The owners of the Golden Eagle Lodge, located on Flour Lake just off the Gunflint Trail, have purchased a brand new PistenBully 100 to groom cross-country ski trails. Golden Eagle Lodge will use this machine to groom the Nordic ski trails on 35 kilometers of the Central Gunflint Trail System. Bearskin Lodge grooms the other half of the 70k trail network. Zach Baumann and Ruth Wagner, Golden Eagle Lodge owners, said this snow groomer is “state of the art” and will “take the trails to the next level” which is great news for XC skiers.
Wagner described several of the features of this new groomer. “It has a Cummins diesel engine which is quieter, more powerful, and eco-friendly,” she said. PistenBully says that the treatment of the diesel exhaust is even good enough for it to meet the stringent requirements of working indoors. “The blade in front articulates in three dimensions. We purchased an aftermarket cutting blade that works behind the 3D blade to break up packed snow. It makes the adjustable depth tiller more effective. Our previous groomer didn’t have these features. As a result, we can groom in a broader range of snow conditions. All the grooming tools are now on one bar and we don’t have to swap them out for each task. This groomer also allows us to make a skate lane that is 2 feet wider.”
This PB100 is a significant investment at a cost of $269,000. Like most businesses, COVID initially threw a wrench in their plans.
“We were fully committed to buying this groomer in March. Then COVID hit and we decided that now was not the time to buy it. But later, our business picked up and in June, we called our rep to see if it was still possible to buy it,” said Baumann.
Normally, no PistenBully groomers would be available that late in the year. “Luckily, we were able to get the groomer with the exact features we needed,” said Baumann.
“We looked at what it would take to keep repairing our old machine [a 1980s vintage PB130] versus buying a new groomer and it made sense to make the investment. We want to give the skiers good grooming and we couldn’t afford to wait a few days for parts each time we needed to repair our older groomer,” Wagner said.
While they described this purchase, the groomer was still two weeks away from being delivered. Baumann and Wagner said, “We’re excited to see it!” Now the groomer is there. Bearskin Lodge also bought an updated groomer within the past several years. So, the arrival of this new groomer is more outstanding news for cross-country skiers who visit the Central Gunflint Trail System this winter.