2008 - Volume #32, Issue #2, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Cross Country Ski Groomer"
Vande Hey uses his 1959 Ford tractor to pull a box-type grader blade, which is set at a slight angle so that snow slides off to the side. When downpressure is applied to the blade, the skis - which are attached to a wooden frame that's bolted onto the blade - leave deep parallel tracks to follow while cross country skiing.
He cut down a pair of old downshill skis and fastened the front halves to the wooden frame, which clamps onto diagonal metal braces already on both sides of the grader blade. The skis are set about 8 in. apart and are positioned about 3 in. below the blade.
The wood frame holds the skis rigid from side to side and also from front to back. Two screws go up through the bottom of each ski and into the wood braces.
"I built it last year and have used it to make about one mile's worth of track," says Vande Hey. "I used a rotary finish mower to cut my hay field in the fall so it wouldn't cause the skis to drag. The groomer does a nice job on flat ground and does a good job on gradual turns. It doesn't work quite as good on hilly land because the skis are too rigid to follow the ground contour. The skis tend to skid out when making a sharp turn. I might shorten the skis a little more to solve the problem.
"I usually let the blade float with the tractor hydraulics. I don't think I'd have any trouble going through snow that's 18 to 20 inches deep. However, if the snow ever gets too deep I could raise the blade so it's not pushing too deep into the snow."
Vande Hey used downhill skis because he wanted tracks just a little wider than his cross country skis. "That way my skis and boots won't rub the sides of the tracks," he notes.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Arthur Vande Hey, 797 Holland Rd., Kaukauna, Wis. 54130 (ph 920 989-1354).
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