The Nordic Club’s most venerable snow machine is Alice. The 1985 Skidoo Bombardier was dubbed Alice by long time groomer, Van Bennett, but the machine’s history with the club goes back much farther than even Van’s service. The Panhandle Nordic Club was about to take over grooming of the Park N Ski Area in 1990, but had no snow machine to accomplish the work. The State of Idaho gifted the club with Alice to fill the need. Alice went on to groom the area for twelve years until an eighteen-year update of the Bombardier was added to the club’s snowmachine fleet. Willem Huender, his son Spenser, and Van Bennett coaxed and cajoled Alice, holding her together with clamps and baling wire to make the rounds at Fourth of July. With the addition of a third snow machine in 2012, Alice was effectively put out to pasture, called to duty on occasion to groom the odd golf course, but typically kept stored in the Forest Service’s Fernan Station bone yard.
The current season has been a challenge. Early wet snow brought down many trees across the ski and snowshoe trails and a subsequent heavy snow added to the bounty. To make matters worse, the newest snow machine suffered a failure in its electronics that will require a couple weeks to cure. We were down to one machine when we need two. Alice was called up. Of course, she had not budged from her birth in the boneyard for three years minimum and to add to the insult, the old gas poured into her tank contained an over-the-limit ration of water. After a couple days of tender loving care that included drying her out, replumbing her gas lines, and more than a few carburetor adjustments, John Lee managed to bring the old girl back to life. Saturday, Alice rode to the rescue grooming the inner core trails at Fourth of July, while her newer cousin was off on a tree cutting expedition.