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New PistenBully 100 snow groomer welcome addition to 100 Mile Nordics

Nordic club claims to offer the best winter recreation in town
Trail groomer and club member Mike Matfin in the cab of the groomer. (Fiona Grisswell photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

The acquisition of a new PistenBully 100 snow groomer will have volunteers lined up to groom trails at the 100 Mile Nordic Ski Society this winter.

Club president Chris Keam said that the new groomer will be faster and more efficient at grooming the trails.

The sleek looking PistenBully has the capability to till and pack the snow, lay down two classic trails and one skating trail in a single pass.

“This has taken a lot of years. We’ve never had a new one,” said member Gary Carlson.

Until now, when there was a heavy fall of snow they would have to run two or three snowmobiles around the track for two days just to pack it down. Then take them out again to lay the tracks down.

“You’re basically starting all over again,” said Matfin. “Lots of volunteers, lots of gas.”

Most of the trails do not get double-tracked but with the PistenBully they probably will wind up getting 2 tracks, Carlson said.

The Gentle Giant, a 4.5 to 5 kilometer loop is the most used track in the system. It does not have any steep hills and it’s lit so skiers can come in at night, hit the timer every 90 minutes and go out and do a loop. This trail almost always has two tracks.

Matfin said the double tracks are called ‘yak tracks’ as people can ski side by side - it is hard to hear someone when they are behind you.

The purchase was made possible, in part, by a $250,000 capital project grant from B.C.’s Community Gaming Grants Program.

The balance of the purchase included a $42,000 contribution from the Cariboo Regional District and District of 100 Mile House and $75,000 raised by the club through accumulated savings and generous donations.

Keam said they would love to love to have more members.

“That’s our bread and butter. We’re easily the best, cheapest winter recreation,” he said.

Part of the decision to invest in the new groomer was being able to groom more trails, more often and more efficiently, according to organizers.

Keam said the existing equipment still worked, but it was aging. When the opportunity to apply for the grant arose they took advantage of it.

He was quick to point out that he is still new to the board so it was the people who have been on the board for years who have gotten the project to this point.

The new groomer is energy efficient to use, which is good for the environment.

If the club can build up the volunteer base needed to put on more events like the race in January, the groomer would be a part of the puzzle to provide the trails.

“I would love to see the club as a little bit of destination resort for people and our race program is going to build that up as more people bring their kids for the races.”

It is a lovely spot even for those who do not like to ski, Keam said.

Newcomers to the area are invited to come out and visit the club. They offer rentals for anyone who might like to try cross country skiing out. Visit to learn more.

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PistenBully 100. (file submitted)

Fiona Grisswell

About the Author: Fiona Grisswell

I graduated from the Writing and New Media Program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George in 2004.
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