Browse Our Archives

May 2013

Summer Maintenance Checklist

A little summer maintenance on winter equipment will go a long way in the fall.

Written by Elizabeth Eren | 0 comment

When the snow has melted and the lifts stop running, there’s often a slowdown among staff. In the season’s aftermath, maintenance protocols are sometimes overlooked or are done in a hurry. And when shortcuts are taken, accidents can occur or money can be lost. A checklist can help keep the job on track and protect your investments.

To help you assemble your checklists, SAM interviewed suppliers and operators from a variety of resorts and asked them to list their top five maintenance items, in order of importance and timing, as well as the most commonly overlooked, but important and potentially detrimental, service item when it comes to maintenance.

We did not cover snowmaking here, as we published a separate article on maintenance tips, titled, “Get Ready,” in the November 2012 issue of SAM, page 31.

Have a great summer!


1. Make a plan. Always do a pre-maintenance briefing with the crew, including refresher training on tool safety, PPE (personal protection equipment) and training on new tools.

2. On the features themselves, seal all metal sliding surfaces. That will help avoid the need for major grinding in the late summer or fall.

3. Remove any UHMW (plastic) and store it inside, even if you don’t have a storage place for the boxes themselves inside. If you must leave plastic features outside, place all large plastic sliding surfaces facing away from the sun or in a shaded area.

4. Store your jibs standing up. Come up with a method for keeping them from falling over into the mud. Letting jibs lie in the dirt and mud will just promote rust and wood rot. If you cover them, be sure that you are not trapping in moisture.

5. Organize your jib storage so that any features that need major repair are easily accessible.


Seal the sliding surfaces of all your rails before storing them for the summer. If you take five minutes to paint it before you store it, you’re probably saving hours of grinding and/or sanding work when you get back to that feature in the late summer … or even later.


1. Unplug the electrical control box and remote start/stop pedestal stations and store in a cool dry place.

2. Detension the belt or chain riding

3. To minimize deterioration of the rubber and plastic materials on the conveyor by harmful UV sunlight, take one of these two steps:

Cover the entire conveyor system.

Dismantle the belt/chain riding surface into manageable sections and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Also, do the same with the carpeted walkways. In addition, cover the drive and return drums or sprockets.

4. Lubricate all drum and sprocket bearings. If applicable, lubricate the drive chains, sprockets, and tensioning rods.

5. Check the condition of all belt splices. If wear is detected on any surface of the splice rail or splice rod, replace worn pieces.


Be sure to detension the belt, and disconnect the electrical system to protect it from lightning, etc.


1. Attend to all the recommended lubrication—haul ropes, tower assemblies, tower sheaves, chairs, bullwheel bearings, and gearboxes.

2. Perform all the necessary inspections: NDT and wear criteria analysis of grips; wear limitations of sheave liners; gearbox gear mesh; haul ropes; bushing wear.

3. Check the tower alignment and adjust as needed; also check the grip coupling areas (detachables) and adjust as required.

4. Take preventive action: do a visual inspection and NDT of gearbox internals; rebuild the gearbox if needed; megger test the electric motor; make oil changes.

5. Do predictive inspections: oil analysis; grease analysis; vibration analysis; tower rebuilds; bullwheel bearing replacement; gearbox overhaul.


1. Visual inspection of gearbox internals, and schedule overhauls.

2. Bullwheel bearing replacement.

3. Lubrication: pay attention to types and quantities, and beware of the detriments of mixing.


The peak performance of your groomers depends on properly adjusting three things: the engine, to develop full power; the drive hydraulic system pressures, to deliver the power to the tracks; and the electronic components, to transfer the operators’ commands to the hydraulic pumps and diesel engine. Key checklist items to these ends are:

1. Review winter service logs, and meet with the grooming supervisor to develop a list of problems, major or minor, specific to each vehicle. Without such a list, some items may slip through unnoticed during regular summer maintenance—i.e., a tiller that’s not leaving as good a pass as the others, or a vehicle that’s not as powerful as the others. If there is still snow on the hill at the end of the season, do a test drive to try to ascertain the cause of problems.

2. Change all filters and lube oils.

3. Repair or replace track system components as needed, and check drive and tiller electronics.

4. Check front blade functions and controls.

5. Provide sun/UV protection for the cab and all other rubber components.

6. Modern groomers come with a newly-required maintenance item: electrical wiring maintenance. Ten years ago, the majority of the hydraulic functions were on or off with a simple 24 volts applied. Now, with the many new vehicle capabilities, hall sensors, inductive proximity switches, PWM signals, mA proportional signals and data are sent through the wiring on the chassis of the vehicle. During the summer, grounds should be unbolted, inspected, repaired and cleaned. Plug connectors should be inspected and repaired to prevent damage.


1. Check function and operation of operator’s seat. Malfunctioning seats could result in a possible workers’ comp claim.

2. At the beginning of the summer season, review settings and differences on all models of snowcats within your fleet. Make sure everyone in your shop understands where you would like pressures set, for example, and go over any and all equipment adjustments that are unique to your resort.


1. Take down as little signage as possible during the summer months. Taking the signs down, storing them, and reinstalling them in the fall can cause more damage than would occur with UV exposure.

2. Cover sign faces in south-facing and other locations that have heavy exposure to UV or other elements. Use a vinyl wrap or a sheet of plywood, being very careful not to scratch the front face in either case. Also, cover all digital print items, as these are not as durable as vinyl cut items.

3. “Erase” dry erase boards with a mixture of water and alcohol to completely remove all messages before storing. If allowed to harden over the off season, old messages are hard to get off.

4. At the end of the season, do an inventory to ensure that signs are in the correct location, and catalog any signs that need to be replaced/updated. Ensure all posts are sturdy. Make note of any structures requiring maintenance or needing to be relocated as it can be done over the summer months when cementing posts is much easier.

5. Watch how items are put away—ensure all banners and signs are dry and clean when put away to avoid rot and mildew. Ensure that any signs on posts with screws are not leaned against the front of other signs as they could cause damage to the sign face if they are shifted over the summer.


1. Be sure to varathane wood signs in the summer months to protect them from the elements and prolong their lifespan.

2. Update way-finding signs, as resort amenities and facilities frequently change. This will be much harder to accomplish, and may not get done in time, if you wait until the start of the new season to make changes.