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  1. #1
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    New groomer idea

    Has anyone tried using a tracked snowblower to break trails? Probably mount skis to the wear pads and possibly reverse rotation to process/pack the snow the blower will drive on. If that works and it had enough traction I'd like to fabricate a pintle hitch corduroy groomer to stand on behind the blower. I'd also probably mount a spare gas can to the blower. Also might get fancy and put big LED lights and handwarmers on it if it even remotely works... ha. Used snowblowers can be had a fair bit cheaper than snowdogs. A friend mentioned rocks and branches might chew up the augers pretty quick.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    The problem is the snowblower portion itself. The front is heavy with a "blade" on the bottom to cut down into the snow. So you'd have to either remove the front section or push down on the snowblower to keep the front end up high for the length of the trail. That sounds miserable, especially when you consider how slow they are.

    Otherwise, it could be a decent starting point for a cheap DIY groomer, but not in stock form.
    Jason
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  3. #3
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    The skis would be mounted to the wear plates to float the blower section. I'd also try to make the height of them adjustable.
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  4. #4
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    I think if you float the front section with skiis you will probably float the tracks too and they won't have any traction.
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  5. #5
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    I'm not following ya. I'm talking about a foot long section of skis mounted to the sides of the blower. where the wear plates/feet normally go. Not the center scraper section underneath the auger. New groomer idea-troy-bilt-gas-snow-blowers-storm-tracker-2690xp-64_1000.jpg
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  6. #6
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    No way is that going to pull you or pack down snow.

    The best it would do is marginally pack down the snow while you walk behind post holing as you go. Yes, I know you said you wanted to make something to stand on, but I see it loosing traction and digging itself a pit before it ever pulls you.

  7. #7
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    Traction can be improved pretty easily. Thankfully the in-laws (outlaws) race snowmobiles. Picks, studs, scoops, paddles, etc.

    Do you have any personal experience or is this an assumption?
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  8. #8
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    I still think you'd want to take the entire "blower" section off. You don't need it.
    Jason
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  9. #9
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    In all honesty it wouldnt serve much purpose. But, if before it was removed I could find a way to prep the snow for the tracks to drive over or use it for supplemental drive it would be nice. Maybe flipping the auger end over end would push the snow down and drive?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Traction can be improved pretty easily. Thankfully the in-laws (outlaws) race snowmobiles. Picks, studs, scoops, paddles, etc.

    Do you have any personal experience or is this an assumption?
    If by personal experience, have I tried to make a groomer out of a snowblower? No, but I am an engineer and pretty handy at adapting things. Instead of assumption, just take it as a reasoned opinion.

    The auger and back plate of the housing will be a problem. I would suggest:

    1.) Replace the auger with a corrugated drum on each side of the auger drive gear. The drums will act as wheels to help compact and propel forward.
    2.) Cut out a good section of the back of the housing so that it will not act as a plow.
    3.) Start off by wearing snow shoes and walk behind the unit.

  11. #11
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    Anyone say too slow yet?
    It doesn't matter what I ride as long as I ride it Rubber Side Down●~●.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    I'm not following ya. I'm talking about a foot long section of skis mounted to the sides of the blower. where the wear plates/feet normally go. Not the center scraper section underneath the auger. Click image for larger version. 

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    I understood exactly what you were saying. What I'm saying is that if you mount something in front that tends to float the front end it will float the whole thing to a degree and in terms of traction that is a bad thing. If you are not trying to "float" it why put on skiis?
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  13. #13
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    What exactly is the advantage over snowshoes?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  14. #14
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    I wouldnt float the auger completely over the snow, sorry that wasn't entirely clear.

    If you covered the auger with corrugated it would be a PITA because it travels at a way different speed than the drive.

    The blade of the auger housing is a fair point, but I was honestly trying to address that with the skis for flotation.

    I would posthole the snot out of some trails in my back yard before moving up to standing in the kids sled and then building a grooming sled to stand on.

    Dont advertise you're an engineer, I make a living fixing your ideas. haha (kidding, i appreciate the input)
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    I wouldnt float the auger completely over the snow, sorry that wasn't entirely clear.

    If you covered the auger with corrugated it would be a PITA because it travels at a way different speed than the drive.

    The blade of the auger housing is a fair point, but I was honestly trying to address that with the skis for flotation.

    I would posthole the snot out of some trails in my back yard before moving up to standing in the kids sled and then building a grooming sled to stand on.

    Dont advertise you're an engineer, I make a living fixing your ideas. haha (kidding, i appreciate the input)
    Trust me, I have fixed plenty of other engineers issues as well as I work on the constructability end vs design.

    Synchronization of the drum speed to drive speed is probably not necessary. Assuming the corrugation is perpendicular to rotation, like an ADS pipe, if it spun faster it would likely just burnish (slight melt) the snow and that may help with compaction and ultimate setup.

    If you think of a snowmobile, the front gets up on powder by skis AND the belly pan under the engine. You will need some sort of shape like that. I was thinking just putting a rounded cover over the auger to create that belly pan shape, but then I thought the dynamic action of the drum would be a benefit.

    I am still pretty skeptical of the concept.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyJo1 View Post
    Anyone say too slow yet?
    And we have a winner!

  17. #17
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    I've got many, many hours and years behind a tracked Honda 1132 blower and I don't see it ever being reconfigured to pack down or pull anything. It's way slow and the two little tracks wouldn't provide enough traction or float to get you down the trail. I've written it before and I'll write it again, just buy an old snowmobile and ride it on your trails to pack things down. If you want to get fancy you can pull an old tire or fashion a groomer out of an sled or even buy a proper groomer. Parts are readily available for any snowmobile, they flat out work in all kinds of snow conditions, the old machines are cheap, easy to work on and are way, way more versatile than a specialized groomer. I cut, maintain and groom my own trails using a snowmobile and occasionally tow a homemade groomer or a tire for certain conditions. A low profile, bologna skin track found on old, cheap machines pack down very smooth trails for biking and often don't require any groomer.

  18. #18
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    Snowmobiles on state land where our trails are is probably a really bad idea for a few reasons.

    I dont want to build a tracksled but it looks like it might be the solution.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    I dont want to build a tracksled but it looks like it might be the solution.
    Don't build one. There are several vendors that you can buy from. Everything from Snowdog (low end; mass produced) to the Trail Tamer (high end; built for that purpose).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Snowmobiles on state land where our trails are is probably a really bad idea for a few reasons.

    I dont want to build a tracksled but it looks like it might be the solution.
    We have been allowed to groom with snowmachines on parklands in Anchorage. It never hurts to ask, especially if you have a maintenance track record in the summer. Our best trails are maintained with snowshoes since they are way to twisty and narrow for any kind of motorized groomer.
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  21. #21
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    Its coming out of my pocket, the clubs wallet isnt thick enough. I also might be the only active member with a fat bike ... whoops
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    I donít think the authority having jurisdiction of public land would differentiate between a motorized groomer or a snowmobile if the area is non-motorized. It would definitely be worth a conversation as I think a snowmobile is much more cost effective. I canít think of any single track trails Iíve ridden in Anchorage that I couldnít have ridden a snowmobile down. I donít think Iíd really enjoy riding a very tight, twisty and slow, snowshoe packed trail. In my area in a ďnormalĒ winter, we get way to much snow, way too often to keep up with using snowshoes. Iíd end up spending the most of my winter snowshoeing rather than biking. Sometimes I get tired of grooming and brushing out my trails with a snowmachine as it can take a lot of time and effort.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfat View Post
    I canít think of any single track trails Iíve ridden in Anchorage that I couldnít have ridden a snowmobile down.
    We must ride some very different trails.



    The Kincaid ones are groomed by snowmachine occasionally when the snow gets that deep, most everything else (singletrack) is not. Wide multi-use XC ski trails are obviously groomed by groomers, but myself and most of the people I know go out and ride on trails where snowmachines would be totally impractical and impossible.

    The only way to pack many of the trails we ride is by snowshoe or ski (and later just regular foot traffic). As soon as it dumps significantly, we are out there snowshoeing them down. Sometimes on the stuff that is not ridden as frequently we have to "wait" for enough users to pack it down, skiers and hikers, but sometimes it gets frozen with post-holes and is impassable.
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    schofell84..... understand where you are coming from, I'll have to dig up the video of what I call the trailbadger.... made from a trackdrive snowblower and some motorcycle tires for flailing blades... which have now been replaced with spinning tire chains of death..... it works wonders re-establishing outslope and buzzing in drains... it also does a fair job tearing out the organic duff.

    but here is a quick photo mock up of what I thought about building before pulling the trigger on a snowdog...
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Thoughts?
    Not the brightest idea.

    1.) It will be too slow for any reasonable length of fat bike trail grooming... 4-10 miles

    2.) A snowblower is not meant for pulling the weight of you and and groomer behind it. Not only will you burn through gas quickly, you will burn up the belts in short order.

  26. #26
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    trailbadger.... It has new teeth. but you get the idea https://photos.app.goo.gl/AS1jCXseXAzJnrEE8

  27. #27
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    Word to your mother.

  28. #28
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    Oh wow guy, that looks like the cats meow for some fast singletrack. Why tracks though?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Okay, it looks like you will need to:

    1.) Remove auger and housing
    2.) Change drive gear ratio
    3.) Find a well packed surface to traverse
    4.) Drop body weight down to about 70#



    I still do not see it breaking/grooming trail.

  30. #30
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    Or the adult version.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIy8oOHS0kM
    only they can get stuck

    I guess with a snow blower you can always make it dual purpose: steal snow from the X-ski track.
    Crazy on this ship of fools...

  31. #31
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    Maybe the auger in reverse rotation and removing the back scraper/blade will pack snow. who knows. My $75 snowblower fell through at the moment anyways.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Maybe the auger in reverse rotation and removing the back scraper/blade will pack snow. who knows. My $75 snowblower fell through at the moment anyways.
    If you reverse the auger rotation direction would't it try to push the machine backwards?
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  33. #33
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    I'm sorry not rotation, the direction the snow is pushed by rotation: flip it end for end and it should try to force it towards the outer wall of the auger housing, not towards the chute.
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  34. #34
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    These ones pull airplanes around, Hopefully they can hold up to towing an adult on a groomer sled.

    https://mooneyspace.com/topic/21635-...er-into-a-tug/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    We must ride some very different trails.
    Iím thinking thatís the case. Whenever Iím in Anchorage I mostly ride in Bicentennial Park. Everything Iíve ridden there I could ride my snowmachine through. Naturally Iíve not ridden every single trail in that park but Iíve ridden quite a lot of them in both summer and winter. Iíve only ridden Kincaid in the summer and donít remember it well enough to even name what trails I rode.

    I was out brushing a trail today and realized that my trails have to be made wider than the ones in your video since the alders and willows will grow out over the trail and then sag in the winter blocking it.

    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Ummm.... no. Slow, rough riding and it doesnít look like it would even be able to break trail in fresh snow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoe View Post
    Or the adult version.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIy8oOHS0kM
    only they can get stuck

    I guess with a snow blower you can always make it dual purpose: steal snow from the X-ski track.
    That contraption looks like it canít even get out of its own way in deep snow or on an incline compared to even the most basic, 30 year old snowmobile that can be bought all day long off Craigslist for under $500.

    New groomer idea-08aad971-88aa-4ffb-9591-6a14e7404d2c.jpgL
    Hereís a photo of breaking trail today on one of my trails using a snowmachine. The snow was dry, knee deep powder and caused no problems for the sled.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    These ones pull airplanes around, Hopefully they can hold up to towing an adult on a groomer sled.

    https://mooneyspace.com/topic/21635-...er-into-a-tug/
    They pull airplanes around on very flat asphalt aprons where traction isn't an issue. Typically a couple of guys can push a light plane around an apron, at least for relatively short distances. I on the other hand would not want to pull a guy and grooming equipment through deep snow even with a helper. Deep snow is a completely different thing than asphalt. In snow it's all about having enough track area to provide float and traction. There will be times when your idea will work but mostly those will be times when you could probably just ride it in on your bike for the same result. My snowblower does not go up over the snow well at all which is why I'm so skeptical.
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  37. #37
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    Snofat, We have winter trails in Bicentennial park now that are snow shoed once the snow pack gets deep enough. They are narrow and twisty enough that it can be difficult to keep the front tire from going off the outside of the trail in a turn without the back tire going off the inside. Not for fast riding but very fun none the less. Anything put in by mechanical means feels like a freeway.
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  38. #38
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    Iíll have to look for those type of trails the next time Iím in Anchorage. Iím guessing they are probably close to the borders of the park next to the neighborhoods?

    I cut a much narrower trail than I usually do this past fall just to save time and get it done before first snow. Iíve had to go back and brush it out three times so far because of the overhanging tree limbs. Itís in a deciduous section of forest rather than conifers so it looks like thatís the difference compared to areas Iíve seen around Anchorage.

    In my area the alders and willows grow so fast that itís much better to cut 4-wheeler or side by side width trails so they get traffic and keep from growing back so quickly. Plus I also like my motorized toys so the trails work for everything.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by sryanak View Post
    Snofat, We have winter trails in Bicentennial park now that are snow shoed once the snow pack gets deep enough. They are narrow and twisty enough that it can be difficult to keep the front tire from going off the outside of the trail in a turn without the back tire going off the inside. Not for fast riding but very fun none the less. Anything put in by mechanical means feels like a freeway.
    I heard from a birdie there's a snowshoe party tomorrow.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfat View Post
    Iíll have to look for those type of trails the next time Iím in Anchorage. Iím guessing they are probably close to the borders of the park next to the neighborhoods?
    Hopefully we can have someone show you around on them (not me, out from surgery). The thing is that it's difficult to know where you are on them at night and there are some spots where you can keep coming up on trail forks and never break back out onto a main trail where you can tell where you are. They are insanely fun and once the snow gets deep enough all sorts of stuff starts appearing that wasn't there before. Some of the stuff is intended to be very technical, some of goes between trees that are closer than 780mm, but it's all fun stuff and it's great to have this nearby. There are some other similar areas that are good for fat biking, but none really compare to the amount and variety in Far North Bicentennial Park or the fact that it connects with both the Hillside STA trail system and Chucach State Park. Now that we finally have good snow, people are going crazy!

    And bring lights
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    Ha! It seemed like getting lost in Bicentennial was part of the fun for me at times back in the 90ís when I was going to UAA. Iíd both XC ski and bike in the park and would sometimes get so turned Iíd start getting a bit nervous and think how crazy it was to be ďlostĒ right next to the biggest city in the state.

    I got my snowshoes out today and am going to make a trail in the woods next to my house just for the heck of it. Iím curious how much effort itíll take to pack down to be rideable. None of the creeks are frozen yet so my longer loop rides are cut off presently. Iím just so happy that we finally got snow!!

  42. #42
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    You guys want to PM or start your own thread?
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    You guys want to PM or start your own thread?
    I think you should build your snowblower groomer and astound everyone how you overcame itís lack of floatation, traction, power, speed and tendency to flip over backwards when towing since it was designed to push forward and eat itís way through snow. Donít forget to fabricate new controls, an attachment to stand or sit on, and the larger fuel tank and itís associated mounting and fuel line system. Make sure to include storage to carry spare belts and the tools to replace them on the trail as youíll be going through them. Youíll want a storage area large enough to carry a shovel, food, stove, sleeping bag and tent since youíll be out on the trails for many hours digging it out from being stuck and fixing broken parts and replacing belts. Iíd also include an accessory charging outlet for your phone so you can text your wife at midnight to let her know your stuck out in the woods again. Then the next morning you can charge the battery to call work and let them know you wonít be making it in again today.

    In the meantime Iíll be grooming my own trails with a cheap snowmachine and riding my bike on them.

    New groomer idea-b921d169-57e5-4848-9468-49a90f18f2d6.jpg
    Yesterday I noticed the 32Ē ski stance matched the ski pole marks on the snowshoe trail I made and the 15Ē wide track is very similar in width to the snowshoe tracks.

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    I've been following this topic on Pinkbike as well as here, and well, I totally agree with what Snowfat is saying. Enough of the questions and debating on weather or not it will work, just do it. Schofell84 you seem fairly confidant that you have a brilliant idea and are looking for some type of reassurance from the rest of us. And when we chime in with our thoughts you dismiss them with ease. So prove us wrong, build your groomer, show us it works and you might start a trend. Or accept defeat and carry on riding your bike on trails that have been built and groomed by some other way, be it snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or even with a Snowdog. Because that's what I will be doing instead of paying anymore attention to this silly topic. Thanks and sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings.

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    I haven't read every reply in this thread, so forgive me if it has already been mentioned....but a tracked snowblower would be a nightmare for grooming.

    I have one and used it for many years when I lived in the mountains....blowing snow off of other than paved or cemented surfaces. When you are blowing snow that is on top of several inches of packed snow (that the blower is riding on top of), every time you encounter a little resistance (deeper snow, an inclines etc), the tracks immediately dig a hole and you get high centered instantly. If you look at the clearance under a tracked snowblower, it's only a few inches. High centering happens quickly and frequently. It's exhausting.

    Now that I live in town, it's great....because I can only sink so far before it reaches pavement.

  46. #46
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    Sorry you got butthurt after being called out for threadjacking. Anyone else want to offer "constructive criticism"?
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfat View Post
    Iím thinking thatís the case. Whenever Iím in Anchorage I mostly ride in Bicentennial Park. Everything Iíve ridden there I could ride my snowmachine through. Naturally Iíve not ridden every single trail in that park but Iíve ridden quite a lot of them in both summer and winter. Iíve only ridden Kincaid in the summer and donít remember it well enough to even name what trails I rode.
    Many of the winter trails we ride in bicentennial are not even passable in the summer due to being in swamps or a mess of roots. Kincaid is machine-built singletrack and it's generally easy to run a snowmachine over that. Most of the bicentenial singletrack is not.

    Many of these trails have portions that are skinnier than our handlebars, so a snowmachine just won't fit. Heck, there's even a few ladders and skinnies in there.

    The thing is that you can also ride quite extensively there on the wide XC ski trails.

    Since the original message was posted, lots of snow has fallen and the snowshoe and ski crews have been out stomping in even more obscure trails, ones that tend to vary quite a bit year to year in their exact route.

    My first winter I really didn't understand the treasure-trove of trails stomped out in Bicentennial. Since then, I've helped establishing and maintaining them, it's so cool just to be able to go out and get lost in the forest. These are a few from a long time ago:

    New groomer idea-15823246_10101007094816108_2359035334515525351_n.jpgNew groomer idea-img_4687.jpgNew groomer idea-img_4674.jpg

    After Jan I can get back on the bike and show you around.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  48. #48
    mtbr member
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    I might try this idea for some riding on my driveway trail.

  49. #49
    mtbr member
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    Wow! Those photos show without a doubt that a snowmachine wouldnít fit. The trails look both fun and challenging to ride.

  50. #50
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowfat View Post
    Wow! Those photos show without a doubt that a snowmachine wouldnít fit. The trails look both fun and challenging to ride.
    We also have some new "gravity" trails next to Hilltop that we built this past summer. Most of those are getting packing and some grooming. When packed or icy, fun to ride on a fatbike for sure. Lots of berms and jumps, so you can go out and get a bit of everything.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  51. #51
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by schofell84 View Post
    Sorry you got butthurt after being called out for threadjacking. Anyone else want to offer "constructive criticism"?
    Thus far you have ignored the too slow comment. The Snowdog or tracksled rules for grooming tight singletrack.

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