MyNorth News Service

(Press Release provided by White Pine Stampede Committee)

ANTRIM COUNTY: The White Pine Stampede Committee and Shanty Creek Resorts have partnered to purchase a trail grooming system designed to maximize the condition of cross country ski trails even when there is minimal snowfall.

White Pine Stampede Race Director Jack McKaig said the committee decided to purchase the Tidd Tech G2 Groomer, and Shanty Creek purchased the Arctic Cat Bearcat snowmobile to pull it, so the groomers can keep the trails open in less than ideal conditions.

“If you use a big groomer on trails with only a little snow, you end up digging down into the dirt, which is not good,” McKaig said. “With this machine, you can maintain a good base with what little snow that you have on the trail.”

McKaig said the committee decided to buy the Tidd Tech groomer after being forced to shorten and/or eliminate some of the races in 2007 and 2008 due to a lack of snow.

As the White Pine Stampede prepares for its 40th anniversary cross country ski race on February 6, 2016, the committee again faces lower than average snowfall levels. However, McKaig is optimistic that this new system will help the groomers maximize the condition of the trails and provide an optimal race experience for all participants.

In fact, Shanty Creek Resorts General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Pete Bigford said his team has used the grooming system on the resort trails and his trails were in good condition, even before the recent snowfall.

The White Pine Stampede, which begins in Mancelona and ends at Shanty Creek in Bellaire, uses sections of the resort’s trails as part of their 50K, 20K, and 10K events. The charity event donates $5 from every entry fee to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Over $100,000 has been raised to date.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Pete since he took over at Shanty Creek, and I’m looking forward to another fun-filled day of racing in February,” McKaig said. “Our partnerships with Shanty Creek, Shorts Brewing Company, and the 200-plus volunteers that return every year are what continue to make this race an incredible event for Antrim County.”

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Photo(s) by Alyse Tarbutton