What is grooming?
While you are sleeping, Mt Buller's grooming team is hard at work on the slopes, flattening the lumps and bumps created on the runs during the day and turning them into a smooth, corduroy finish.
With every turn we make on our skis or board, snow is pushed downhill and to the sides, creating piles of snow or moguls on the ski runs. Every night, large grooming machines travel up and down the slopes, moving, flattening and packing the snow into a uniform finish to produce the best skiing possible.
Grooming machines have two large rubber and steel tracks that disperse the weight of the machine evenly across the snow surface and cut into the snow to assist with climbing. Mounted on the front is a multi-directional blade that cuts and levels the snow surface before driving over it. A power tiller on the rear churns the snow to an even consistency before a large, heavy comb then drags across the surface leaving a corduroy finish on the snow.
Mt Buller has a fleet of 15 snow grooming machines capable of performing varied tasks. A range of attachments are available for these machines that increase the performance of various tasks. Some of the machines have a large winch (cable length of 600m-1000m) attached to them and when anchored at various locations around the mountain are able to groom some of our steeper runs, such as Men's Downhill and Cow Camp.
Other attachments used at Mt Buller include a Zaugg pipecutter that shapes our half pipe, which is located between the Skyline T-bar and the Bull Run Chairlift. The half pipe requires continual maintenance throughout the season with the pipecutter used to keep the shape and vertical walls on the pipe.
We also use a track setter attached to the rear of a machine to prepare our cross-country ski trails located around the Village. This unit sets two lines in the snow for cross-country skiers to place their skis.
The snow grooming team also performs many other tasks around the mountain, including preparing lift stations and access areas as well as Ski & Snowboard School beginner teaching areas, building race courses, terrain parks, transporting goods and clearing snow for access to buildings. Another vital function is snow farming, which involves pushing snow into piles that are stored and used as required in high wear areas, access trails and to repair slopes.