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Lagt til av: Espen Børresen | publisert: 17.01.2012

SNOWMOBILE: STILL THE FAVOURITE – The snowmobile is still the most effective and appreciated vehicle for trails-grooming, even if the market does not offer a wide range of specialized work-snowmobiles suitable for such demanding and tough task.

Snowmobiles are being used to tow a variety of implements designed for grooming, levelling, compacting and setting tracks, either on fresh or old hard snow.
The experience gained in the last years has been shared by users and manufacturers, thus reaching a grooming quality level close to the snow-cats. Alpina is currently the only manufacturer offering twin-track heavy-duty snowmobiles and thanks to its 20 yrs. experience, it has gained an important reputation in this field offering innovative and clean machines at an affordable price. Many groomers forums do mention Alpina’s machines as the best trail-grooming solution. Also the organization of Oslo 2011 WM Championship has recently used the new Sherpa 1.6 VCT for the ski-trails preparation, and this is a clear confirmation that, despite of the constant technology and technique changes, the snowmobile is always an essential machine in ski trails preparation.

Today, Alpina’s “work-mobiles” can be equipped with a brand new implement, engineered for xc-ski trails, small alpine-slopes, sleight-slopes. The Alpina F-250 is the new advanced trail-grooming implement, with technical features on the fore-front of the modern grooming technique.
Some features of the new F-250 have been inherited by the F-One model:
- The grooming width is still 180 cm (7.1”) or 250 cm (9.8”) including the side flaps.
- The grooming blades system too is derived by the F-One, with the adding of a 3rd row of blades (+50) for a more accurate snow pulverization.
- The Flexi-Blade system keeps the blades in contact with the snow surface without damaging the soil in case of low snow conditions.
- The new twin-stage flexible finisher developed by Alpina is made of a new flexible and wear-resistant compound, extremely resistant to ageing and UV exposure.
- The track-setter with electric lifter and gas pre-load is another innovation introduced by Alpina in Nordic grooming: the tilling blades with Alpina Vibra-Cut electric system set an even and compact track with every snow condition.
- The track-setter plate is lined with gliding plastic layer, and can be shifted from side to side of the trail, or coupled with a second track-setter to set dual tracks.
- The F-250 is run from a smart keyboard with LED illumination installed on the Sherpa from the same keyboard you can control work-lights and additional devices, all through a by-3-wires system (Alpina Digital Control Network) similar to a Can-Bus system.

Differently by the F-one, the F-250 has not an on-board gasoline power plant with hydraulic circuit: it’s all driven by electricity supplied by the Sherpa. The F-250 has therefore much lower purchase and operation costs.

With single or double pass, according to the trail’s width, the F-250 sets a track and corduroy quality close to a snow-cat. The snow is levelled and worked by the 3 rows of blades, and the finishers produce a firm corduroy with a rifling thinner than snow-cats, for a better “feeling” with the ski.
The cutting depth can be adjusted from the snowmobile with a very high precision, and this feature is very important when grooming at a competition event.
For example, at Oslo 2011 XC Ski Championship, the Sherpa was used to restore the trails between each relay. The use of any other vehicle would have plough the snow in the lowest layers too, making impossible to continue the competition before the snow could freeze and harden again. The Sherpa was able to cancel the skiers traces and renew just the top layer of the snow, keeping unchanged the base.
The F-250 must not be seen only as an integration to an existing grooming fleet, but a main grooming machine too. With the current changes occurring to the world’s economy, the availability of cheaper grooming machines is a welcome opportunity.

More info at

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