Two years ago, Daniel Osborne was driving from his home in Colorado to his vacation house in Florida, and along the way, he saw a single machine mowing a median that was three lanes wide. A 30-year veteran to skiing, Osborne immediately thought of the extensive resources used to groom ski slopes.
As visions of up to 20 snowcats in formation danced in his head, Osborne was hit with what a tremendous waste of fuel and energy go into ski-slope grooming. After some research, a patent and positive feedback from ski resorts, Osborne became the CEO and founder of EcoGroomer, Inc., a company that provides fuel-efficient and cost-efficient snow-grooming machines.
During his research, Osborne discovered that there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in terms of efficiency in the snow-grooming industry, and with only two major manufacturers in the world, neither of which are in the United States, there hasn’t been a lot of competition or much incentive to be revolutionary. This meant that Osborne had a great opportunity to save resorts a significant amount of money, and in the process, help save our struggling planet.
EcoGroomer uses patented multiple-tiller devices called snow processing units (SPUs) to groom slopes. By dragging a tiller behind the snowcat-style machine and pulling side tillers, the machine is able to cover a 200 percent greater surface area than existing snow-grooming equipment. As a result, resorts can replace three machines with one and decrease the number of snow-machine operators needed. In addition, EcoGroomer has a more aerodynamic and fuel-efficient design, it is the only eco-oriented brand name in the snow-grooming industry and it is the only competitive snow-grooming product based on American technology.
The primary benefits of EcoGroomer stem from the product’s sheer efficiency and its ability to save operating, labor and fuel costs related to nightly ski-slope grooming. Offering enticing business benefits, an EcoGroomer slashes diesel costs by more than a third and reduces labor costs by two-thirds. The product essentially pays for itself within four years and boasts a significant cost savings over traditional groomers, as evidenced by this side-by-side comparison.
While these considerable cost savings are attractive to ski resorts, snow-sport enthusiasts and resort executives alike will find the fuel reduction appealing because of the lighter impact it has on Mother Earth. In fact, Vail Resorts anticipates saving up to one million gallons of diesel fuel per year just by converting a portion of its snow-grooming machine fleet. EcoGroomer’s goal is to save 20 million gallons of diesel fuel by 2020. That translates into a clear reduction of crude oil and air pollution, and a greener resort.
EcoGroomer aims to have its products in operation by the end of the 2013 ski season. Business is moving forward, and each week seems to bring new partnerships and successes. For example, the company is partnering with Volvo as its exclusive engine supplier and with Power Equipment Co. of Denver as its first distributor.
To effectively launch EcoGroomer, this Colorado-based company is seeking funding at a grassroots level. The company is in the process of raising capital from the public, which is difficult because the snow-sports industry is still a niche industry. To learn more about EcoGroomer and its investment opportunities that begin at as low as $2,500, visit www.ecogroomer.com or contact Daniel Osborne at EcoGroomer@gmail.com.
Next time you are gliding down the white stuff at a resort, check out the groomers and you may start seeing green.