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New snocat groomer approved for Mount Spokane nordic trails

This size of snowcat groomer used for years at Mount Spokane State Park nordic tails was underpowered for the snow and size of the trail system.  On Feb. 11, 2012, the Winter Recreation Advisory Committee approved $300,000 to purchase a larger snowcat and widen trails for more efficient one-pass grooming. (Rich Landers)
This size of snowcat groomer used for years at Mount Spokane State Park nordic tails was underpowered for the snow and size of the trail system. On Feb. 11, 2012, the Winter Recreation Advisory Committee approved $300,000 to purchase a larger snowcat and widen trails for more efficient one-pass grooming. (Rich Landers)

WINTER SPORTS -- Washington's Winter Recreation Advisory Committee today approved $300,000 to purchase an larger snowcat groomer for the 30-kilometers of nordic trails at Mount Spokane State Park, reports George Momany, the Spokane-region representative on the panel.

The appropriation should allow the state park staff to begin widening trails this summer to accommodate the new groomer.

Steve Christensen, Mount Spokane State Park manager, has been campaigning for a larger groomer for years.

"It will cost more in the beginning, but it will save money in the long run," he said.

"The smaller groomers we've been using are underpowered for the amount and type of snow we get at Mount Spokane, and that results in more breakdowns," he said. 

"Once we get the trails to the right width, a bigger groomer will be able to work a trail in one pass. That will allow us to groom more miles of trail faster without leaving the rough berm in the middle that you get from double-pass grooming. Skaters will love that."

The Spokane Nordic Ski Education Foundation will be calling on volunteers to help trim trails this summer.

Coming Sunday:  The parking lot at Mount Spokane Nordic area will be jammed on Sunday (Feb. 12) for the annual Spokane Langlauf 10K cross-country ski race.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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