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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today, while attempting to ski pack our singletrack, I couldn't help but wonder why we don't have any means of grooming our riding trails. I'm not sure what this device would be, but it would have to be small and able to maneuver through tight spaces. I'm sure there are some obstacles to overcome. Such as permitting, initial purchase, maintenance and volunteers to actually operate this mystical machinery. I for one, would raise my hand for all of the above. Where would alpine and nordic skiing be today without grooming operations? Why can't we, winter bike enthusiast's evolve the way other winter sports have? There are even groomed snowshoe trails in the lower 48 states! I know there are purists that believe packing it in after every snowfall is all part of it. However, I have yet to encounter these types while snowshoeing, or skiing the trails back in. Only after everything sets up! I hope I don't come across as being to critical. Don't get me wrong, I've opted not to ride several times this winter due to the push-my-bike like conditions. A singletrack groomer could double the available trails for bikes and would be ready to ride in hours after a snowfall, not days.
What does everyone think? Is this something we can do, or am I just frustrated with the 100+ inches of snow so-far this winter?
c
 

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Jesus is coming Look busy
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Sounds like a frustrated fatrider. Sometimes you've got to ski or snowshoe or play chess. Deal!..It's not supposed to be perfect all the time. That why you have to have more than one trick... I love riding, skiing and lots of other things too. Not groomers..... or fee's for the that stuff either. Keep it simple..
 

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I like the varied conditions.You could always tow a small car or motorcycle tire to break things down and smooth them out.
 

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if you have ridden kincaid lately you have seen the quality of trail being produced by the tire dragging. i personally like the width of and the technicality of the trail resulting in dragging the tire. i think if more people volunteered their time snow shoeing and pitching in, it would happen faster. i may be in the minority but i think there is enough groomed trails in this state already. if you want grooming, go ride a groomed trail. i think the personality of the trails would change drastically if they were groomed. for me there is something to be said for a narrow human powered single track meandering through the woods. it's easy to go out for a few hours and loose yourself in the ride. yeah, its hard work and we cant always ride our bikes, but that makes it so much sweeter when we can.
 

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I like the creativity

It was a nice effort ANYRIDE, I think dragging a cinderblock behind snowshoes might do it. That is my engineering capability. The singletracks are so nice when they are ridden in. With so much snow this winter, it has taken some work to keep them that way.
 

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As one of the three main tire daggers out at Kincaid I would say that I would prefer that to a skandic/Tundra width trail. Fat bikers are starting to pitch in. I rode at 8 last night and someone had pulled a truck tire around the inner loop thanks for that. Les Mats has already groomed a lot of the lower STA’s by Raspberry. 2 R14’s roped together is the way to go. Unless you’re a total bad ass and want to pull a truck tire around.
 

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Winter biking in the Anchorage area has it's own interesting dynamic. Not to long ago, there were relatively few into "winter biking" even around here and even less trails available. As the sport evolved, more and more trails became available, both from new construction and from more use causing more trails to be packed and rideable. Just a few years ago, the available singletrack riding gained a big amount of winter trails with the addition of the Hillside STA trails. Just this winter, another batch of STA trails at Kincaid opened up further spreading out the users into an area that had little, if any winter riding. With more trails, there is going to be some reduction of traffic on any one trail/system meaning it will take a bit longer to get packed down. Also, rather than only have a small amount of trails to pack, people are able to choose to ride another area that is already packed instead of going out to help pack a less used trail. When we get new snow, the first thought is to go pack down some trails, but once a few are packed, most grab their bikes and start riding those rather than continuing to pack the other trails. Add to all of this that we are having a record snow year and you get what we are seeing out there, lots of trail that is in marginal or totally unpacked conditions for biking.

As Kincaider said, there are a number of people who have taken up the charge to go above and beyond with the trail maintenance, dragging tires around the singletrack. There are at least three working at at Kincaid and at least one starting to help with the Hillside STA trails.

Personally, I prefer the somewhat narrow singletrack trails, those packed by foot/bike/tire to wider trails like the multi-use ski trails/dog mushing trails, etc... If there was to be some form of mechanical groomer used, it would certainly be at least as wide as a snowmachine, and probably wider, leaving it in the condition similar to what Rover's Run gets like after an extended no-snow period, more like a bike freeway than a singletrack trail.
 

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Seems like snow conditions dictate riding difficulty in the winter. Therefore maybe we could 'groom' certain trails as less advanced trails. Like maybe on the hillside focus on grooming the queen bee loop.

Selfishly, it would be nice to hammer out an hour ride on groomed STA trails when I don't have the time to slog out 2-3 hours on soft trails.
 

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one or two passes with a small narrow snow machine would do it!

I have to admit sometimes I've felt like it would be nice to have a groomer, but most of the time I welcome the change to cross train and get some other activities like skiing or snowshoeing. Sometimes that's involved walking my bike too as was the case on Friday on my way home from work! I've been trying to maintain my own little trails close to work here with snowshoes and all the hard work has made me enjoy all the single track trails that much more! Thanks to all of those that are out there packing it down or dragging tires around.
 

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Anyone that wants to get a killer leg work out, I am meeting AK Greef at the Stadium at Kincaid @ 4ish and we are going to snow shoe/Tire drag the STA’s on the Stadium side. I have 3 sets of tires that I will have out there. I coach skiing from 6:30-8:30 so the tires will be there until 8:45.
 

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Ideal groomer? Maybe a 2WD Rokon motorbike towing tires behind it, it would provide a single track width trail. I think they would be able to negotiate our bike trails fairly well, might take a couple passes before you could drag the tires. If you had the right groomer (and spent the hours it would take to get all the appropriate permits), the possibilities could be endless, lots of single track trails could be put in almost anywhere once there is enough snow cover.

I get the purity of packing trails by foot/dragging tires, but if tire dragging was as much fun as fatbiking it would be it's own sport.
 

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Also a big thanks to the tire draggers and other folks who have taken it upon themselves to help maintain and pack trails!

I agree a snowmachine would be too wide for the singletracks most of us prefer, I don't think anyone wants the STA trails turned into groomers as wide as the Tour of Anchorage or the gasline. If I ever get a Rokon, I'll be sure to test it out.
 

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First, I would like to thank all the riders, skiers and snowshoes that go out and pack the trails in. You do a great job.

I get the purist thing. I know what you all mean by keeping the trails skinny. I myself like the skinny singletrack vs the wider trails.

But some of the trails are skinny enough that many beginner level riders don't enjoy them. They spend most of their time catching themselves and tire easily. Not everyone has hours upon hours to go out and enjoy these sports. Not everyone has a job that allows them to be that physically active when they get off of work either.

I am most definitely not suggesting that all the trails be that wide. There certainly can still be trails that are designated for riders with more skill and fitness. There certainly is a middle ground that would be beneficial to all the riders.
 

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Rad!

As one of the three main tire daggers out at Kincaid I would say that I would prefer that to a skandic/Tundra width trail. Fat bikers are starting to pitch in. I rode at 8 last night and someone had pulled a truck tire around the inner loop thanks for that. Les Mats has already groomed a lot of the lower STA’s by Raspberry. 2 R14’s roped together is the way to go. Unless you’re a total bad ass and want to pull a truck tire around.
You guys are awesome! Glad you have the chutzpa in you and the time.... I try to do my fair share when I have time on the other(side) of town. Mostly use skins and ski and wait for walkers with dogs and snow shoers to finish it out. Then ride the Sheba around a bit. Probalby like alot of folks. If its powder I'm skiing first. When the pow is tracked up and it either gets cold or the R word comes into effect I ride. I always try to commute and take the Trails back home in the evening. So I'll be checking out Srynak's work on Blue dot and the ball fields today....:thumbsup: Elmore this A.M. was interesting to say the least. Glad I ride a fatbike....
 

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Skinny Vs Wide? If people want 8 inches of powder groomed fully ride able in 8-12 hours of a snowfall I am not quite sure what the answer to the problem would be. NSAA still has not groomed the outer areas of the park and I don’t know if you had to rely on them that they could get it done any faster than what we are getting packed now. I am sure the STA’s would be groomed after everything else is done. My neighbor has a skandic and I could bandit it around the trails and pack them out but would not do so as it would be detrimental to the STA cause. I think the trails adapt to the riders. The inner loop gets the crap ridden out of it(speaking only for Kincaid). The more novice riders hit this and venture out farther as the trails improve and widen. I rode Sunday night and it was soft & very frustrating. 1 ½ hrs to ride the inner loop tire packed. I probably would have sold someone a fatback for $5 at one point of that ride. Today that same frustrating section is totally bomber I am sure. I would not say I am a purist, I am selfish, I live right on the trails and I drag tires around because I like riding the STA’s. If someone wants to run a machine around the trails more power to them I will still ride them. It is cost to benefit I figure that the 3+/- days that it takes us to get the trails groomed on snow shoes is worth the killer riding I get for it.
 

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As far as motorized options, I would love to get my hands on one of these to test out some day:
Rokon Scout Motorcycle, Mototractor and Trail Breaker

Dragging tires is pretty hardcore, I'm impressed with you guys. We're a lazy lot over here: We mostly just ride whatever is available via sleds, mushers, snowshoers and walkers. Although I do some snowshoeing myself on certain trails to keep them rideable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ideal groomer? Maybe a 2WD Rokon motorbike towing tires behind it, it would provide a single track width trail. I think they would be able to negotiate our bike trails fairly well, might take a couple passes before you could drag the tires. If you had the right groomer (and spent the hours it would take to get all the appropriate permits), the possibilities could be endless, lots of single track trails could be put in almost anywhere once there is enough snow cover.

I get the purity of packing trails by foot/dragging tires, but if tire dragging was as much fun as fatbiking it would be it's own sport.
The Rokon Trai Breaker looks like it would work really well. Especially for maintaining a nice narrow trail.
 

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ak greeff,

when you go out and drag the tire, how many passes do you make? Do you just drag it once and then let it set, or do you drag over multiple times? Do you drag just one tire or two? Also I'm sure it depends on temperature but typically how long does it take to set up after you dragged over some fresh snow? 1-2 nights?

I've just been snowshoeing my trails I maintain but I'm thinking to trying the tire dragging.
thanks
 
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