From the cheapest DIY snow groomer drags to the shiny factory-made units, the design and price of trail groomers vary wildly. These groomers can be towed by many different vehicles such as ATVs/UTVs, tractors, snowmobiles, snowcats, or even cars. They do a good job when it comes to packing fresh snow or eliminating moguls off the trail!
If you are considering buying or building your own tow-behind snow groomer, this post is for you.
We are PowerSportsGuide have compiled the best DIY snow groomer ideas, along with some great factory-built models under one roof!
8 Best Snow Groomer Drag Ideas
You can use many different types of tools to groom a trail, from discarded car tires to professional groomer drags. Which one is right for you depends on many factors like the size of the trail, terrain, snow conditions, your budget, and so on.
Without further ado, here is a list of the best snow groomer drag ideas:
- Bed springs
- Shipping pallet or wooden ladder
- Discarded car/truck tires
- Chain link fence
- DIY wood trail groomers drag
- DIY metal trail groomers drag
- Factory-built trail groomer drag
Let’s move on and take a closer look at each!
1. Bed Spring
Do you want to groom a cross country ski track in your backyard, you probably won’t spend thousands of dollars for a professional snow groomer drag.
In this case, you may want to use an old bed spring as a groomer. This may seem like a strange idea, but metal box springs do a very good job when it comes to grooming smaller trails. Just place some weight on it to increase its efficiency.
2. Shipping Pallet/Wooden Ladder
Besides bed springs, shipping pallets and wooden ladders can also be used for grooming trails. They are easy to find and literally cost nothing.
If you use it a lot, a wooden structure can fall apart in a short period of time. Since the parts they’re made of are often just nailed together, they can easily loosen during use.
If you want to groom with a wooden pallet, best practice is to use a rope that is at least 6 feet long. You don’t want the pallet right behind your towing vehicle!
3. Discarded Tires
Hauling used tires is another great way to groom trails. You can use a bigger tractor/truck tire, or just attach three smaller car tires in a triangle.
The main advantage of this design that tires can cut the moguls and fill up the dips on the surface. Since they are heavy, they can also compact the snow very well, especially large tractor wheel tires.
On the other hand, don’t overlook the towing capacity of your vehicle. Pulling heavy tires are definitely not for small machines!
4. Chain Link Fence
Another great DIY trail groomer can be made of chain link fencing. It’s simple, cheap, and easy-to-build. All you need is two fence posts, a piece chain link fence, and some weight like discarded car tires.
Mount the posts to the front and end of the fence and fasten the tires on top of the unit. It’s recommended that you cut the top of the tires off and place weights in them.
Be careful and don’t add too much weight, as you don’t want the tires to dig too deeply into the snow!
The chain link fence with tires on it not only grooms the snow, but also sweeps and clears the entire track very well!
Compared to other ideas the fence can be easily damaged by rocks and stumps buried in the snow.
5. DIY Snow Groomer Made of Wood
If you are looking for something more durable, your other option is to build a wood snow groomer.
It makes sense to use wood in many cases, since it’s easy to work with and this material is heavy by its very nature. However, if it turns out too lightweight you can add extra weight to it for better results.
Here’s a good video on how to build a homemade trail groomer:
6. DIY Trail Groomer Drag Made of Metal
If you are looking for something more durable, you should consider building your snow groomer out of metal.
You can also equip your groomer with a hand crank to lower and raise the cutters based on the terrain and snow conditions.
7. Buy a Factory-Made Groomer Drags
If you are looking for something off the shelf, you can find many different snow groomer drags on the market.
If you need a custom design, but you don’t want to bother building it, you can still get it done by a professional.
Let’s face it, custom snow groomer drags are not complex structures, so virtually any professional welding shop can build one for you.
If you need to regularly groom longer trails, best practice is to invest in a tractor or a snowcat that is specially built for snow maintenance. These snow groomers are equipped with a dozer blade, tiller, and a smoother to make a perfect surface for any winter sport.
The only cons of these machines are their hefty price tag and maintenance cost.
How to Build a DIY Snow Groomer Drag
If you want to build a DIY snow groomer drag, the most important factors you should consider are as follows:
- Purpose of use/Trail conditions
- Dimensions and weight
- Towing vehicle
- Materials and accessories
Purpose of Use
Groomers are used on many different trails and terrain from the narrow fat bike trails to huge downhill ski slopes. That’s why the first step is to determine what the purpose of use is!
The most common trail groomers are built to maintain the snow on trails and roads, but here’s a short list of the most common snow groomer drags:
- Fat bike trail groomers
- Cross country ski trail groomers
- Snowmobile trail groomers
- Downhill ski slope groomers
- Camp road groomers
When it comes to buying or building a drag, snow conditions are often overlooked.
But it’s good to know that some groomer drags work well on deep powder, while others do a good job on hard crusty snow.
Snow Groomer Drag Dimension and Weight
The main differences between the various groomer drags are their weight and dimensions.
As a rule of thumb, the wider the trail you want to maintain the bigger groomer you will need. The smallest groomer drags are built for grooming fat bike and single-track cross-country ski trails.
Are you wondering which are the typical snow groomer drag dimensions?
It’s safe to say that the narrow groomers are 2-4 feet wide, while the width of the bigger models can reach 4-12 feet. Regarding length, most of the groomers are about 6-20 feet long.
The most popular snow groomer dimensions are arguably as follows:
- 4 x 6 feet
- 4.5 x 8 feet
- 5 x 8 feet
- 5 x 10 feet
- 5 x 12 feet
- 6 x 16 feet
- 10 x 20 feet
- Number of blades: 2-6
These are just some examples to get some idea about the average dimensions of snow groomers. Sure, you can build your groomer in any size you want, based on the width of the trail you want to groom or your vehicle’s towing capacity.
Materials and Accessories
As far as materials, you can use virtually anything that you can find at home or you can easily get. You can build a smaller groomer drag from wood, discarded tires, chain link fence, or bed springs.
If you want to build a bigger groomer for regular use, best practice is to build it of metal. Since the groomer needs to be heavy for packing the snow, you can either build it from a heavier material, or add some extra weight to it.
Also don’t forget about the accessories!
The most useful addition to any groomer drag is a height control, which enables lowering or even rising the knives (cutters). Since the terrain and snow conditions often change you must also adjust the cutters as well.
If you lower the cutters they can bite more aggressively into the moguls, but it also makes the groomer harder to pull. The other advantage of the height control is that you can set the resistance of the drag based on your vehicle’s towing capacity and traction.
When you groom the trail, the key is to carry as much snow as you can without wasting and spilling off. But don’t forget, the rule of thumb is the more snow the drag carries, the harder it is to pull!
The most convenient way to adjust the cutters by installing a smaller electric winch on the groomer drag with a control on the handlebars. But if you want to keep it simple, a manual winch can also do the job.
If you have to take the groomer over long distances, it makes sense to add a toolbox and a pair of foldable wheels to its rear side. You can simply tow it on these wheels when it’s out of use!
Since grooming is often done in the dark, many owners prefer to add lights to it for better visibility.
The Towing Vehicle
Don’t forget that you will need a vehicle to drag your groomer. The power and the towing capacity you will need strongly depend on the design and weight of the groomer drag, as well as the terrain and snow conditions. The most commonly used machines for trail grooming are as follows:
- Car with tracks
Tracksleds (also known as snowdogs) are often used for grooming fat bike trails. They are small and lightweight, so can be transported easily in smaller trucks and cars.
Another advantage of its small dimensions is that you can easily maneuver it around trees, bushes, and in tight places.
Tracksleds are also cheaper compared to any other vehicle since prices start from about $3,000.
ATVs and UTVs are also commonly used for grooming trails. However, you may want to replace their wheels with tracks. The result is better traction and lower ground pressure.
These may not be the best solution, but snowmobiles and cars/trucks (equipped with tracks) can also be used for pulling trail groomers.
When it comes to grooming longer ski and snowmobile trails, best practice is to use a bigger vehicle like a tractor or a snowcat.
Tractors with tracks are quite popular, since after a short transformation they can be used year-round. Moreover, they are far cheaper than snowcats!
Snow Grooming Drags for Sale
If you prefer buying a factory-made snow groomer drag, don’t worry. You can find many reputable manufacturers on the market!
If you are looking for a snow groomer drag for sale, you can make a good start by visiting one (or more) of these websites:
Additionally, you can find many used snow groomer drags for sale on Craigslist, eBay, and other online ad sites.
Snow Groomer Drag Prices
The prices of a new snow groomer drag ranges from $1,000 up to $20,000. The smallest models typically cost about $1,000-$5,000 but be prepared to pay $10,000-$20,000 for a heavy-duty trail groomer.
Keep in mind that these large models are typically 8-12 feet wide and 15-20 feet long. Thus, they are mainly towed by snowcats and bigger tractors.
If you want to groom a trail, you will need a snow groomer drag, which is also known as a tow-behind snow groomer or trail groomer.
These large metal frames feature some knives (cutters) to cut the moguls on the trail. They are also quite heavy to compact the fresh snow.
If you are looking for a trail groomer, you can find many different models on the market. Your other option is to build your own drag from metal, wood, or even discarded tires.
DIY snow groomers do a good job on cross country ski and fat bike trails, but if you want to regularly groom bigger trails, best practice is to invest in a durable factory-made trail groomer.