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Winter 2016 35 grooming vehicles and groomer operators. Daves job as a lineman kept him very busy but he made the time to assist others using a Thoikol groomer and later an older model used Tucker. He was Trailmaster on and off beginning in the late 1980s. He says he spent more time grooming back then when we were getting heavier snow. He retired in 2007 from the electric company and has been keeping the trails tidy ever since doing such a fantastic job that he won the VAST Groomer of the Year award in 2011. After the clubs old Tucker finally blew up in 2000 they went on the hunt for another groomer and located a dealer in New Hampshire. The dealer had two ASV Track Trucks 1990 1991 models that were traded in by the Scrub Oak Scramblers of New Hampshire. Dave thought theyd be able to go down and check them out and choose one. However the salesman had a different deal for them Buy one get one free It was take them both or not all for a total of 10000. This was during a low membership time and finances were tight. Dave and his wife Rachael generously loaned 6500 with no interest toward the purchase in addition to 1000 loaned by Bill Mitzi Oakes. The balance was made up by the clubs savings and a trade-in allowance from their old Tucker. Now with two groomers the club is able to set a designated route for each and a schedule that consistently keeps their section of VAST trails in excellent riding condition. One truck is located on the south end of town and grooms 33 miles up to Route 2. The other truck grooms 29 miles beginning at the McFaddens residence. It does two separate loops meeting up to Route 2 where the other groomer had turned around. This year Sno Springers club member Darcy Couture is willing to groom the southern end but his full-time job will limit his available hours. Rachael who is also the club secretary often rides along on Daves grooming runs and has operated the Track Trucks a time or two. Newly retired after 37 years in the insurance industry she now has some free time and expressed interest in helping with the southern route. She certainly has the confidence and guts to do it. It doesnt seem like its going to be too hard she says. Theres only two levers Vermont natives Rachael and Dave met in the late 60s while living on the same street in Alburgh. Once they started dating it wasnt long before she was out riding one of Daves sleds. It did not take much convincing for her to join the Sno Springers and get her own sled soon after a 1970 Bombardier. They would often ride in Norton with Daves good friend Mark Ellingwood and his wife Rena. Mark groomed trails for the Brighton Snowmobile Club and he was the inspiration for Dave to try his hand at it and get more involved with trail maintenance in all seasons. When asked about the challenges of grooming Dave said he wished riders would not spin their tracks excessively on the trails when taking off. This is the snowmobile equivalent to smoking your tires in a car or on a motorcycle and really isnt as cool and impressive as the culprits think it is. Dave says the fast starts can damage a sleds mechanics over time and also create a pile of snow that builds up behind the track. When frozen into a hump it makes grooming difficult not to mention causing a rough ride and a potential hazard for other sledders. Dave is particularly proud of his role in helping expand and preserve the Alburgh trails. His close connections and good relationships with landowners as well as his work ethic are important aspects of this accomplishment. While keeping landowners happy is always a top priority for all clubs in Alburgh is it absolutely vital. With the high concentration of wetland terrain and the peninsula geography of Alburgh trail location options are hard to come by and this makes rerouting nearly impossible. Whenever there is an issue with bad behavior on the trails it is Dave who fields unhappy landowners calls smoothes things over and addresses the issue with the perpetrators. He is respected for his honest straightforward personality so his firm yet fair warnings are usually heeded. Last summer Dave was instrumental in working with the club to cut a bypass trail that allows them to ride through a wooded area instead of a short section that was previously traveled on the road. Club members also mapped out and cleared a new trail connection to an additional gas station. Dave is not one to give up on anything and will do whatever it takes to get the job done as was evidenced by an event last fall. While opening the Alburg Recreational Rail Trail to prepare for groomer access they had to move six 2500-lb. concrete blocks out of the trailhead. With no heavy machinery available at the time Dave suggested that he and Dave Ladd move them with a come-along. Read about how it worked out in the Alburg Sno Springers club news on page 53 this issue. Left Dave proudly displays his Groomer of the Year award in his den at home. His wife Rachael will be helping groom trails this year. Beth Godin photo Above One of the Sno Springers Track Trucks can be seen most years in Alburghs 4th of July parade. Dave Ladd photo