When the lifts close and the slopes are cleared, the runs that hosted so many of us earlier that day undergo a pretty big transformation - thanks to the groomers who work their magic right through the night. While we’re tucked up in bed dreaming of the next day’s riding the groomers are taking anything from moguls to chopped powder and turning it into perfectly smooth runs covered with fresh corduroy.
I headed out with a groomer in a snow cat last week to see what this imperative job entails. As darkness set in I met with Sarah a groomer here at Sun Peaks and we climbed into the huge machine. I couldn’t believe how comfortable and luxurious it was inside – although when I found out they carry a hefty price tag of around $350,000 I guess it’s no real surprise!
We made our way up the Sundance ski run and then came back down Sun Downer. This would be the loop that Sarah would follow until both runs were entirely groomed. Sarah explained how she has to be quite meticulous, ensuring that the corduroy lined up and that the tracks were straight. She said that depending on which runs she was assigned to she would usually groom 4 or 5 in an 8 hour shift. Interestingly, it may take nearly half of a groomers shift to tend to a run like Static Cling or Headwalls as they require use of a cable winch system which is attached to trees at the top of the run. I can’t even imagine how scary grooming those runs must be!
It was pretty amazing to be out on the slopes at night and to be a part of something so essential to our daily ski experience. One thing’s for sure - I definitely have a new appreciation for skiing down a freshly groomed run! For more information on Cat Trax Groomer Rides click here.
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