Yel­low­stone Track Sys­tems Changes Hands

SkiTrax - - News -

You know the phrase “Pure as the driven snow”? Well, a prop­erly groomed cross-coun­try trail is ex­actly that. Groom­ing for skate and Clas­sic tech­nique is some­where be­tween craft and art.

To do the best job, you have to be in­ti­mately fa­mil­iar with the ter­rain, ve­hi­cle and im­ple­ments, and eval­u­ate snow con­di­tions, which can change from mo­ment to mo­ment and spot to spot. You need to know when to groom and when not to groom.

Ideally, the re­sult is fresh, clean lines of com­pressed snow that buoy up your skis and don’t let your poles sink. It’s al­most (al­most!) too beau­ti­ful to mar by ski­ing.

To cre­ate this, driv­ers need equip­ment that can at the right times, blade, gather, chop, slice, dice, push, pack, smooth, lov­ingly pat into place . . . .

Well, if you ski groomed trails in North Amer­ica, chances are pretty good that you’ve been skat­ing or strid­ing on sur­faces cre­ated by Yel­low­stone Track Sys­tems (YTS). For Elite skiers, the same holds true for the past five win­ter Olympics around the world. YTS is a lead­ing source for track­set­ters and snow ren­o­va­tors in North Amer­ica.

In the trade, re­fer­ring to its ever-evolv­ing “Ginzu­groomer” (a snow ren­o­va­tor for use with snow­mo­biles or snow­cats, with a track-set­ting op­tion) is some­times sim­i­lar to say­ing “Xerox” when re­fer­ring to “pho­to­copiers.” YTS also man­u­fac­tures rollers, com­pactors, front ren­o­va­tors, snow combs, pretty much all of the cross-coun­try groom­ing im­ple­ments ex­cept for front blades and power tillers. And yes, it has com­paction drags for fat­bike trails.

Af­ter al­most 35 years in the busi­ness, YTS founder Doug Edger­ton, who all this time has groomed and tested equip­ment at the fa­mous Ren­dezvous Trails in West Yel­low­stone, Mont., has sold his brain­child to David and He­len Haile. They live near Sheri­dan, Wyo., which, in turn, bor­ders on the Bighorn Moun­tains, where the equip­ment will be tested.

So what in­spired Haile, known in his fam­ily as “Mr. Spread­sheet,” to switch pro­fes­sions af­ter 34 years as an elec­tri­cal engi­neer? In part it was monotony, as Haile was “scram­bling to get away from a desk.” They also both love the sport and skiers (He­len says their cus­tomers are “like hav­ing hun­dreds of pen pals”), so they’ll have a lot of peo­ple con­tact.

There will likely not be many new YTS prod­ucts right away. The Hailes are con­cen­trat­ing on stream­lin­ing the busi­ness, mak­ing or­der­ing eas­ier, as well as ac­cel­er­at­ing fab­ri­ca­tion and ful­fill­ment. Changes in the near fu­ture may in­clude more con­cen­tra­tion on fat­bik­ing groom­ing, while the Jumbo Roller is al­ready be­ing sup­planted by an elec­tric roller/com­pactor for bet­ter per­for­mance, es­pe­cially in wet, sticky con­di­tions.

And if you ski West Yel­low­stone, Edger­ton will prob­a­bly still be groom­ing, us­ing YTS equip­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.yel­low­stone­ – Jonathan Wiesel

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