Mountain Damage input please....

Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Tom400CFI on 06 Jul 2009, 12:34

I'm looking for standard mountain damage from other similarly sized resorts. For it to be useful information I need it to be quantified some; on a "per cat" basis, or "per acre groomed", or "per hour"...I don't care, but something. Even, "we have X number of cats, and we spend about Y dollars on damage/yer.

for example, I THINK that a resort that runs 12-13 cats would incure about $15,000-$20,000/season in Mountain Damage.

I'm defining "Mountain Damage" as all the damage/parts/repairs to cats, due to negligent operation. Backing into stuff, broken glass, overheating due to not checking fluids, winch cable damamge due to operator error, etc.

Lastly, average staff seniority would help too; more veteran staff should produce less damage than a greener staff, I would think. Thanks for any input. :)
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Canadianbombar on 08 Jul 2009, 13:45

Wow Tom, I thought I had statistical OCD, but now you're trying to quantitate the un-quantitateable! lol I think that number would be VERY hard to nail down due to too many variables. The mountain itself is the first thing that is going to affect this number. If you have a mountain of lush green pastures with no trees anywhere near where you groom you will obviously stand a much lower chance of tearing a BR tiller wing/cookie catcher off on a tree stump or something. You also run a much lower risk of cracking a windsheild or mirror. If you have no boulders, you're not going to see cracked grousers, worn down tiller tines, or the cutting edge of a blade folded under. Those (to me) are all operator abuse items, but if your mountain is in rough shape the rocks, stumps and trees can take there toll on a cat no matter how carefull or experienced an operator is.

Following the mountain, you have the cat itself. If you're running newer BR/PR's on a really rough mountain with tillers with wings, you can easily end up replacing 2 wings/pivots a year per cat at a cost of $4000. If that same tiller only has cookie catchers and 2 of those get torn off a year, that's only $600. I'm not sure what a PB windsheild costs, but the PR 350 windsheild runs about $4000 (if I remember right), I'm thinking the PB windsheild is less...and they don't seem to crack as easily (I see all kinds of BR's with cracked windsheilds but have never seen a PB with one?!) so I'm thinking a PB fleet would have a lower glass cost.

Lastly, operators. When it comes to cat damage and operator abuse, I don't think years of experience are actually the ONLY variable in this formula...it comes down to the person. Last year, I worked at a larger resort and my shift supervisor was a red neck $%^hole. He had 20 years of experience and broke more stuff in one shift than I broke the entire season because he ran the cats like a red neck #$%hole and didn't have any respect for company property. The year before (my first full time year), I worked as the main groomer for a small eastern resort while the former main groomer (with 3 years experience) went to school and worked 1-2 days a week to relieve me. I worked 85 days of the season, he worked 15....his parts total was $27,000, mine was $350. Again, he was another guy with no respect for company property (or even the finished product) who smashed, crashed and autorotated his way around the mountain. I would actually love to still be working at that mountain, but not everyone can be the Operation Manager's hunting buddy :shock: The production load you place on an operator may also have an effect on the amount of damage a cat incurs, but again this can depend on the person. Some people will rush, do a sloppy job and break stuff in the process, while others will work thru breaks in order to get the job done right. On the flip side, you can give some individuals a normal work load and they will still rush in order to get a longer break. From what I have seen in this business, you can't beat experience production wise, but finding someone experienced and of good character is much harder. Once an operator hits about 5 years of experience there is not a lot of difference between that operator and one who has 20 years experience. Character can make an operator with 2-5 years of experience a much better candidate than a guy with 20 years experience. From my observations, I also think a un-orthodox part of a cat operators hiring formula might be to try and get a look at the candidates personal vehicle. If it's well kept with no visible damage you're likely looking at a better candidate than a guy who has no mirrors and a crunched in quater panel..lol. Maybe ask for a drivers abstract even though they are not running on the road?

So, given all that, I would have to say the number you are searching for depends on your mountain, fleet, and type of individuals you have running your cats, and that every mountain is likely to be a little different. I think all you can do is complile your own data on that one to get an average budget number for your mountain going forward.
Last edited by Canadianbombar on 08 Jul 2009, 14:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Tom400CFI on 08 Jul 2009, 14:15

Well, thanks for the reply...but you didn't answer my question! :lol: What is YOUR mtn damage (rough average here), and what size fleet?

I hear you and I totally understand that all mountains, cats, and operators are different...that is why I'm looking for an AVERAGE from as many places as I can get data from. Hopefully this forum will get more popular and I can get more data. This data is specifically to help me argue a point. I believe that the data, if honestly presented here, will help me be able to help my crew, and my department.

To start off, and set the example here: our mountain is 3500+ acres. We have 13 cats. We groom about 18,000 hours/year. We had about $5800.00 in Mtn Damage this past season. ~$12,000.00 the year before, and ~$18,000, the year before that. Making OUR average for the last three years roughly $12,000/yr.

BTW, I don't count grousers; they are going to fatuge and break some day, no matter how or where you drive a cat. "Mtn Damage" is windshields, bent rams, blades. screens, tillers...pretty much anything that "breaks" due to ONE incident of negligence.
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Canadianbombar on 08 Jul 2009, 15:05

LOL...you posted before I even finished my revision. I would have to say your numbers are very good for your fleet size. The point of my post was stating that every mountain is going to be different because of the harshness of the terrain, operator experience/character/workload and the type of machines run. To me, mountain damage and operator abuse are the same thing, and if you have operators autorotating on a regular basis and cranking turns on hard surfaces and boulders your undercarriage is going to wear out 2-3 times faster than if you have someone running a cat who babies it.

When you count the other random day time operators into the picture for the year before last at the eastern resort there was about $35,000 CAD worth of damage done to one cat of a one cat fleet (2005 loaded BR350 with 3000 hours) at a mountain which grooms about 120 acres a night and runs about 1000 hours a year. That would be a worse than average season (cat was crashed into the woods once doing about 20k of damage) for them and typically that number would be about $10,000 due to the amount of mis-fits kicking around there. At the western resort I worked at last year we had 9 cats, 7 of them past 8000hours, only put 4-5 out per shift, groomed 800-1000 acres per night and about 9000 hours for the season. I would say the total would have been $50,000 CAD ish for the season if it was all fixed properly. Most of it was busted hoses from wings getting folded back and scratched rams from the monster boulders all over the mountain. We had one guy actually actually tear the sub floor out of the drivers side of the cab of a 350 by getting a boulder jamed between the track and the cab. Total spent on parts would have only summed only $5,000 CAD or so as they don't repair everything back to new (cracked windsheilds are not replaced, hole was left in the floor etc etc),
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Tom400CFI on 27 Jul 2009, 10:44

CB, Thanks for the good info. I appreciate that. :)

Anyone else willing to share what they've seen?
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Canadianbombar on 31 Jul 2009, 10:38

Tom400CFI wrote:CB, Thanks for the good info. I appreciate that. :)

Anyone else willing to share what they've seen?


You're welcome Tom. BTW...I think your $15-$20K mark is probably right on the money if you have good operators. At $5800...I think your runs must be manicured like golf courses / you had a good and LUCKY bunch of guys / you just patched things up like the mountain I worked for last year. It doesn't take much to damage a blade or tear off a cookie catcher etc on a big western mountain that gets big powder dumps!
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Tom400CFI on 31 Jul 2009, 16:42

Canadianbombar wrote:
Tom400CFI wrote:CB, Thanks for the good info. I appreciate that. :)

Anyone else willing to share what they've seen?


You're welcome Tom. BTW...I think your $15-$20K mark is probably right on the money if you have good operators. At $5800...I think your runs must be manicured like golf courses / you had a good and LUCKY bunch of guys / you just patched things up like the mountain I worked for last year. It doesn't take much to damage a blade or tear off a cookie catcher etc on a big western mountain that gets big powder dumps!


For sure, it was an exceptional year, damage wise for us. I was extrememly happy with how little was done. Historically we've run between $15k and $20k, but in recent years, that has gone down a LOT. We do fix everything right away as we don't want to "devalue" the image/status of the cats here. We want them to be in top shape...and we want our operators to treat them that way. Not one of our cats is a "piece of shit"; they're all great cats. I never want to hear an operator say that one is (junk). And I don't want them to have a reason to, either.

Can anyone else chime in here? No one wants to talk about "Mtn Damage", it seems. :mrgreen:
Tom400CFI
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby Canadianbombar on 31 Jul 2009, 17:51

Apparently it's just us..lol. Yeah...calling the cats at the place I worked at last year "pieces of shit" was severely frowned upon...although they rarely fixed anything (broken mirrors...windsheilds etc etc stayed BROKEN). The total value of 7 of the 9 cats in the fleet was about 200k. One of the cats spit the drums out of the tiller 4 times in 1 week and the shifts were scheduled with the expectation that at least two of the cats would not make it back to the shop....which occured more often then not..lol. Nope....Never call our cats junk! Needless to say I'm working somewhere else this year and apparently a lot of the other groomers who had been there a lot longer then myself gave up on the place too. I tenatively have a job for this year with Vanoc grooming on the Olympic Alpine events runs in brand new PB's (their budget keeps getting cut due to over-runs elsewhere ..so by the time the actual Olympics roll around they may be down to 2 guys from the original plan of 20..lol). ....but I really prefer BR/PR shops. Too bad I don't have American citizenship ..I'd hit you up! lol
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Re: Mountain Damage input please....

Postby partylight216 on 01 Aug 2009, 05:02

Anyone do trail cut backs? I can say no, not at my mountain. Some of the trails are getting hard to ride if you are over 5'. Groomming them is even more of a horror show. I've seen though, a lot of careless damage of groomers trying to go BIG, way to early with their skills. Anyways, you can tell by the tower pads on who is being careless out there...
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