The challenge: How do you keep meticulous conditions on man made snow with constant freeze thaw cycles, high skier traffic volume, limited personnel and financial resources. That’s the puzzle which Project Boreas at Huron Meadows Metropark was trying to solve.
Solution: After extensive research; based upon the recommendation of Regional Equipment manager Adam Haberkorn, the park recently purchased a Mueller Tornado. Never heard of it? Join the crowd. Most people haven’t. Mueller is a family-owned snow specialty equipment manufacturer located in Austria. Founded in 2011, it creates special solutions for snow related needs.
The Tornado was supposed to arrive at the beginning of 2022. But, you’ve all heard about the supply chain thing, right? So, it just arrived last week.
If you’ve skied at Huron Meadows since February 27, you’ve seen the difference. The Tornado attaches directly to a tractor which was already in the park system’s fleet and therefore made the entire purchase financially feasible.
The articulating steering of the tractor tiller combination allows for use on narrow trails, and for the wide-open golf course.
Says Adam, “The time saving with this device is phenomenal. The product it puts out is simply amazing. The time saved isn’t just while grooming, but while spreading snow. Half the time involved, at least!”
I was a little skeptical. How good could things really be, But, skiing is believing. The classic track is advertised up to 40 mm (1.5 inches) deep. That’s a deep track. In reality, it’s deeper. It easily hit the bottom of my ankle, maybe deeper. It’s not just deep but its rock solid. The trick is the Tornado’s ability to chew snow/ice and then compact it:
This is Buck’s Run after the first pass with the Tornado. On the left is the boilerplate before grooming. On the right, the snow which is created after the first pass.
Grooming done, now let's set the classic track
The final product: Now that's a nice track!
Not convinced it can make that much of a difference. Check out this video of the Tornado turning a skating rink into a ski trail:
When you don’t have to power a big cab like PistenBully does, then 100% of the machine’s effort goes into the snow.
Based on Mueller’s literature, their tiller delivers more torque and power than a PistenBully. Additionally, the tracksetter kit comes with a special hydraulic valve, for consistent pressure in all conditions. The results are incredible.
Yeah I know, blah, blah, blah. Well, seeing is believing.
The Mueller snow groomer and tracksetter drives off into the distance.
Thanks goes out to the Metroparks for this investment in skiing. Also, thanks, as usual, to Adam Haberkorn and all of the Metroparks staff, for making all of the pieces come together.