Answers to some common questions re fat biking grooming, grooming team, equipment, trails, timing and costs. Info supplied by GBCTA fat bike lead groomer – Dean. Thanks for everything Dean, Dave, Willie, Tim, Pat and Paul! So much appreciated!
Q: How long after a snow fall does it take to groom the core fat bike trails?
A: After an average snowfall it takes our team of 6 volunteer groomers 2 to 3 days and about 24 man hours of total groomer time to get the core trails in shape. When the snow is deep we use the KTM tracked motorcycles. After the tread is packed we use the Yamaha Big Wheels with tire chains to remove Fat Bike tire ruts and harden the tread. We work in teams of two volunteers for safety and for help getting the machinery un-stuck. Most of the grooming is done during the week days so we don’t interfere with trail enjoyment on the weekends.
Q: What are the core trails that get groomed first?
A: Braggin Rights, Reconnect, Merlin, Long Distance South, Snowy Owl, West Crystal, Ranger, Strange Brew and Boundary to the bench.
Q: What are the other fat bike trails that get groomed as well and how long does that take?
A: After the core trails are done we get out to Long Distance North, Moose Singletrack and Boundary down to the Trans Canada Trail. This is usually another 2 days grooming time.
Q: How soon after a snowfall do you groom?
A: We try to get out as soon as possible since it is pretty tough pedalling in deep snow. The tracks set up and become firm over night. We also need to groom and cut deadfall after Chinook winds because the treads get blocked and drifted over. Once the new snow is packed down we continuously go over the trails to keep them smooth and free of debris.
Q: What other expenses are there for equipment?
A: We are constantly doing maintenance on the grooming equipment and developing new grooming tools. All of the motorcycles have been specially modified for our uses and we have built 100% of our own grooming implements. We have other winter Fat Bike areas calling us for information and advice on what works best. Riders love our treads!
Q: How much does it cost for a season of winter Fat Bike trail grooming?
A: Our budget for Fat Bike trail grooming is about $15,000 per season. Keeping the two e-bikes, two KTM snowbikes, two Yamaha Big Wheel motorcycles, the Rokon and all our grooming implements running is a big job! We also have maintenance and replacement costs for safety equipment, saws, fuel and oil changes.
Q: GBCTA has several different types of bikes? What is each bike specialize at or best in what conditions?
A: The KTM track bikes work great in deep snow, but they are very difficult to ride over roots and rocks. The Yamaha Big Wheels and Rokon work well on roots and rocks, but they cannot get through deep snow. You can imagine it is quite a challenge to groom trails like Boundary to TCT where we can encounter deep snow in places as well as completely bare roots and rocks in sun exposed areas.