Pisten Bully 100 Project
The first grooming machine at CHNSA was a State Police snowmobile purchased used for $500 at auction in 1979. Grooming for many years was done with two snowmobiles, rollers, and 4-6’ drags. However, trail expansion and an aging volunteer grooming crew have highlighted the importance of a longer-term solution to our grooming needs. A temporary solution surfaced in the form of a tracked Toolcat machine owned by our neighbor, Nils Smith, but its reliability has been called in to question as it ages and requires more frequent maintenance and repairs.
We have been offered a unique opportunity from another non-profit Nordic Ski organization associated with Mont Tremblant, north of Montreal, to acquire a 2011 Pisten Bully PB100 snowcat at a very affordable price. This machine has been well maintained and could offer us years of use. It is set up ideally for our needs, and would offer us a bunch of improvements from our current equipment. We have had the machine thoroughly inspected by an authorized dealer mechanic who has determined that it is in excellent condition. The asking price of $60,000 is about two-thirds of its fair market value of ~$90K. It is a machine that is designed for hard work over the long haul and would likely serve the grooming needs of CHNSA for many years to come.
There are several benefits of the PB100 over the Toolcat:
- Wider 12’ platform: The wider tracks on a snowcat offer better flotation on snow and less chance of getting stuck. The PB100 is 18' long with a 43" track width. Our current groomer track width is 16”. This snowcat is approximately 2 ‘ wider than our biggest current grooming platform. A wider machine will allow for many trails to be groomed with one pass instead of two that are now required. Appearance of the trails and network would still have the same small narrow trail aesthetic, but groomed in one pass instead of two. This will help us get grooming done more efficiently on an expanding trail network;
- Grading and trail correction: The PB100 has a 12-way front blade which would allow us to grade and push out the snow to keep trails wide and flat for safe passage of the grooming equipment and skiers. Higher elevations and deep snowfalls create an increasing grooming workload and more challenging grooming conditions. The BP100 is designed to deal with these challenges. As the snow pack increases, the width of the trails narrows, and the risk of slipping off the trail into soft side snow increases. This is a real hazard for grooming equipment and has cost us countless miserable hours of "un-stucking" equipment. A 12-way blade gives us the ability to minimize these risks by allowing us to lower the trail height and simultaneously widen the trails. It also offers us a way to correct off-camber effects that also develop as snow depth increases. All of this will offer skiers better conditions in a more timely manner, and our grooming crews more satisfaction and less struggle.
- Tiller: None of our current grooming machines have the option of a tiller. The BP100, like most snowcats, has a tiller which will allow us to offer more consistent ski conditions. Icy/skied-out conditions can be easily tilled out to create nice conditions without new fresh snow. This would allow us to offer more consistent and better conditions for our skiers. This is the standard for most significant Nordic ski operations. For skate and nordic racing community tiller groomed conditions are very much desired.
- Durability: Grooming is taxing work for any machine. In recent years we have been grooming at higher elevations where we see steeper grades and deeper snow. The Toolcat that we are using now was not designed for this kind of intense work, and it is showing signs of age. If we continue to use the Toolcat at this level, we run the risk of catastrophic failure. A snowcat, on the other hand, is designed and built for this kind of work. New PB100s cost $250,000 new because they are purpose-built for very demanding use. Adding the BP100 to our grooming fleet will help us extend the life of our other grooming equipment and allow us to offer better and more consistent conditions for our skiers.
How do we plan to pay for this machine that is clearly a quantum leap in technology for CHNSA?
CHNSA is planning a major capital campaign to purchase the PB100 and jump start the effort to achieve our vision. We have approached the Northfield Savings Bank and received assurances that our financial situation qualifies us for a $30K loan. Our goal is to fundraise the additional $30Kl, and we need your help!
Thus far we have received commitments from several friends of CHNSA of $XXX.XX in donations. We hope you will consider joining them in making a tax-deductible contribution to Camel’s Hump Skiers Association as we embark on a journey to secure our future.
Click here to make a donation via Paypal
You may also send checks to:
PO Box 43
Huntington, VT 05462