Beate Erlmoser

6 reasons why a snow groomer loves that job!

Which training or education is necessary to drive a snow groomer?

Actually, you only need the B driving license; a little driving experience with a car is of course an advantage. You should also trust yourself to drive a snow groomer – rough terrain, driving in the dark, operating a large machine, and all that with a joystick instead of a steering wheel – that's probably not for everyone. You drive the first few days with an experienced colleague, who of course also gives tips. The cockpit kind of looks like in a spaceship, that’s pretty exciting. :D

What are your working hours?

The working hours are ideal for me, my work starts at 4 p.m. The machines are first serviced and refueled. At 5 p.m. when the slopes are closed, the grooming of the pistes begins. The work is finished between midnight and 1 a.m. Usually I sleep until dawn and then I can enjoy the day until 4 p.m. When there is snowfall, however, I have to get up early. Then my work starts at 4 a.m. In this case, the pistes need to be prepared for perfect skiing runs by 8 a.m.

How did you get your job?

Friends of mine have been doing this job for a few seasons and have made the profession of the driver of a snow groomer appealing to me. We are an awesome team, have a lot of fun and we can trust each other. That’s very important for the safety.
 

What is the best about your job?

Working independently. You sit alone in the machine and of course you are solely responsible. In perfect conditions, with sunshine and glittering snow crystals, you drive up the mountain, almost towards the sunset. You will hear a chilled-out sound from the good music system in the snow groomer, there is nothing better in the world at this moment.
 

What does a snow groomer driver do in summer?

I'm usually a truck driver, but this summer I operated an excavator. Both is fine and I appreciate that as a snow groomer you always have the opportunity to experience something totally different in during summer. 
 

What are the dangers of being the driver of a snow groomer? What do you have to pay special attention to?

At certain points where the slopes are steep, the machines have to be roped. Most of the time there are anchors for this. The machine has a cable winch in the front area for this purpose. If this rope brushes against a tree, for example, it can lead to wilder wobbles.

The modern snow groomers now have excellent on-board computers, which give you, for example, precise information on the depth of snow. If you drive in the green area, the snow is deep enough and you can skim off a certain amount. As soon as the color red lights up on the screen it tells you to be careful, because there is not enough snow. That means you have to go back to the green area and from there distribute snow to the red areas. This is precision work. The more experienced the driver of the snow groomer is, the faster he is and the more accurate is the result.

 

Thank you very much for your information and a big thanks to all “Heroes of the night” in Ski amadé!!!

Beate Erlmoser

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