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On The Slopes: Grooming

When you show up in the morning and click into your skis or snowboard, you might not realize that a whole team has been working all night to prepare the slopes.

"So after everybody goes home, it takes us between 40-45 hours a night to groom the entire mountain. Between terrain parks, the tubing park and all of the ski trails," said John Mersereau, Cranmore Mountain Resort's snow surface manager.

To maintain the trails on any mountain, a fleet of groomers move, flatten, rototill and compact the snow to your favorite trail, thus improving skiing and snowboarding trail conditions. The resulting pattern on the snow, known as corduroy, is regarded as a good surface on which to ski or ride.

"What it does, it has two rotating shafts on it, with teeth on them. It actually acts as a rototiller. It spins it at a high rpm, and processes the snow, and then there is tiller flaps below and behind it which leaves a corduroy surface from where the snow has been processed," stated Mersereau.

So why groom?

"Especially when it's warm out, the snow will actually turn to water and then it will refreeze and will get very crusty. If you don't groom it, then you won't be able to ski the next morning because it will very, what's called, setup. When you groom it, you put down corduroy -- a groomed surface. It'll be flat smooth and even. When you ski it, it makes for a better, at least the first couple of tracks, so people can get out there and ski it," replied Mesereau.

Cranmore Mountain Resort was one of the first ski resorts in the East to add an electric/diesel driven snow cat to its grooming fleet.

"It is very eco-friendly. It does a really good job in reducing our carbon footprint. Not only that, it does make doing the grooming a whole lot faster and easier. The machine uses electric motors rather than hydraulics. So it's smoother, faster, quicker and takes a lot less effort to do a lot of work. It just makes things able to get done a lot faster," said Mesereau.

The next time you're out on the mountain, the evidence maybe just under your skis. A team has been working through the night to make your ski or snowboarding experience more enjoyable.

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