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42 Snowmobile VERMONT so we always have a good supply of fresh fuel. We have approximately 34 miles on our system and every year it seems we have to change the trail a bit which of course goes with the territory. I work full-time for a local pharmaceutical company here in St. Albans and so timing is very important when maintaining the trails in the grooming world. I also have a small fleet of construction equipment that I use to build maintain and repair parts of our trail system if needed. I do the basic maintenance on the groomer oil grease minor track and cleat repair. Every other year or so we send out the machine to our dealer Get Sno for a very thorough servicing. This year with the clubs blessing I applied and was fortunate to secure a grant for a new 18-foot drag. I am sure we will give the riders a better ride on our trail system providing we get a decent snow base. I enjoy grooming because it feels good to know that our hard work is enjoyed by many others and it also lets me enjoy the wonders of nature along the way. It seems that deer foxes turkeys and coyotes have no fear of the groomer. Every now and then I have to wait for the critters to get off the trail and I can tell you that they are not always in a hurry. As a groomer its nice to meet fellow snowmobilers who are not from around here and let us know that our trail system is better than a lot of other states. I have to point out that grooming isnt always a walk in the park. One particular time during a blinding snow wind I slipped off the trail by about two feet and ended up into a six to eight foot ditch. Lucky it was in an open field and all I had to do was unhook the drag and the Tucker came right back out on the trail and had to hook back up. Theres been times that Ive been in a snow storm and had to shut the lights off just to see where I was going. In case some of you groomers out there think this is crazy...try it. It really works. There is one particular story that gets circulated around about the night that Brent took the machine out during a heavy storm and got himself turned around. He made a couple of figure eights before he finally got his bearings found the trail and headed in the right direction. The best part of this story is that all of these figure eights were done on his own land that he signed himself. Yeah we pick on him about that and laugh about it. But that just goes to show how blinding and disorienting a snow storm can be. Replacing a broken cleat on the trail can be a pain but that goes with the territory as well. One particular freezing cold night Brent was out the key switch malfunctioned shutting down parts of the electrical system. Instead of being stranded he managed to make it back 15 miles to my place without any heat wipers and minimal lights. From time to time I will bring along a rider if Im out alone and introduce them to the world of grooming. Some people think its easy then realize after the first hour that its either too slow or boring or too intense when youre in the woods. The thing about grooming is that its not a quick drive to the end of the system and back. The groomer has to constantly be aware of his surroundings and is constantly adjusting the drag to meet the conditions of the trail. He has to know the limitations of both the power unit and the drag. There is a feel that has to be learned to know when something is not quite right when to stop and check things out and maybe even turning around and head back home before its too late. Then theres the grooming logbooks and weekly paperwork that has to be filled out and sent in to the VAST office. Some folks who have never groomed before think that when we get the first six inches of snow the groomer should be out there grooming the trails. Depending on the conditions in my opinion this could be the recipe for disaster. If the ground or small waterways are not frozen the trail could be worse off after the groomer passes through rather than wait until more snow and colder weather arrive. This can lead to upsetting the landowner and risk losing sections of trail and in our case shutting us down completely and having to scramble to find a reroute. My advice to anyone out there is to be respectful to our landowners our groomers and other snowmobilers. Basically in a nutshell respect all the people we meet because you never know who may have a hand in keeping our snowmobile trail system in this state open. 8Brent Brigham and Ral Cyr share the responsibility of operating Franklin County Snow Raiders Tucker 2000 Sno-Cat. Whos in the Groomer