PistenBully 100 Project
The PistenBully 100
The first grooming machine at CHNSA was a State Police snowmobile purchased used for $500 at auction in 1979. It didn’t float well in the snow, and traction was miserable in deep snow. We graduated to working machines featuring tracks with larger surface area and better traction. Grooming for many years was done with two snowmobiles, rollers, and 4-6’ “Tidd Tech” drags. However, trail expansion and an aging volunteer grooming crew (yours truly) 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 and collaborator, Nils Smith, but its limits and reliability have been called in to question as it ages, tackles more challenging conditions, and requires more frequent maintenance and repairs.
After a discussion of needs, a majority vote of the CHNSA Board determined that the first priority should be to lock in our grooming capability for the long term. The opportunity presented itself when a state-of-the-art grooming machine came on the market this spring. The used machine (PB100 snowcat) is available through a non-profit, xc organization associated with Mont Tremblant, north of Montreal. We have had it thoroughly inspected by an authorized dealer mechanic, with a determination that it is in excellent condition, and the asking price of $60,000 is about two-thirds of its blue book (fair market) value of ~$90K. It is a machine that is designed for hard work over the long haul and would ideally serve the professional grooming needs of CHNSA for many years to come.
The four primary benefits of the PB100 over the “Toolcat” and our snowmobiles are:
- It has wider tracks for better flotation and traction in deep, higher elevation snow that we’re now accessing with our newer trails.
- It is made to handle and push around deep snow with its 12-way plow/blade to shape the trails
- It is a little wider than the Toolcat so it can complete the grooming chores more quickly and efficiently with a single pass, which will be a real plus as we construct new trails
- Perhaps most importantly, the PB100 has a tiller, unlike less sophisticated machines, that can convert the crust from a thaw/freeze situation to a very skiable, loose granular surface.
CHNSA is launching a major capital campaign to assist in the purchase the PB100 and jump start the effort to achieve our vision. The Northfield Savings Bank has signed off on a 7-yr loan for 75% of the purchase price, and, as of last Saturday, we have taken delivery of the groomer. Our goal is to fundraise to cover a majority of the purchase. Toward that end, we are elevating our profile on social media with our Instagram account, and a more active Facebook page designed to encourage tax deductible donations to CHNSA through a dedicated PayPal DONATIONS page.
Additionally, plans are in the works for the 1st Annual Camel’s Hump Nordic Music Festival, “Under the Hump”, scheduled for Labor Day weekend. We hope this will become an annual event that fosters lots of community spirit in the tradition of Valley Stage concerts AND provide a major annual source of funding to help implement our vision for CHNSA.
Thus far we have received, from several friends of CHNSA, contributions of $17K in the form of “bridge loans” toward the funding and acquisition of the Pisten Bully. We’d like to raise $30K to pay down the groomer loan as quickly as possible. Please consider joining them in making a tax-deductible donation to Camel’s Hump Skiers Association as we embark on a journey to secure our future.
- Base Elevation (1500’) Donor: < $100
- Cobble Hill (elev. 1800’) Donor: $100 - $499
- Bert’s Crown (elev. 2200’) Donor: $500 - $999
- Crow Hill (elev. 2500’) Donor: $1000 - $2499
- Bald Hill (elev. 3000’) Donor: $2500 - $4999
- Camel’s Hump (elev. 4083’) Donor: > $5000+
You may also send checks to:
PO Box 43
Huntington, VT 05462