Kurt Proctor, Birkie Trail/Grooming

When does the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) head out to groom?  What shapes their decision on when to groom, where and how?  How long does is take to groom the Birkie trail?  Below are some Frequently Asked Questions, as well as some grooming procedures the ABSF follows.  Any additional questions, stop in the office, give us a call (715-634-5025) or drop us an email (ben.popp@birkie.com).

ABSF Grooming Procedures

  • Grooming is done on an as-needed basis at any time of the day.
  • If the compacted base is less than 3″, we don’t set a classic track.
  • Our grooming throughout the season is performed to make the skiing as good as possible at any given time, always with an eye on how it will impact preparations for the event in February
  • We stage our PistenBully groomers strategically near the north, mid and south ends of the trail.  This allows us to groom all sections of the trail system more efficiently.

ABSF Grooming FAQ’s

  1. What is the ski “base”?  The base is the amount of compacted snow that is on the ski trail, the surface you ski on. It is measured by driving a probe into the base until it hits the ground.
  2. How do you choose what equipment to groom with? We now have 4 PistenBully groomers and do the majority of our grooming with them instead of snowmobiles.  They are set up to groom in as little as 4″ of snow.  Using our PistenBullys, our operators can create a more uniformed and dense base in less time.
  3. How long does it take to groom the entire Birkie Trail system? Depending on snow conditions, it takes our grooming crew about 48 hours to groom the entire trail – including the loops at Hatchery, OO and the start and the Birkie Ridge Connector Trail.
  4. What makes the ski surface hard versus soft? Snow conditions and temperature.  Colder temperatures after the grooming, with adequate moisture in the snow will result in firmer ski conditions (if allowed to sit undisturbed for 4-6 hrs).  If conditions stay above freezing, the snow is really dry, or the ski surface is disturbed shortly after grooming, the trail will break down and be “soft”.
  5. When do we head out to groom?   We groom to make the skiing better! Our crew grooms day and night, depending on need.  There is a groomer somewhere on the trail most days.
  6. What keeps the grooming crew going?  Cookies! 🍪🍪🍪