Setting tracks for nordic skiing is a skill that is often learned. Not that you cannot set tracks but how to lay out a course and handle hills for your cross country course. Many courses want you to have classic skating alongside skate skiing. Now on more simple courses that are defined by narrow trails where you cannot skate ski and the trail itself sets the corner curve, things just have to be what they are.’
Nordic and Cross Country Skiing Trails
When you have a wide enough trail to Lay both a skate path and a classic path side by side then things can be easy. The main problem with laying classic trail and skate ski trail together can be the corners and trying to have a good line for the classic tracks. Sometimes you might even need to test your corners. Well, I think those who use the trails often make the best trails so you can see if there are issues. Back to the corner issue. The best line on a sharp corner for classic tracks may be to start wide and cut the corner and then go back wide so that the corner is not too tight. You can easily see the issue of this puts tracks right where the skate skier does not want them.
A few tips to help when it comes to laying cross country tracks.
If you are mostly on a course that turns mostly one way (such as mostly right turns) put your track setter on the outside (In this case the left side if you are facing forward) and leave the skate ski area on the inside. That keeps the tracks more or less out of the way of the skate area.
You may want to take off your track setter and make a wider path when you can for the skate skiers. This takes extra time and maybe impossible if the trail is not wide. You might be actually covering your classic tracks. So using this option depends on the width of your trails. Old logging roads of 8 feet can be great for this.
When pulling with a side by side, which is becoming much more common, then you also need to be careful on your second pass and not have the tracks of the side by side run over your classic ski tracks. This fills them in and messes things up.
Snow Groomer Track Setter
Here at snowgroomers, we call our track setter the TRAKOR.
Sometimes you have to just make the path the best you can. It may not be as nice for classic skiers or may not be as nice for the skate skiers. If needed there is some thought that on corners you just groom normal and not lay the classic track. Or apply our detrakor as you do on steep hills anyway.
How you see the trail when grooming with your snowmobile is different than how someone driving a side by side sees the trail. Both of these seem to have a different perspective than when you ski the trail. So again trial and error can make for better trails.
Laying Classic Tracks for Cross Country Skiing
These issues should not get you down about trying to lay both classic skating and skate skiing. It just says that you can learn and have loads more fun having both options.
There is another thought that can be fun. Most of the time lay the classic and skate side by side. But there might be a detour that is classic only or skate only. This all depends on what the terrain is and trees etc. But using your topography you might be able to make some parts of your course and intimate classic track. While still being able to let both types of skiers have fun.
I am thinking that saying you can groom with or without a trakor is obvious. But I wanted to say it just in case. If you have a park ranger special that has a groomer and a trakor it just ups your options to make great trails.
Lastly, there are racecourses where you need to follow how things are supposed to be. But often if you experiment and make changes to your course over the years people can have more fun. If you are a skate skier try a little classic skiing once in a while. If you are a classic skier try a little skate skiing.
You could be the groomer who lays Nordic and Cross Country Skiing Trails for others enjoyment.
Changing it up a little can flat-out be fun. See you out on the trails!