Friday, February 8, 2008

Why Weston will never be able to hold another EC/JOQ

This might sound like complaining. It is.

Yesterday, Weston got some rain, and then about two inches of snow on top of that. It was mostly done snowing by noon. When I got there at 5pm, the groomer was zipping around in his piston bully. There were maybe 30-40 people skiing around on the 1.75km of trails that were currently being groomed. Not surprisingly, the snow was crap. It quickly turned into soft sugar slush, littered with ice chunks (death cookies) that you couldn't see because they were hiding in the sugar. There was one "lane" in the middle of one of the hills that nobody skied on, by 7:30 that night, it was firm, fun, fast skiing. To make matters worse, the groomer managed to leave a ridge of snow between every lane he'd groomed. HAS HE NEVER MOWED A LAWN? I'm not saying I would do much better, but for sure I would try to learn more about my job and get to the point where I could do it well.

So here are some suggestions for the guy who grooms Weston, should he ever see this.
1. SLOW DOWN. To a quarter of your current speed. Seriously.

2. Use your tiller. You have a piston bully, use that thing to till deep enough that we don't get death cookies littering the trail. With like four feet of manmade snow base, you aren't going to mix any rocks or dirt into the trail.

3. Groom at 9pm when the lights go off, or before you open in the morning. STOP grooming in the middle of the afternoon when the trail is covered with people. You need to give the snow a chance to set up, or it will forever be sugar slush.

4. Even out the ridges and humps. You have a plow on that piston bully. Don't be afraid to use it to make the trail level and flat. Pay attention so that you don't leave ridges between the lanes of the groomer. This may take more passes than you're used to... that's ok. Multiple passes are good. You only have 1.75km to groom.

5. Pick up the cones alone the course so that you don't have to make such tight turns. You don't have to do U-turns in a groomer, you can just groom the whole postage stamp of snow. Really, it's ok if you don't do the U-turns. In fact, its a lot better.

Just because they have a monopoly on snow in this area does not mean that Weston can abuse their priviledge and overcharge us to ski on something groomed worse than a typical snowmobile trail in Maine.


Colin R said...

Weston is obsessed with the "freshen it up in the afternoon" grooming, which is the worst idea in skiing. You can't repair a soft trail by grooming when it's above freezing and has steady traffic on it.

This is obvious to anyone who actually spends time on cross-country skis.

There are times when the trail is so rutted that it *might* make things better, but no where near as often as Weston does it.

Luke S said...

I skied at Weston at 3pm was even worse. They didn't even come close to letting it set up, it was just terrible, they groomed the fresh stuff right into the old slush, and just made more slush. Their grooming can sometimes be good. This week it has absolutely sucked.