by Phil Froese (December 2001)
The Boundary Trails Nordic Club has managed to set mint tracks on less then 10 cm of snow using a crude piece of equipment. Our Snow Farmer (so named by one of our local farmers/skiers) was nailed together in half an hour out of a few dollars worth of scrap lumber:
- The runners are 2x6s on edge and rounded on the lead end like a ski.
- Our runners are 5 feet apart but they could be further apart if your trail is wide enough. The runners are tied together on top with a couple of 2x4s on the front and back giving you a crude version of an oversized old-fashioned kids sled.
- Ours just has a tow rope fastened to the front corners.
- On the inside of this frame, fashion some wedges out of short pieces of 2×6 so that when you drag this affair along it will grade the snow to the middle. Leave a gap in the middle of 2 feet or more for the snow to pass through.
- On the back end you will want a leveller board about 4 inches above the bottom of the runners so you end up with
a flat pad of snow instead of a crowned ridge which is hard to set a track down.
This drag is light enough to pull by hand, but a snowmobile is much better. We find it will skim in most of the loose snow from the sides without digging down to the ground. Allow this snow pad to firm up a bit, and then run over with the tracking pan. It works amazingly well!