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30 Snowmobile VERMONT Whos In The Groomer Artie Mattison Green Mountian Trail Blazers by Patty Companik Its been only three years since Artie Mattison began his grooming career with the Green Mountain Trail Blazers. Artie has been the owner of an excavating company Old Depot Construction since 1988. He was awarded a contract after Tropical Storm Irene for work on the Lake Brook Trail. While doing his excavating work he started talking with folks about grooming and the next thing you know Artie volunteered to help out. Artie likes all of his toys snowmobile ATV boat and driving the groomer. He had several of his toys out for me to see during our interview. He also has a place by Lake Seymour in Morgan where he does his boating. His father used to sell Homelite Chainsaws and Homelite came out with a line of snowmobiles in the late 60s. I did a little research on Homelite. In 1969 Homelite built three models of snowmobiles The Ranger with a 10HP Husquvarna engine and a 12-inch track The Forester with an 18HP JLO engine with a 15 12 inch track and The Explorer with a 23HP JLO engine with an 18-inch track. The advertisement said 3 new smooth speedy sassy ones for 69. Nothing else comes close to the exhilarating fun of snowmobiling. The models and makers may have changed over the years but I think we would all agree that nothing else comes close. Artie began riding in the 70s. His dad told him if you want to ride you need to earn money and buy your own sled and he did just that Arties ride of choice is a Yamaha. He used to ride with his brother Bruce. He has two children Travis and Rosie. Travis the next generation enjoys riding as well. Artie was born and raised in Arlington Vermont and currently lives in Shaftsbury. The club grooms with a 2006 PistenBully. There were a lot of repairs done to the machine this year tracks bearings suspension back window lights brush guard etc. Artie is a natural at this type of thing. Owning working with and repairing large equipment for his business the groomer was just one more machine to work on. I was able to go on a short ride with him on the property that the groomer is parked on. There is a radio in the groomer which is connected to the Woodford SnoBusters. They really dont have good cell service on their trails so if they get into trouble they will radio the SnoBusters who will relay the message and get them help. The main trails that the club grooms are 7 7A 7F1 7F2 7F3 and 7F4 most of which resides in the National Forest. A total of 26 Class 4 miles and 48 Class 1 miles for a total 74 miles is the responsibility of the Green Mountain Trail Blazers from the Bennington County. Last year there were five or six people who helped with grooming and with 74 miles to groom they are always very busy. Artie likes grooming during the day because it gives him the opportunity to stop and talk with the riders. He has club stickers in the groomer which he hands out. Most riders really like when he stops and talks with them. Many know about grooming but few actually get to see the machine in action. I asked Artie if he has anyone ride with him. He said that most people dont want to ride with a groomer after they hear they will be in the groomer for eight to ten hours going about five to eight miles per hour. The cool thing about going that speed is you see everything. He sees all kinds of wildlife on the trails but has not seen a moose yet. He has seen tracks or hair in the snow where they were resting but he is pretty sure the sound of the machine gets them moving and out of sight long before he gets to them. He also gets to see where riders have gone off the trail. In some cases he wonders how they ever got out of the mess they were in Artie grooms because it is fun. He truly enjoys the entire experience. Artie Mattison shows off his arsenal of toys Patty Companik photo