When you need a trail in the snow, the first thing you think of is that I can build a piece of equipment to do that. DIY Snow groomer versus proven Snow groomers is the question here. (There are lots of these on youtube you can view. Let’s call these homegrown or DIY groomers.) People have made their own large rectangle drags that actually do remove snow and that can knock down moguls. We did this same thing a long time ago. Even used an old truck hood to make our trails better.
Tested is better.
Here is what happened when we did these with aa DIY snow groomer. It never packed the snow level. Never left corduroy. It often pushed the snow we wanted off the trail. When using the highly designed and tested groomers and snowblasters you really do get a level trail with packed snow that can actually be the depth you want. The designed groomers can cut off the high spots and drifts, leaving a level, perfectly groomed corduroy. This is a totally different game than any of the home made ones we used years ago or have seen on youtube. Getting a product that is designed to do the job correctly just makes a big difference in the final result.
Some of the key things that are designed into the snowgroomers product include: Blades that cut up hard snow or cut through drifts and cut down ruts. Packing mechanism to pack the snow. Track layers that are for cross-country skiers, corduroy laying out the back end. Wings that knock back the sides so the snow does not fall back into your trail.
Homegrown groomers often have other major issues.
Here are the ones we have heard about or had ourselves before getting exact design tools.
#1. It costs a lot more to pull a big homegrown leveler. You often require a much larger machine to actually pull them. Larger machines just take more fuel.
#2. There are very few homegrown levelers that have any cutting mechanism. They just drag the tops of moguls and very seldom do any packing.
#3. How you pull them can be an issue. They can be heavy and hard to get exactly the width you need.How you hook them up is very seldom a nice bar to have it the exact distance to make it easy to pull. Often it is chained to the back of a machine.
#4. Very few have any way to adjust how deep to cut snow or loosen it up. Different kinds of snow needs different depths cut.
Think Safety when grooming
#5.Homegrown groomers can cause things to break when hitting rocks or trees. I have not seen any who have breakaway pins or anything meant to handle the issues that can come up. It either breaks your tool or your pulling machine or chain or all of them.
#6. Cutting up the snow before laying cross-country ski tracks is needed if you do not have perfect powder to lay the tracks.
#7. Homegrown groomers/levelers cannot last as long as so very few have powder coated steel. In places that wear or scratch covered by exactly designed plastics to stop rusting or scratching.
#8.Unless you build it many times and test it for years you cannot fix the same kinds of issues that learning and redesigning has let us do.
#9. Homegrown systems very seldom have wheel kits or things to help you move the product around easily when not on snow or desiring to compact and groom.
#10. It is hard to make a part that truly leaves groomed corduroy snow.
#11. Adjustable depths and weight to pack are hard to put on homegrown groomers.
#12. Figuring out the right speeds to pull your homegrown groomers can be an issue.
DIY Snow groomer worth the cost?
Our groomers may not be least expensive but in the long run, and sometimes the short run, they will save you money. They last for many years. Having adjustable parts for changing snow conditions is important. They are lightweight enough to be pulled by snowmobiles and much smaller machines than many homegrown devices. Professionally built and tested means they can be used to groom miles and miles of snow and not wear out. DIY versus proven Snow groomers that last?
Inexpensive DIY snow groomer, maybe not so much.
It can be said that our groomers are very inexpensive because if you compare them to groomers that cost $50,000 and machines that cost more than that to pull those groomers then we are very inexpensive. Let alone the running cost of those machines versus a snowmobile or a side by side with tracks.
There are trails that are not very wide that the big expensive groomer cannot even fit down. We have seen that many large resorts get our groomers into the small places where large groomers cannot get into.
Ask these questions.
Specifically can your homegrown groomer leave perfect corduroy in many different types of snow, leave snow that is the depth wanted on your trails? Can it evenly pack the snow? We have not seen many that can do all these things. Years and years of design just have helped us solve the issues and make it simple to groom really good trails and hills.