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Winter 2016 41 Whos in the Groomer in the development of the very first Orleans County Snowmobile Trails Map and helped the County earn the current reputation as a top snowmobile destination. As we made our way down the east side of Lowell Mountain the lights from the village of Albany began to peek through the trees. I miss stopping at the Albany Village Store. I used to grab some food there. When asked about his favorite grooming snack because we know that every operator has hisher favorite snack and usually has to eat dinner on the go he replied with Water. I usually dont eat much. I keep pretty busy so I dont think about food that often. His sentence was interrupted by the distraction of headlights coming through the woods. Milos work of art that he had been constructing all evening was about to be torn up by a couple of night riders. I dont mind snowmobilers riding on my fresh groomed trail I just wish they would have some respect and not spin up the corners. The best thing that snowmobilers can do when they meet a groomer is slow down pull over and wait for directions from the operator. A quick stretch break was in order as we pulled into Bobs Quick Stop in Irasburg. Now on hour four of the shift Milo was still running strong even after putting in a full day at his regular job. We got to do what we got to do to keep the trails smooth for our members After a quick chat with the store clerk who was happy to see us we headed back West over the mountain. Milo recalled the time he was stranded on Trail 100 in Albany when the machine broke down. It was -28 degrees and he had no cell phone service. Luckily I was able to catch Ron Merrill from Country Riders on the radio and he sent me help. There we were on the trail in the middle of the night fixing one of the injectors. Milo laughed about the incident and chalked it up to just another day on the job. Six long hours later we were pulling back into Lowell and had reached the end of his shift. If I had any advice for new groomer operators it would be this God gave you two eyes two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion. Listen and learn from those who have been there and broke that. The most important thing is that your heart has to be into it he said as he climbed out of the groomer. One couldnt help but notice that Milos heart is indeed into the sport of snowmobiling. As one of the states many volunteer groomer operators Milo is part of an integral team dedicated to help the sport succeed to be around for generations to come. Time to go home and get some sleep and do it all again tomorrow he said with a chuckle. Thank you Milo for all that you do for your club the county and VAST as a whole. Your dedication does not go unnoticed. Ral Cyr Brent Brigham Franklin Country Snow Raiders by Ral Cyr Up in the Northwestern part of the state lies a club that may be one of the oldest in the county. The Franklin County Snow Raiders Snowmobile Club was established in the late 60s. It has seen many members of which it has only one of the original lifetime members left our current treasurer Ken Stockwell. The club had little to no grooming of their trails and was contracted out until the last 10 years. At this time the club felt it was in fairly good shape to purchase their first used groomer. Due to not having any credit with the banks and with the help of members Ral Cyr and Brent Brigham they signed for the loan and the club had its first and current Tucker 2000 Sno-Cat power unit with a 16-foot AFMI drag. The clubs primary groomers are Ral Brent but from time to time had a couple other members available to help out Bob Cadieux and Kevin Badger. Ral is currently the County Trails Coordinator the clubs Trailmaster and grooming manager and is responsible for maintenance on the equipment. Here is his story and experience. Ral We started grooming the year we first purchased the machine ten years ago. I say we because although Ive been the Trailmaster and grooming manager for the last 10 years Brent has been an integral part of the grooming operations as much as I have. He is also a former County Trails Coordinator Trailmaster and is currently our club President. We share responsibilities for the most part and if there is anyone who can make himself available at a moments notice Brent is the the man that I can count on most of the time. We always do the first maiden voyage of the season together in the event of last minute fallen trees and unexpected discoveries. The last couple of years have been brutal as it seems the day before we decided to go out when we finally did have enough snow thered be a wind storm or heavy wet snow. We spent a lot more time cutting branches and trees off the trail. All in all when I think we have a good system worked out after the maiden voyage we split the grooming between us. For instance I may groom the St. Albans and Bay area and head towards Fletcher. Brent will meet me on the way so he and his daughter Elena would take over and finish up the system. Sometimes the opposite happens where Bent and Elena would start off the day and I would meet them and finish. Personally I prefer to groom during the very early morning hours and be back by mid to late morning. I find it gives the trail more time to set up verses grooming at night and having the sleds come up behind you and tear up what you just laid down. It also helps my wife Alicia to not worry as much knowing were grooming in the daylight and not into the wee hours of the morning. This gives us time to ride our own sleds and enjoy our county and neighboring trail system. Whatever time we go out to groom our target is to try to do our complete trail system. We have a midpoint fueling station that is convenient