Seeley Swan Pathfinder
February 12, 1998
You may have noticed a sleek, brand new Bombardier BR180 trail groomer plowing the trails on Rice Ridge or Elsina or Lake Marshall this year.
The new groomer, delivered just before Winterfest last month, is doing the job better with cost, according to Conrad Rowe, groomer chairman for the Driftrider Snowmobile Club.
"It runs faster," Rowe said, allowing the operators to groom more quickly, saving on labor costs. Fuel costs are about the same.
The BR180, made by the Bombardier Company that also makes the Ski-Doo snowmobiles, is a little smaller than the old "Piston Bully" that was traded in for it, but the smaller blade and track makes a better fit for the trails around here.
The blade has wings which can be folded back, and a rear bar can be manipulated with pressure, rather than just a floating bar like on the old machine.
Valued at around $90,000, the new groomer will last several years. The old one was a used machine the club acquired in 1988 and it has lasted nine years.
The Montana State Snowmobile Association decides which clubs get groomers, and this year only the Seeley Lake club and one in Bozeman received groomers.
The grooming program is funded threough the Fish, Wildlife & Parks Department with funds received from a portion of the gasoline tax and snowmobile registration fees.
Tom Scollick is the head operator of the groomer and is assisted by apprentice operators Rowe and Mike Lindemer.