Last Tuesday saw the arrival of a work trip I had been seriously looking forward to. The retrieval of the snow groomers and other equipment from Woop Woop, our ski landing area on the plateau. Can’t beat a road trip, even if it is for work.
Each summer the groomers are used to make a skiway using the snow on the plateau. Then left there to brave the elements until around July. Once the ice has thickened to an acceptable predetermined amount, a team of expeditioners hits the road (ice) on a mission to dig out, check over, start and the return the groomers to station. Sounds easy…
After much packing and an early morning start we hit the road (ice). We made good time and arrived on the plateau around 10 am to find two yellow lumps poking out of the snow. After much melting, digging, chipping, scraping, sawing and not much sweat (too cold for that) we discovered a groomer. Unfortunately amongst all the digging, chipping, scraping and sawing a wire was damaged. Henceforth a slightly cold MacGyver came to the rescue and spent half an hour busily trying to keep his hands from freezing while only about five minutes actually fixing the wire.
It went something like this: warm plug so it doesn’t break, warm hands, remove wire from Deutsch plug, warm hands, strip wire, warm hands, cut and fit temporary crimp, warm hands, crimp wire, warm hands, warm electrical tape (so it doesn’t break) and insulate wire, warm hands, place wire back in Deutsch plug, warm hands, refit plug and warm hands.
The joys of −25°C and 20 knot winds.
After a long but successful day we managed to turn the other yellow blob into a fully functioning groomer. More defrosting and we had the skidsteer started, out of its container and loaded on a sled. Next the snow tillers came off the groomers and they as well, were loaded. A quick check over, debrief and we once again hit the road (ice), with a convoy of weary expeditioners. A Hägg in front, myself pushing a reasonably flat road in a groomer second, Millsy in the second groomer towing the skidsteer and with another Hägg following up the rear, we had an eventful trip back to station. Millsy and myself both taking full advantage of the stereos fitted to the groomers. It’s not a road trip without music. I may or may not have sung into the VHF on the odd occasion!