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Old 08-11-2015, 02:59 PM
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Default history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Nice article on over the snow beginnings and what the machines meant to the recreation industry.

In the modern ski industry, we take big, powerful snowcats with impressive features and implements for granted. But it was not always so! Groomers arrived well after resorts were launched and chairlifts began to climb our hills. They have come a long way in a short time.

Early ski area operators quickly realized that something had to be done about the bumpy and uneven surface caused by skier traffic. Then, too, if a heavy snowfall occurred, beginner and intermediate skiers floundered in deep powder. Resorts needed a way to create an enjoyable skiing surface. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that they began to adopt snowcat grooming technology.

In pre-cat days, ski area workers—especially patrollers—were assigned to ski-pack, boot-pack, or shovel-pack the trails. Squads would make their way up or down a trail to compress fresh snow. It was manifest from the start that this method was not feasible for regular grooming.

Recognizing the need for a mechanical solution, Winter Park manager Steve Bradley developed the first dedicated grooming implement. Taking his cue from road graders and land planers, Bradley created a fleet of “graders” to smooth the snow and remove bumps. Bradley cites this as a reason for his invention: “I was a damn good skier if I do say so myself, but I could not ski bumps!”

The Bradley Packer-Grader (XPG-1), first used in 1951, was a cumbersome yet exciting device: a rolling slatted drum, fitted in front with a 3” blade of steel cutting teeth to trim the tops of bumps. The blades were held by springs (screen door springs, to be exact), and could be raised and lowered by a reel system.

A metal frame encased the drum, with handles that the operator held as he skied in front. It need hardly be explained how dangerous (albeit fun) it was to operate the 400-pound machines. The operator “had only God to help him if the machine cut loose,” John Fry once wrote.

For its time, the Bradley Packer-Grader was a revolutionary tool. Bradley’s only lament was that it did a poor job of dressing the surface. Nevertheless, it was a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, other ski area operators were trying to adapt farm and construction equipment to the purpose. A wide-track Oscar bulldozer was used, with varying results. But the pioneers quickly concluded that existing machinery was not sufficient.


Earlier still than these efforts, over-the-snow vehicles were employed in military, agricultural, and scientific fields where Arctic conditions required specialized transportation. As early as 1911, Wolseley Motor’s Caterpillar-tracked vehicles were employed on an Antarctic expedition. A Model T Ford was modified in 1913 with tracks in the rear and two skis in the front.

In 1922, Joseph Armand Bombardier, who tinkered with cars in his garage, built a propeller-drive snow vehicle. He spent more than 10 years refining the technical aspects of such vehicles.

Also developed in 1922, the Armstead Snow Vehicle was essentially a tractor that navigated snow by means of two rotating cylinders with helical flanges. Henry Ford is purported to have demonstrated it.

In 1936 Bombardier patented several key innovations that are still incorporated into snowcat design, including a rubber coated sprocket design, tracks with rubber belts, and a flexible suspension system. He began mass-producing his machines in 1937. Those patents expired in 1954, and were adopted by many other manufacturers.

At about the same time, Studebaker designed and manufactured the M29 Weasel, a tracked vehicle designed especially for use on snow in World War II.

In 1954, Swedish farm equipment engineer Lars Larsson, seeking a way to travel for his winter fishing trips, invented the Aktiv Snow Trac snowcat, a small machine manufactured between 1957 and 1981. This was the first snowcat to employ a wheel for steering rather than levers or sticks. The Snow Trac found its way into military locations and oil fields and was eventually adapted for ski area use. It was a viable competitor to Tucker (see below) for a time, with the Snow Master model even sighted at the 1972 Sapporo Olympic Games, sporting a very peculiar set of front and rear slatted rollers.

Speaking of Tucker: it is to this company that we owe the name “snowcat,” as its over-the-snow vehicle was (and is) named the “Sno-Cat.” First envisioned by E.M. Tucker Sr. in the early part of the 20th Century, the “Tucker Sno-Cat” company came into existence in 1942. Its initial models had augers, skis, and pontoons. Some were equipped with just two tracks, as opposed to the four-track design we now associate with Tucker.

Many early Sno-Cats were employed in the Arctic, but they found their way to winter resorts soon enough. They were the transit machine of choice in the 1950s and into the ’60s. Tucker Sno-Cats are still frequently seen in Nordic grooming operations, utility company transportation, search and rescue operations, mining, etc., though they are rarely spotted at ski resorts any more.


It is difficult to pinpoint when snowcats entered into mainstream grooming use—resorts worldwide were experimenting with them in the early 1960s. Winter Park was one; it used a Kristi Snowcat (another short-lived ’50s/’60s tracked snow vehicle) to pull a Bradley Packer from the top of the T-Bar to the point of descent. With various ski resorts using snowcats for personnel transport, the simple “track packing” effect of driving the vehicles around the mountain must have piqued interest in their potential for snow surface grooming.

In the Spring 1961 issue of Ski Business, Charlie Lord offered tips on trail grooming, codifying some of the earliest thoughts on the art of grooming. He suggested: "1. Roll your slopes after fresh snow falls. 2. During icy periods, break up hard surfaces with scratchers. 3. Eliminate booby traps such as deep ruts, over-large moguls or wind-drifts by machine grading or hand shoveling." His ideas, if not his methods, are still relevant to trail maintenance today.

That year also saw the advent of Bombardier’s Snow Packer, the first machine produced by the company with wide tracks and designed specifically for ski area grooming purposes. Only two were produced, one of them used by Mt. Orford Ski Centre in Quebec.

In Italy, Ernst Prinoth, a passionate racecar driver, produced his prototype snow groomer, the P60, in 1962, after two years of research and development. By 1964, Prinoth was mass-producing its next model, the P15. Like Bombardier, Prinoth got his start by working and experimenting in his garage.

It was in 1962, says Curt “Blademaster” Bender, veteran groomer and professor emeritus of Ski Area Operations at Colorado Mountain College, that the industry began to embrace slope grooming. A grooming expo was held at Aspen that year, with the Bradley Packer, a John Deere 1010 Dozer, and the Oscar bulldozer present and demonstrated in grooming applications. This expo was the impetus for ski area operators to begin taking the idea of grooming seriously.


As the idea of using snowcats for grooming caught on, attention turned to grooming implements. The earliest of these were quite crude (think chain-link fence, with some cinder blocks on it for weight, or bed springs or a series of chains used as drags). Still, they were revolutionary at the time, and definitively preferable to boot or shovel packing.

Marrying the concept of the Bradley Packer to the snowcat resulted in rolling-stock implements, such as the roller and the powder-maker. Rollers were cylindrical drums connected to a pintle hitch on the snowcat by a v-shaped steel frame reduced to a tongue and eye-hook. The roller was an excellent implement for use after a fresh snowfall, as it would compress the powder and leave a nice, smooth surface.

While some rollers were slat designs, most were made from corrugated culvert pipe. Thus, they provided skiers with their first taste of the corduroy pattern so lusted for still.

The roller, however, was not practical on hard or icy snow, as it would simply ride over it. On sidehills, the roller had a tendency to jackknife. Old-time groomers recall the challenge of trying to catch up to a roller as it passed by on the downhill side! (Not 24 hours before writing that line, I was making a sidehill turn myself, trying to keep a roller behind me after a big snowfall at Ski Cooper. The roller remains a useful tool under certain circumstances.)

The first rolling-stock solution for harder snow was the “Powder Maker,” developed by Otto Wallingford (who then founded Valley Engineering) in 1968. The Powder Maker combined the principle of the drag with that of the roller. Rather than a solid metal drum, the Powder Maker sported an expanded metal roller, which would scuff up the surface, leaving behind a fine particulate, or “powder.” Later versions of the Powder Maker were larger, and used three or five roller cages, which could be hydraulically angled to increase friction with the snow, effectively cutting through hard-pack.

Blades were another early addition. References to “snow plow” blades for snowcats are seen in advertisements as early as 1965. The first front blades were straight, with only the ability to raise and lower. Fixed U-blades came next, to keep snow within the blade.

While winch snowcats were still decades away, the earliest reported experiments with winching appeared in the October 1967 Ski Area News, which cites a system developed by Ray Parker of "one bulldozer anchoring the other and hauling it back on a winch. Working in tandem this way, [one] can safely cut trails up to a 70 percent gradient."

Many early snowcat operators were legendary individuals themselves. Bender recalls working with a Vietnam veteran fighter pilot, “Jock,” who “drove his cat like an F-14.” He worked at Taos for a supervisor known as “Cat Daddy.”

In those pre-winch days, it was not uncommon for groomers to experiment with techniques for grooming the steepest and gnarliest trails once they had finished surfacing the gentler terrain. And in those days, the operators had the support of their supervisors and managers for such adventures.

This was the era of “cowboy grooming.” The science had not been fully studied, and the constituent art not yet perfected. Many of today’s groomers, in Recaro seats with tunes blasting, crawling up a 40-degree pitch with the help of a winch and pulling a tiller, cannot comprehend either the challenges or the excitement of those days!


In the late ’60s and early ’70s, more snowcat innovations—and brands—began to appear. PistenBully got its start after founder Karl Kässbohrer, CEO of the Kässbohrer Bus Company, took a skiing vacation in South Tyrol in 1967. Inspired to create a machine to groom the slopes, he began work on a prototype, “Special Vehicle 001,” in December 1968. By the next month, the PistenBully name was adopted. With Walter Haug’s direction, the design was improved to incorporate an 80hp Daimler-Benz engine, hydrostatic pumps and motors, and a host of other forward-thinking ideas. Further testing and tweaking resulted in the diesel-powered, hydrostatic-driven, aluminum-tracked PB145, which was imported into the U.S. by Valley Engineering.

In 1976, PistenBully’s PB170D introduced major advancements, including electronic steering controls, frame improvements for front blades, and creature comforts in the cabin based on Kässbohrer’s Setra bus interiors.

Thiokol, a Utah-based chemical company, produced snowcats fitted with front blades and culvert rollers until 1978, when John DeLorean (yes, that John DeLorean) purchased its snowcat division. Several Thiokol machines saw extensive use in the ski industry, most notably the Spryte, the 2100 Packmaster—a workhorse grooming snowcat often seen pulling a Trail Grader (a 5th-wheel hitch roller and blade) or equipped with a compactor bar—and of course, the 3700 Hydromaster with an Allis Chalmers diesel engine, hydrostatic steering, 6-way hydraulics to the front, and 4-way hydraulics to the rear, introduced in 1976. This was the predecessor to the revered LMC 3700.

Throughout the 1970s, Bombardier produced a successful line of “Skidozers.” In 1979, the SV302HD with hydrostatic controls hit the market.

With the number and variety of machines expanding, the 1972 NSAA meeting at Waterville Valley, N.H., featured a contest to compare them. “Tucker won first for mogul planing and dressing with the Tucker with Mogul Planer; the Thiokol 2100 V-8 with Mogul Planer took second and the Thiokol 2100 6 Blade and Dresser Bar took third...Thiokol hard snow preparation with the Thiokol 2100 V-8 12-foot powdermaker followed by the Tucker V-8 Catamount and the Bombardier 501 12-foot powdermaker... Bombardier's Skidozer 501 was named the best overall vehicle at the show." (SAM, Spring 1972).

Today’s implement of choice—the power tiller—first appeared in 1968 with Jim Kelly’s invention of the “Hard Pack Pulverizer.” Prinoth also lays claim to inventing the power tiller, citing its implement developed in Italy in 1973. In the Fall 1975 SAM, a West Mountain ad speaks of a Sno-Tiller, an "aggressive high-speed hardpack breaker... conditions thick, uniform layer of chips ready for additional surface powdering." In 1977, PistenBully introduced its hydrostatic power tiller. In all, the power tiller introduced a new level of snow processing, and launched the modern era of grooming.

It also launched a new series of challenges. Dan Torsell (my father and industry veteran) recalls the excitement of demoing a power tiller on a Thiokol Hydromaster 3700 circa 1981; his area had been using older machines and rolling stock. The GM was first to try the machine, and he took Dan with him. After a few beautiful passes in the beginner area, he cut through the trees on a cat road to an adjacent trail. Dan recalls, “All of a sudden there was a bang and a jerk. We looked back, and there was the tiller, snapped off from one side! We never had trouble fitting the Tucker or the 145 through those trees.”
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Old 08-11-2015, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Part II mentions the acquisitions and equipment mergers that outline the market today.


Part I of this article appeared in the January 2015 issue. It traced the beginnings of groomers from their roots in military over-the-snow vehicles and skier-pulled devices for snow grooming, such as the Bradley Packer, to the development of machines specifically aimed at snow grooming. Part II (below, following the slide show) picks up where we left off in the late ’70s, and chronicles what we might call the modern age of grooming.


In 1980, Kässbohrer secured its U.S. market entrance by acquiring Valley Engineering, the company that was importing PistenBully snowcats into America. With this acquisition, manufacturing, repair, and training facilities were established in Gray, Maine, and PistenBully snowcats were here for the long haul.

Bombardier continued its successful line of Skidozers, and in 1981 released the BR 400, which became a mainstay of the company for many years. The BR 400 was diesel-powered, with hydrostatically driven tracks controlled by two levers located between the operator’s legs. The levers were mechanically linked via cables to the hydrostat pumps.

The DeLorean Interlude

In the 1980s, there was a third mainstream snowcat manufacturer. When John DeLorean purchased the snowcat division of Thiokol in 1978, he began producing snowcats under the name DMC (DeLorean Motor Company). By the early ’80s, the name was changed to LMC, standing for Logan Manufacturing Company, as the machines were produced in Logan, Utah. Through all the name changes, manufacturing remained in the former Thiokol factory.

LMC’s workhorse model, the 3700C, was an updated and redesigned version of the Thiokol Hydromaster 3700, and would soon be found in the frontline grooming fleets of many ski resorts. Ask any groomer who’s been at it since the early ’80s, and he’ll tell you stories of turbochargers glowing red with heat on the 250hp Caterpillar 3208 V-8 diesel engine that powered these well-loved and hard-worked machines. The 3700 featured an electric tilt cab and quick-connect hydraulic couplings in the rear, both of which made mechanics’ jobs easier.

The LMC 3700C sported a peculiar center cab design foreign to the younger generation of operators. Rather than a wide, front-mounted cab, the 3700C had a long hood in front, with the operator positioned over the center of mass, both side-to-side and front-to-back. There were passenger seats, though they were better suited to small children than adults. The tracks were controlled via mechanical linkage sticks (Johnson boat controls, to be exact) between the operator’s legs, and the blade was controlled by a “D Handle,” a wide handle with a variety of buttons for the different functions of the advancing blades—which now featured 12 possible movements.

A later version of the LMC 3700, the 3700CF, featured a front-mounted cab. For whatever reason, this model never caught on, and seemed plagued with glitches. Hence, while CF stood for “Cab Forward,” readers might imagine the other phrases that operators would substitute to express their frustration with that iteration of the machine.

The successor to the 3700 was the LMC 4700, a cab-forward (though still short-hooded) model that boasted a 340hp diesel engine with hydrostatic drive, a 10-way blade, and a variable tiller drive pump. LMC was proud of this new powerhouse, telling prospective customers: “Slip into one of the finely contoured bucket seats. Grip the ‘Dual D’ handles that link you to 20 hydraulic functions. Fire up the Scania turbocharged engine. Yes, the look, the feel, and the sound confirms there are none better.”

While the 4700 would seem to be an organic development, it was, in fact, based heavily on a short-lived model from the DMC era, the DMC 3900. Only a handful of 3900s were produced, powered by either a Cat 3208 or an Allis Chalmers 670 diesel engine. The machine featured the same cab design as the 4700.

Tillers and Winches

While the first tillers were straight, operators yearned for one that could conform to minor unevenness in the snow surface. LMC pushed the limits, creating its famed Tri-Flex tiller, which had three separate augers and offered maximal flexing. PistenBully and Bombardier settled for a bi-flex design, which could flex in the center, and was favored by the industry in the long run, as it remained the standard across manufacturers.

LMC was an early adopter of winch technology. On its winch cats, a Braden front-mount winch took the place of a blade. Winching with LMC cats required two machines: a winch cat, which would sit at the top of the run; and the grooming cat, to which the winch attached via an eyehook on the blade. The winch cat operator had a lap-top control board, with levers to uncoil and retract the winch cable, thus lowering and raising the grooming cat. Because the winch hooked to the blade of the grooming cat, passes could only be finished while traveling uphill. The groomer would back down the pitch, then drop his tiller and climb the pitch, leaving a finished pass.

Winch technology significantly altered the grooming paradigm. Terrain previously considered impassible to snowcats became fair game for regular grooming. Winch grooming steep, expert terrain allowed skiers of a lower ability to navigate the pitches and created a new demand for “hero” conditions. It did not take long for winch grooming to become commonplace.

For all of LMC’s innovations, its fate was sealed by 1988. John DeLorean sold the company to an investment group, and its market share dwindled. The ski resort grooming market belonged to PistenBully and Bombardier, and both were innovating in several areas.


In the early 1980s, PistenBully released the PB 200D, which significantly improved on the 170D. The new machine was more powerful and more ergonomic, and used electronic controls. Operators and mechanics could travel to the PB plant in Maine for training on adjusting and maintaining the new systems.
In 1984, the PB 200D was modified to become one of the earliest mass-produced winch snowcats. The PB 200DW had an over-cab Capstan-style winch, much like the winches in use today.

Bombardier’s successful BR 400 remained in wide use as the company began developing the ME and MP models into the 1990s. Later rebranded as the BR-275, the MP model was powered by a Cummins 8.3L inline-6 cylinder diesel engine. The “MP” stood for “MicroProcessor,” in reference to a new system for steering control in which a microprocessor computer was fed electronic data from potentiometers in the steering sticks, then sent commands to the hydrostatic pumps. This provided much greater precision in steering, and reduced the moving parts involved with mechanical linkage sticks. The MP system also introduced computer-based diagnostics to assist mechanics in machine repairs.

The microprocessor presented new challenges. The sticks had to be calibrated from time to time, and the potentiometers could become dirty and cause erratic steering. Nevertheless, the microprocessor dawned a new era for Bombardier’s snowcat line.

1. PistenBully

Meanwhile, in 1994, PistenBully was restructuring. The division of Kässbohrer responsible for its line of all-terrain vehicles split from its parent company and formed the independent Kässbohrer All Terrain Vehicle/PistenBully company. It was a fresh start for the manufacturer.

By 1997, PistenBully had delivered more than 10,000 vehicles worldwide, and in 1998, it successfully went public in Germany under the name Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG. Its frontline machines were the PB 200, with 12-way blade and flex tiller, and the PB 300, fitted with the same.

In 2002, PistenBully moved its worldwide headquarters to Laupheim, Germany. In the following year, it released the PB 300 Polar, an improvement on the standard PB 300 that introduced a more robust machine with a larger engine and the option of an improved winch.

The PB 600 was released in 2006. The machine integrated a new level of computer control. The 600 was (and is) larger than standard alpine grooming cats and shipped with a 400hp Mercedes Benz engine. Its standard configuration included a wheel for steering, though it was also made available with regular steering sticks, similar to those in Bombardier’s snowcats, instead of the paddle-shaped sticks that were available on a limited basis in PistenBully’s earlier cats.

PistenBully continued to grow its market share both through its existing brand and through acquisitions. In 2007, it acquired the Scandinavian snowcat builder Keiteleen Latukone Oy, whose signature model was the Paana. The Paana, a smaller machine geared toward Nordic operations, helped to expand PistenBully’s reach. Growth continued in 2008 with the purchase of Finnish alpine snowcat manufacturer Formatic. With these acquisitions and the 2008 release of its new frontline alpine model, the PB 400, PistenBully sold more than 20,000 snowcats by 2014.

With tightening emissions standards and a heightened environmental awareness within the ski industry, PistenBully began focusing on alternative power. This focus led to the PB 600 E+, a revolutionary diesel-electric snowcat that hit the market in 2012. The 600 E+ uses technology similar to diesel-electric locomotives; it creates a 20 percent improvement in efficiency, reducing emissions and lower operating costs.

PistenBully also developed a new tiller, the AlpineFlex, which employs a significantly more aggressive tooth pattern. Its comb and wing system produces a deeper, seamless corduroy pattern. A setting on the machine’s computer can set the tiller into “boost mode,” which increases its speed beyond the normal top speed, providing the ability to cut through hardpack or further process soft snow in preparation of race courses, etc.

Further innovations from PistenBully answered the growing demand for terrain park-specific equipment. In 1999, PistenBully began developing the first park-specific cat, which was released in 2000 as the PB 200 Park. The park cats boasted a greater range of motion in the blade and tiller to accommodate feature shaping and maintenance, reducing hand work. The 2014 release of the Park Pro added a finishing comb to the bottom of the blade. All major tiller and blade functions were moved to a single joystick. And software improvements allow the operator to customize the controls.

Other recent advances from PistenBully are primarily technological, including an LCD screen diagnostic and settings display, computer-controlled tiller control presets, and the SNOWsat fleet management system.

2. Bombardier/Prinoth

At Bombardier, by 2002 the BR 275 had evolved into the BR 2000, powered by a 350hp Cummins QSL9. This cat combined the best features of the BR 275 with a new, larger Terrain Master blade, and had improved ergonomics and comfort in the cab. It was also designed to be compatible with the HPG, Bombardier’s offering for half pipe shaping, and could be purchased as a winch model with a 4.1 M Ton overhead winch. The BR 2000’s Terrain Master tiller promised improved performance in harder snow and at higher speeds, and could optionally come with hydraulic side wings.

The BR 2000 was further tweaked and updated in the BR 350, which became another long-time frontline groomer. The BR 350 had an updated cab design, and a 350hp Caterpillar C9 under the “hood.” Other than minor updates, it has remained essentially the same.

Bombardier saw its own management changes. In 2004, the snowcat and industrial vehicle division of Bombardier Recreational Products was sold to Camoplast, another Canadian company, which would sell snowcats under its name until Prinoth purchased the division in 2005.

Prinoth, which had been building snowcats in Europe since the earliest days, had merged with Leitner, another European snowcat manufacturer, three years earlier. By combining technologies from the three companies, Prinoth had assembled a full quiver of snowcat design and building expertise.

Prinoth continued, and still continues, to offer the BR 350. But the company quickly began work on its own line of machines, which hit the market as the Prinoth Bison in 2007 and the Prinoth Beast in 2010. Pininfarina, an Italian firm whose work can be seen in exotic auto brands like Ferrari and Maserati, designed the exterior of the machines.

The Bison remains a standard alpine grooming cat, powered like the BR 350 by the Caterpillar C9 engine, though in the Tier 3 Acert 355hp version. The operator’s seat in the Bison is in the center of the cab, a move that improved front visibility and depth perception. More controls, such as tiller side wings, were moved to the blade joystick. An LCD display shows vital signs, allows the operator to make adjustments, and provides mechanics with diagnostic tools.

A terrain park model of the Bison, the Bison X, was created to offer options that allowed for precision control of blading functions for shaping. Like PistenBully’s park models, the blade and tiller have a much greater range of motion. A multifunctional hydraulic system allows use of both front and rear accessories at the same time.

Prinoth’s Beast was a unique new offering due to its sheer size. With a 520hp Caterpillar C13 and a full working width of about 23 feet, the Beast remains the largest snowcat produced to date. Its application, however, has been limited, as many ski resorts would have to cut new cat roads and install wider shop doors to accommodate the machines.

As the EPA continues to tighten diesel emissions standards, Prinoth has adapted. As of this year, Prinoth’s new machines will be built with Tier 4 Final engines, which the company says are not only cleaner, but also more powerful.

And So It Goes

The development of snowcats for grooming applications has seen steady growth and innovation. The earliest days showed the biggest leaps, moving quickly from boot- and shovel-packing to a mechanized contraption, then to self-powered machines with implements. As the fundamentals of good snowcat technology were mainly settled by the mid-’80s, recent advances have primarily been in tweaks, computerization, comfort, and task-specific equipment. This evolution leaves us now with the impressive machines that tame the slopes each night.

Still, innovation continues. The changing needs of resorts and their guests, and competition between the two remaining brands, guarantees it.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Seems like Lombard never gets mentioned in early over the snow vehicles!! i realize they were not groomers but he was the inventor of the first successful crawler tractor and over snow vehicle. Its like the first chapter of over snow vehicles is always omitted.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Originally Posted by loggah View Post
Seems like Lombard never gets mentioned in early over the snow vehicles!! i realize they were not groomers but he was the inventor of the first successful crawler tractor and over snow vehicle. Its like the first chapter of over snow vehicles is always omitted.
You also don't see much about the tractors that had rotary screws that propelled them over the snow.

Another often unmentioned group were the snow-planes that were propeller driven, although admittedly, the snow-planes were far better suited to travel over iced over lakes or flat fields, still they had military application and use before the tracked vehicles were in common use.

Domestically Kristi had a very interesting snow-plane with adjustable/canting skis. Russia used snow-planes for military applications, which pre-dated the snowcats.

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Old 08-12-2015, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Originally Posted by Melensdad View Post
You also don't see much about the tractors that had rotary screws that propelled them over the snow.
Also developed in 1922, the Armstead Snow Vehicle was essentially a tractor that navigated snow by means of two rotating cylinders with helical flanges. Henry Ford is purported to have demonstrated it

This passage is in the second article. I wonder if the sno planes fall into a gap like the hover craft. sort of a aviation device as opposed to a traction type machine.??
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

Hi MD and RS, check this out:
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned


Thanks for that article. Lots of good info. I must admit that some of it sounds embarrassingly familiar. Chain link, a roller, the Valley Engineering Powder Maker and a SkiDozer are all among my most current fleet.

After having the opportunity to ride in that new Prinoth Bison up at the Clowder last year, I can certainly relate to the comment about "cowboy grooming" and excitement.

BTW, The soviets used to have a large military screw-driven vehicle too.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:52 PM
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redsqwrl redsqwrl is offline
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Default Re: history of snow cats Tucker and Snow Trac mentioned

exactly, I was searching "LMC3700 CF" for images to help me with a project when I found that article. I was a little disheartened about the Delorean era machines and I have heard how touchy the "electrics" were in those hydrostatic machines from many users....
Sadly I never got a chance to operate the Big stuff (bison, BR's) at the clowder this year. I will this year, even if I have to elbow my way in line? (joking)

What I find most interesting is the diversity of over the snow equipment. Steam Lombard to Prinoth. Grooming to Pulling to transport.
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