Reacting to the increased costs of fossil fuels that often lead to higher lift ticket prices, Dan Osborne, believes he has a solution in his invention, EcoGroomer.
Osborne, a Florida-based entrepreneur and inventor, added two more grooming mechanisms to an existing snowcap to triple the amount of slopes a single cat can take on. He believes that cutting down the time a cat needs to groom ski slopes will cut down on fuel costs.
“Though a benefit of the EcoGroomer is 30-35 percent better fuel efficiency, that was not my driving motivation for this — reducing operating costs was,” said Osborne to ESPN. “The fact that it reduces pollution and fossil fuel use is a great side benefit, and I think the skiing public and resorts will feel good about … doing something to reduce all that diesel used to lay down nightly corduroy.”
According to ESPN, the EcoGroomer uses two driverless “SPU” snow-processing units located on each side of a cat. Each SPU has its own engine. In its final setup, each SPU runs on half the horsepower of a snowcat engine, which is expected to save fuel.
Testing will start this summer, either on a Canadian or European glacier. Additional testing is scheduled for the 2011-12 season. Osborne expects delivery to major North American ski resorts by the start of the 2012-13 season.