February 2012 Newsletter

February 2012 Newsletter

2013 Sneak Peek Snowmobile Show

Come and join us on April 9, 2012 at the Red River Exhibition Park from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm to see the great lineup of 2013 snowmobiles.

Last year's event was a huge success with over 2500 snowmobilers in attendance. Also, come and see us at the Snoman booth.

Headingley Sport Shop

Wow! Mother Nature sure has thrown us all a curve ball this year! On the dealership floor or at the local coffee shop, we've all spent countless hours lamenting about the poor snow conditions. We scowl at the friendly grocery store clerk who announces "Isn't this weather great?"

Southern Manitoba snowmobile dealers feel your pain. You might own one or possibly two sleds. Imagine owning 40 or more! So what does poor snow mean to us the dealer? It means, aggressive pricing, cancelling unnecessary spending, maybe laying off some good people, planning for a better summer and early snow next year.

What should it mean to you? Anyone who plays the odds or dabbles in the stock market knows you should buy when prices are low. This would be the time to take advantage of some of the lowest prices we've seen in a decade as we work at clearing some of the best performing models ever. Need a new jacket? How about a new pair of snow pants or boots? We've got great discounts on winter wear, plus Polaris is offering an additional $50 off a 2 piece suit when you bring in the website coupon and donate an old jacket and pants to charity, until Feb 29.

To Snoman and all the volunteers in the clubs across Manitoba, who take the time to help make and maintain trails, on behalf of all dealers we say THANKS! By the way, there are some areas that do have good snow, so check out the trails on the Snoman website, plan a trip and enjoy!

Mark your calendar for the 2013 Sneak Peek Show at the Red River Exhibition Park, Monday, April 9th (Easter weekend) from 10 am to 9 pm.

Improve snowmobile trail quality: Close your eyes when grooming!

Adrienne Gamble, the sales rep for The Shop Industrial, came and visited the Snoman office on February 13 to answer any questions the Snoman board had.

Well, not when you are actually grooming but close your eyes and imagine you are grooming. Imagine it is 1:28 AM, -25C, no snowmobilers, good snow on the trail but the trail is rough from the poker run traffic over the weekend, you are moving along at the perfect grooming speed 10 to 13 KPH (6 to 8 MPH), the cat was recently melted down, cleaned and serviced and is running like a charm.

OK, now pay careful attention to what your drag is doing. Watch in imaginary slow motion as your cat pulls the drag along for the next 20 feet or so. See how the snow is rising and falling off the face of the front blades as they meet the moguls on the rough trail first? See how those front blades are moving the snow towards the center of the drag? See how the next pair of blades is taking a little bigger bite out of the moguls, rolling the snow forward, making the snow tumble like a breaking wave as it guided towards the outside of the drag? See how the third pair of blades works the snow in the same rolling, tumbling way but now directing the snow back again to the inside of the drag? Now watch as the fourth pair of blades does its job, cutting its part of the moguls moving the snow towards the outside again. There is not much left of the moguls. They are almost cut completely away. Can you see that? Can you see the last two blades on the outside of the drag and that V-shaped blade in the middle cutting the last little bump off those moguls while they continue to roll, tumble and guide the snow? The moguls are completely gone. In about 16 feet that your drag has been pulled along the trail the moguls have been completely cut away, right down to the hard trail base, but not even a fraction of an inch into that nice hard trail base that has been building up over the season. Can you see that? Can you see all that snow which in 16 feet has been cut, rolled and tumbled and shifted back and forth from left to right now in the hopper of the packing pan, spread evenly across the width of the pan? Can you see that snow now being squeezed under the pan as the drag moves forward, the pan packing it firmly into a perfectly flat, smooth layer that appears out of the back of the pan on top of that hard trail base? Now look at the trail behind the drag. Look at what happened in just 20 feet and what will happen for each 20 feet of the many kilometres that you will be grooming tonight. You are creating a trail that is absolutely flawless! After a few hours of no traffic set up at -25C that trail you made is going to make a lot of snowmobilers grin from ear to ear! Job well done!

OK, wake up, open your eyes. The drag you imagined working for you is a new late model Mogul Master but the basic concept in the scene above can be applied to other models and other drags as well. What happened in the 20 feet of drag movement that you imagined is exactly what your drag should be doing and is exactly what a good quality drag is capable of doing. I will take a stab here and estimate that 80% of the drags being pulled by snowmobile trail groomer operators in North America can't achieve the perfection described in the dream above. And I don't mean just because those drags aren't new Mogul Masters. We need to change this.

Many snowmobile clubs perform the required maintenance on their tracked vehicles very well but for whatever reason they don't even think about maintaining their drag. In the dream scenario described above, what created that perfect trail? Was it the towing vehicle? No, it was the drag. The towing vehicle pulled the drag of course but it was the drag that did all the right things to that rough trail to "process" the snow to that perfect finish. And you must have that drag do everything described in the dream so the trail is not only flat and smooth to the enjoyment of your riders, but so that the trail stays flat and smooth as long as possible to the enjoyment of the club treasurer who pays the fuel, maintenance and operator's costs. The longer your trail lasts the less you will have to groom it and the less money it will cost your club.

Many veteran operators may remember a time when their drag was new that it did a job such as described in the dream, but over the past few seasons it is just not the same drag it once was. You just can't get the snow to work in the drag like it used to. The reason is actually very simple. 80% of the drags in use are out of adjustment. Specifically, the blades are out of adjustment. Think about this: In order for the blades of a drag to do one of the most critical jobs required for proper processing of the snow on a trail, that is cutting moguls completely away, the blades must be able to reach those moguls. Virtually all drags built have side rails. They are those long steel rectangular tubes that run the length of the drag on the right and left bottom sides of the drag. The cutting edges of the blades must be below the bottom of the side rails. If the cutting edges of the blades are higher than the bottom of the side rails, the side rails will ride on the tops of the moguls and the blades can't get down to cut properly. You may think everything is OK because there is still snow flowing through the drag. You just have to drop it a bit lower than usual and the trail behind the drag looks flat and smooth. Everything is working like it should right? Far from it! The flat smooth layer of snow that is flowing from under the packing pan has not been squeezed onto a flat hard trail base. It has been squeezed onto a hard bumpy trail base because the blades could not get down to cut all of the moguls away. When you can't cut the moguls completely away what you are doing is cutting the top off one mogul and dropping it into the valley of the next mogul and on and on. Even though the trail looks smooth and flat the snowmobile traffic riding over this pattern of hard and soft and hard and soft will cause the trail to become a complete mess of moguls in no time at all.

Adjust your blades. Do it now and do it at the start of every season from now on. You may have to replace worn blades, cut and re-weld bent components or do other repairs to your drag to get the blades to the factory setting. But your trail quality and how long your trail lasts absolutely depend on it. And for those clubs who have replaced the wear strips under the side rails of the drag with thicker material, oops! What you thought was a good thing because thicker is better, just significantly reduced the ability of your blades to reach the moguls!

For Mogul Master blade adjustment procedures refer to your Operator's Manual that came with your drag. A copy of the complete manual or just the adjustment procedure can be downloaded from our website www.theshopindustrial.com.

Ride With Us!

Paul Fast, Branch Manager at the Garden City location, helped develop One Insurance's unique ORV program that is designed to keep you protected as you ride over Manitoba's beautiful trails.

"A Manitoba winter is a beautiful thing to behold."

This statement is likely lost on a first time visitor but once they've experienced our winter while riding a sled, they'll realize what most of us already know; hitting the trails is always a memorable and exhilarating experience, especially when you have the right equipment.

Your snowmobile is not just a vehicle. In fact, for many us it defines our winters. Here at One Insurance we offer an insurance product for everyone who enjoys winter in Manitoba as much as we do. Our program sets out to acknowledge and reward safe, mature riders by providing discounts all while offering coverage you won't find anywhere else. Buying a brand new sled is an exciting time and only our program can offer peace of mind that protects your investment with Guaranteed Replacement Cost.

The staff at One Insurance would like to wish you a fun and safe sledding season.

For more information on our ORV program drop by any of our 11 branches or apply online at oneinsurancegroup.ca. You can also call us toll free at 1-877-940-5572 or email us at orv@oneinsurancegroup.ca

50th Anniversary of the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships

The Snoman member clubs and Board of Directors would like to congratulate all of the past and present volunteers, sponsors and Board of Directors of the Canadian Power Toboggan Championships on their 50th Anniversary. Their dedication, vision and hard work has certainly benefited the snowmobilers within Manitoba.

The upcoming 50TH ANNIVERSARY of the CANADIAN POWER TOBOGGAN CHAMPIONSHIPS is being held MARCH 3 & 4, 2012. It's been half a century and we want to kick off the weekend by kicking up our heels and celebrating our Golden Anniverary at a Gala Banquet being held Friday, March 2, 2012 at the Brokenhead River Recreational Facility. Cocktails at 6:00, Dinner at 7:00. Tickets are $40 per person. Dress: Semi-formal. Banquet tickets are available for purchase at Sobetski Enterprises in Beausejour or can be ordered by e-mailing us at cptcracing@mymts.net, or by leaving a message at (204) 268-2049. Tables accommodating 8 people (but no more than 10) may be reserved in advance.

Snoman Website Update

The new Snoman website has been a huge hit, and as a result we have received countless ideas from our users on how we could improve functionality. One such idea was to provide a "text only" version of our Trail Conditions for Mobile or Dial-up users. What a great idea! As a result, we now have "text only" versions of our Trail Conditions without the large Google Maps. To view these, simply click the "text only" icon listed to the right of each club on the regional listings pages.

We would like to thank all our users for the wonderful ideas. Keep them coming!