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Looney keeps trail system in top shape

Posted: Friday, Feb 10th, 2017

Avid Nordic skier Mike Looney has been keeping the ski trails around Pinedale groomed to perfection for the past seven years.

PINEDALE – With more than 100 inches of snowfall since October, local groomer Mike Looney has been busy at a blazing 7 mph to keep area trails in top shape as snowy weather seems to hardly take a break this year.

“It’s been a busy winter,” Looney said as he groomed a section of the CCC Pond’s Nordic trail system Monday afternoon while heavy flakes bounced off the shell of the groomer’s cab. “We’ve had a lot more snow than typical.”

Through the use of a pair of PistenBully grooming machines at two separate locations, Looney works as the sole groomer that keeps the large trail system surface smooth and ideal for local skier use. It is a job he has held for the past seven years through the Sublette County Rec Board, and it typically has him up at 3 a.m. to hit the trails by 4 a.m. He doesn’t groom every day of the season, nor is his work limited to the early morning hours. It all depends on the snow and what will best serve the trail system. Typically, he comes out after a good snowfall or when the trails get in rough shape.

“I get up early and groom and try to be done before sunup because the trails need time to set and firm up to make good quality skiing,” he said. “It’s easier to see in the dark, because as soon as it gets light, ‘flat light’ is inevitable and you can’t tell if you are doing a good job or even where the trail is sometimes.”

For the complete article see the 02-10-2017 issue.

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