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32 Snowmobile VERMONT Dana Nason grew up in Jefferson New Hampshire and like so many had a fascination for snowmobiling. You become quite popular when you own the third snowmobile in town he says. The year was 1966 and the snowmobile industry was starting to buzz. Years went by and he moved to Lunenburg Vermont in 2003. His desire to groom snowmobile trails did not take long to pan out. He joined the Lunenburg Polar Bears Snowmobile Club and immediately started smoothing out the trails with the clubs Yamaha VK540 and homemade drag. He knew that keeping the trails smooth has always been a priority since the club formed in 1966. Six years ago the club acquired a used Class I grooming machine. He was a natural in the cockpit and not only mastered the operation of the big rig but also gained valuable experience repairing frequent equipment failures. In 2012 the club purchased a new PistenBully 400 and Master Mogul drag which are in use today. Recent modifications included traction adjuncts and a custom- made hydraulic brush cutter. Additionally two Ski-Doo Skandic fan-cooled utility machines were added to drag the Class IV trails. Now with a fleet of three machines Dana leads a team of six operators. He is the Club Trailmaster and everyone knows it. He works weekends as a security guard at Littleton Regional Hospital in New Hampshire. But Monday through Friday during the Fall and Winter his fullpart-time volunteer job is to tackle trail repairs and reroutes manage the grooming assignments install signage schedule contractor repairs sustain landowner agreements attend meetings monitor TMA sales and monitor club finances as Treasurer. During his free time he grooms snowmobile trails. Each season he logs over 1000 miles which is the equivalent of driving to Florida. Theres no rush. He and his wife Sally often head south anyway when the season is over. But during the snow season she often finds him in the garage. It resembles a fully-stocked snowmobile club warehouse. Hes likely out in the yard doing inventory on Dana Nason Lunenburg Polar Bears by Mike Mutascio signs or perhaps securing equipment and lumber for the days trail project. His pickup truck resembles a mobile repair shop and logs as many miles as the grooming fleet. It is packed with every widget and tool necessary for rapid repairs sign installation and bridge rehab. If more parts are needed the Lunenburg Variety Store serves as the drop-off point for deliveries. While he piles up hours keeping the fleet in working order many are amazed at his uncanny resistance to sub-zero temperatures. The clubs equipment is not sheltered nor is Dana. He is often seen laying in pink snow replacing leaky hydraulic hoses during a driving snowstorm with temperatures 20 below zero. An hour later the machine is back on the trail laying down some winter magic for VAST snowmobilers. The Polar Bears trail system is unique and Dana is up to the challenge. There are huge variations in terrain and elevation that require considerable skill. The split-lane Lunenburg Pipeline is just one example with steep hills weedy bogs and finicky water bars. Like many he prefers grooming at night due to lower traffic visibility and trail setup following a pass. When grooming during the day you do not get the benefit of warning lights. And watch out for those moose says Dana. They are very active in the Northeast Kingdom. Once we make a pass with the drag the moose are the first to try out the new trail. On occasion they are guilty of knocking down signs and stakes. For any operator there is an inherent fear of breakdowns on the trail. Dana says You have to be prepared for anything day or night in any kind of weather. Its prudent to have communication equipment and a club plan. A guest is always welcome when he heads out with the PistenBully. Its an opportunity for members to learn about the equipment operation and techniques of grooming. Help is especially welcome when the brush cutter on the drag needs a thorough cleaning. Early in the season it often resembles a giant porcupine. His favorite part about grooming is the challenge of Whos in the Groomer Dana Nason with the clubs PistenBully 400. Mike Mutascio photos