Blueberry Ridge Gets Groomed

The most popular cross–country ski trail in the Marquette area is about to undergo some special grooming. ABC 10’s Danielle Davis introduces us to the latest grooming technology to hit the U.P.

Weighing in at more than 2,000lbs. with exceptional tracking, precise agility and the capability to chop ice, the Pisten Bully is making trail blazing a lot easier at Blueberry Ridge.

‘It will be a very exciting thing to have a very reliable piece of equipment where our chances of getting stuck are much less than they have been in the past,” said Lead Ranger, Debra Gill.

“This machine is always breaking down because we are working it so hard, this one, it’s made for it.  It has a diesel engine, it does a perfect job,” said DNR Supervisor, Doug Barry.

Blueberry Ridge Pathway, managed by the Department of Natural Resources, received a Recreational Improvement Fund, Grant for the use of the snow bully for one year.

“With this machine it tills the snow which kind of warms it up a bit then it freezes harder,” continued Barry.

“This piece of equipment is much heavier than the one we have been using in the past, due to the weight we will be able to have down pressure to set track, it will be phenomenal, a world of difference,” continued Gill.

In the past DNR staff says it would take up to 12 hours to groom just four inches of freshly fallen snow. Skiers were overjoyed at the news of the new groomer.

“Our community is so happy to have a Piston Bully here at Blueberry, it’s the Cadillac of grooming equipment. There are so  many people in our community that come out here and ski and we have fabulous trails and this will make them even better,” said Debbie Muskovitch, Superior Land Ski Club.

To own the machine outright, it costs $161,000 or $23,000a year for 7 years. The DNR needs another $23,000 by September to keep the Pisten Bully for another year. They plan on applying for the grant each year but as approval is not guaranteed the DNR is accepting donations. You can drop off your contribution at any of the yellow donation boxes located on the trails.