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Lisbon maintains ski trails

Feb. 18, 2014

Town of Lisbon — Despite doing double duty during an usually harsh winter, Park Superintendent John Greiten and his co-worker Paul Pichler have been able to maintain one of the Lisbon Community Park's newest winter attractions: ski trails.

Technically, Greiten and Pichler are employees of the town's public works department which means in addition to their park duties they are also snow plow operators during the winter.

"Paul has a regular route that he plows. I only plow when they need someone to fill in," explained Greiten, who is also assistant public works director.

But in addition to plowing and normal duties maintaining the Lisbon Community Park, the pair have been working on the 125 acre park's newest addition: ski trails.

The trails have existed for about three years and seem to be growing more popular each year, according to Greiten.

"There have been people on those ski trails when it was 19 below zero," Greiten explained.

The network of ski trails is about three miles long and extends from the woodlands on the east side of the park, across the prairie in the center of the park and through the kids playground and recreation area that extends to near the park's entrance east of the Lake Five and Oakwood Road intersection.

The layout of the park provides two different skill levels of skiing, according to Greiten.

The flat trails along the prairie and through the playground area, which extends about 1 1/2 miles, provide an excellent venue for beginning skiers.

The hills and dales of the woodlands, another 1 1/2 mile, that is in the north east and north central portions of the park, along the Bark River, provide an excellent challenge for the more skilled skier, according to Greiten.

The ski trails are possible because of the Pichler's ingenuity, according to Greiten.

Pichler fabricated a piece of equipment that fits on the front of the DPW gator that is used in the park. The apparatus, known in ski trail jargon as "tenderizer," helps direct snow underneath the gator's wheels where the snow is crushed and flattened.

Another piece of equipment, which the town purchased, is attached to the back of the gator and it smooths the snow and "sets" or establishes the trail.

The men groom the trail at least twice a week, on Friday and Monday.

"We want to work on the trails on Friday before everyone gets on them during the weekend and then we want to work on them Monday morning after everyone has used them on the weekend," Greiten explained.

Of course, if it snows, the trails have to be groomed more often, Greiten pointed out.

The men have to schedule their trail grooming work around their other park duties and plowing.

As a result, earlier in the winter when there were fewer day light hours, it was not unusual to see the gator's headlights following the ski trails as the men worked into the night grooming the trails.

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