm up the edges. Can add or remove as much weight as you want and without the weights it's only 2-3 lbs so it's easy to move around.
    You're dragging this around by hand(foot)? Sounds like a helluva workout but how much trail can you pack in an hour?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    You're dragging this around by hand(foot)? Sounds like a helluva workout but how much trail can you pack in an hour?
    I was surprised how easy it was to pull. It's only 21" wide and the cutter bars are angled about 45*. The day I was out there was about 2" of fresh snow. Going to try it again this week to see how it cuts ruts made from hikers. Did about 5 miles of trail in about 4 hours.

  72. #72
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    Grooming for fatbikes

    Grooming for fatbikes-imageuploadedbytapatalk1422843396.199951.jpgGrooming for fatbikes-imageuploadedbytapatalk1422843407.716719.jpg

    This is the drag I made for pulling behind me while snowshoeing. I add weight to the pan and the crossmember at the front. Picture is of the result. The conditions were perfect, 34 degrees when grooming then down to 10 deg that night. The track was so firm you could barely see the tire tracks.

  73. #73
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    We tow a tire on a rim were the trail is wide enough for the machine (double track). We have been towing a tire on a rope w/snowshoes on the single track. Another fellow has fashioned something w/a section of chain link fence & a weight to pull w/snowshoes. Thinking about pulling a euro shovel w/weight. Other rigs out there? Photos?

  74. #74
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    This is ours that a club member built and I do pretty much most of the grooming. We have a 7 mile loop and I pull it with a Ski Doo Scandic. It does a pretty good job when fully weighted but it's still dependent on snow conditions and weather changes. Funny that charcoal was brought up, we have a few areas that seem to break down every year and I was contemplating using heat as well. The one issue I can see is the snow sticking to the bottom of the groomer once heated. I've also thought about misting those areas with a yard sprayer and water?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grooming for fatbikes-dsc06468.jpg  

    Grooming for fatbikes-dsc06471.jpg  


  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    This is ours that a club member built and I do pretty much most of the grooming. We have a 7 mile loop and I pull it with a Ski Doo Scandic. It does a pretty good job when fully weighted but it's still dependent on snow conditions and weather changes. Funny that charcoal was brought up, we have a few areas that seem to break down every year and I was contemplating using heat as well. The one issue I can see is the snow sticking to the bottom of the groomer once heated. I've also thought about misting those areas with a yard sprayer and water?
    hey Bob, is that smooth on bottom or does it have some kind of a comb to leave corduroy?

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    we have a few areas that seem to break down every year and I was contemplating using heat as well. The one issue I can see is the snow sticking to the bottom of the groomer once heated. I've also thought about misting those areas with a yard sprayer and water?
    Use ammonium nitrate (fertilizer). We use that technique at the ski club when it's to soft around the gate. get's concret solid even when it's over freezing point (well it's the main reason why we use it.)
    You don't need alot, throw a couple of handfull in the area where you need it, you will be surprise in a couple of hours later.
    This year i build build two snow bridges using nitrate.
    Edit: Forgot to say that it is better to use when it's sunny and the hotter. you will get better and faster final result.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    hey Bob, is that smooth on bottom or does it have some kind of a comb to leave corduroy?
    We added combs, seems to help the snow setup. Also aids in helping it to track better and fill in foot prints

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdundee View Post
    We added combs, seems to help the snow setup. Also aids in helping it to track better and fill in foot prints
    combs? Adjustable? Might try horse manure fork heads under leading edge of euro shovel. "Ticklers" good idea to help before smoothing.

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildskycomet View Post
    combs? Adjustable? Might try horse manure fork heads under leading edge of euro shovel. "Ticklers" good idea to help before smoothing.
    We used these on the rear edge. Putting something on the front can work for working up the snow crystals so they bond together better then the rear combs leaves the corduroy which gives more surface area for the air to get in and helps the snow to set up.
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  80. #80
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    Video: Riding is Better When Groomed

    Video: Riding is Better when Groomed - Pinkbike

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    We use skis and snowshoes as much as possible by promoting multi use. When we need to manicure we machine groom. Here is taste of our trails

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBbFSi3fwB0

    Grooming for fatbikes-eadsville-groom.jpg

  82. #82
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    Singletrack Grooming

    Here is a picture of our new sled along with it's custom hitch and groomer. We have a lot of tight hilly singletrack that we like to ride. It can't be groomed on a snowmobile or a Rokon, but the Snow Hawk is the ticket.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Grooming for fatbikes-img_0577.jpg  

    "RIDE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT"

  83. #83
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    AWESOME! I'd love to see a video of the Hawk in action.
    In the summer I build trails: www.sinuosity.net
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    The Crew Demos Tracksled | Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails

    I'll be back to explain more about that link in April.

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    I'm back with more information.

    Crew Purchases Tracksled | Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails

    The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew has purchased one Best Tracksled to use during the 2015-2016 winter season. The article does a good job of laying out why we chose the Best Tracksled.

  86. #86
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    It's September and folks in the fat forum are thinking about snow. More grooming ideas here: Grooming snow

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    I have groomed for XC skiing for over 10 years. I'm fairly knowledgeable and just wanted to mention that besides a roller, (which I have) it would be good to acquire a compaction drag or make one.

    Compaction drag:Grooming Equipment | TART Trails, Inc.. It is on the bottom of the page.

    There are a few things compaction drags do that a roller does not. The goal of a snow trail is to have a perfectly smooth, luge like surface. The CD does this by moving snow into low spots whereas the roller does not. A compaction drag ages snow better by breaking down the crystals when it moves snow with the teeth and then tumbles it in the accumulator ahead of the pan. This hardens snow much betr than a roller.

    For XC ski grooming I use the roller only in low snow, then switch to a Yellowstone Ginzugroomer, which is more or less a deluxe compaction drag. I plan to do the same for fat biking. There are times when there is too much snow for the Ginzugroomer. In these situations I use only snowmobile first or the roller.

    If there is a deep snow, the first step would be to ride a rokon or other vehicle and wait a while for the snow to harden. Then use a roller or CD based on amount of snow.

    I'm going to make a compaction drag for this winter. Does anyone have fotos and specs of theirs that they could share?? thanks

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    The compaction drag I built... it's not pretty, but it works quite well.




  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1strongone1 View Post
    Here is a picture of our new sled along with it's custom hitch and groomer. We have a lot of tight hilly singletrack that we like to ride. It can't be groomed on a snowmobile or a Rokon, but the Snow Hawk is the ticket.
    The Snowhawk is now available with a Honda GX200 engine (200cc instead of the stock 60cc of the base unit). Being locally made in Quebec, that's what most trail center are using to groom fatbike trails. Sometimes, depending on conditions, snowshoes or a regular skidoo are required, but for maintenance, the Snowhawk is hard to beat.

    AD Boivin, the manufacturer, now offer a fatbike specific groomer.
    I build trails for moose & beaver
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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Masked Avenger View Post
    These guys seem to have the sled thing dialed:

    Great vid. Thanks!

  91. #91
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  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemandy70 View Post
    That had some interesting discussion. I wish they would whittle it down to 15 minutes or less. There's too much BSing about nothing between pertinent points.

  93. #93
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    Has anyone used one of these? 20" Fat Bike 3.0 HPTG

    Looking for something for this winter but it must be human powered for now. Likely plan would be to groom in groups of 2-4 taking turns.

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  95. #95
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    Some good grooming info in the fat bike forum in this thread: Best Tracksled Grooming Experience?

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    Has anyone tried the new TiddTech Narrow Gauge Fat bike trail groomer. Gather it was released last month. Looks pretty neat with 24in base unit with attachable wings to groom 24, 36 or 48in or putting wings at 45deg to create a sloping sidewall. Curious if anyone has some experience and can provide some pictures and comments on experience. Products Archive | Tidd Tech

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    Quote Originally Posted by radair View Post
    Finally warmed up above freezing today for the first time in weeks. Took the opportunity to snowshoe some backyard singletrack and pull the tub. It's a good workout! I like the weight in the front, as it makes the tub plow a bit and leaves a better tread. The results are far better than packing with snowshoes alone; before & after:
    Tried this last season, doesn't really pack, drifts on sidehills, not much better than snowshoes and it's more work. This year we have a proper roller/drag and a couple powered groomers.

    If I were entirely on foot, I'd choose lightweight grooming tools and pull them by snowshoe, it's not that hard esp if you groom downhill.

  98. #98
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Tried this last season, doesn't really pack, drifts on sidehills, not much better than snowshoes and it's more work. This year we have a proper roller/drag and a couple powered groomers.

    If I were entirely on foot, I'd choose lightweight grooming tools and pull them by snowshoe, it's not that hard esp if you groom downhill.
    That was a couple years ago, I've since gone motorized. Any manually pulled drag is really only for smoothing and not for packing.

  99. #99
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    A local builder is currently developing a new approach to grooming fat trails. Think of those zero-turn mower, with ATV tracks, and a blade in front. The really neat part is a fully functional tiller in the back.

    Pulling something is okay in nice, fluffy snow. If you have limited amount of snow, lot of icing issues, freeze/thaw scenarios, tilling the top layer is the key. It's the same principle used on alpine ski slopes with much larger BisonX or BR.

    First prototype : https://www.facebook.com/10179283515...3013637731536/
    I build trails for moose & beaver
    PTBA member

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by HypNoTic View Post
    A local builder is currently developing a new approach to grooming fat trails. Think of those zero-turn mower, with ATV tracks, and a blade in front. The really neat part is a fully functional tiller in the back.
    Too wide. Should be no wider than a small utility snowmobile.

    As to tilling up the snow if it gets icy, yes. A well designed groom can do that.

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