ASV Scout SC-50 a Versatile Vehicle for Ski Trails

Posted by on April 3rd 2008 in Grooming

Scout SC-50Grooming ski trails and setting up race courses is one of my favorite activities. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve the job that I can do or for equipment that will make the job easier. When I first saw a picture of the ASV Scout SC-50 I was intrigued. From the picture it looked to be just the perfect vehicle to fill the gap between a snowmobile and a large Pisten Bully type of vehicle. I made some inquires with the ASV folks and was put in touch with Hannah Tanata at ASV. She invited me to tour the factory and share with her my thoughts about the Scout as a grooming vehicle. Hannah also offered the use of a Scout to support Marshall hosting a Super Tour Sprint Race.

ASV delivered the Scout SC-50 early in January 2008 and we had use of it on the Marshall Campus until the middle of March. The model that ASV delivered had an enclosed cab, dump box and plow.

What did we use the Scout for and how did it perform?

Scout SC-50The main tasks that needed to be accomplished for hosting the Super Tour race was the placement of a lights and a timing trailer onto the race course. We also needed to plow out several sidewalks and access roads for support vehicles and spectators. It was in this area that the Scout SC-50 excelled. The Scout is an excellent tow vehicle when towing large equipment on snow. I was able to tow a large construction trailer through about 1 and a half feet of loose snow with no trouble at all. On the packed ski trail it was hard to tell that I was even pulling anything. For the placement of ASV Pulling Light Plantsthe trailer mounted lights the Scout was perfect, it was able to pull the lights up steep slippery slopes with ease and without causing damage to the skiing surface.

As a plow vehicle the Scout SC-50 is very useful. We used it to plow out a temporary parking area on a field, we plowed off several sidewalks and a couple of access roads. It performed much better at these tasks than a truck mounted plow could have due to the deep snow that we were dealing with.

How did the Scout SC-50 perform as a grooming vehicle? For the initial grooming test I pulled a 8 foot wide Cragin Groomer on a packed trail. This groomer did not perform well behind the Scout. The Scout’s tracks left a rut that the Cragin Groomer was not able to fill. The trail conditions during this test were about an inch of crust over about 6 inches of snowmobile packed snow. (Pulled by a snowmobile the Cragin groomer does a great job of leveling trails and making icy trails skiable again, but it does not dig down in the snow deep enough to fill in the tracks left by the Scout in crust over soft snow conditions)

Scout pulling a 84I then contacted Warren MacDougall the from St. Joseph’s Equipment, the local ASV dealer. He was very interested in helping me test the Scout as a ski trail groomer. Warren rigged up a special hitch that would work with out YTS Ginzu groomer and brought out another ASV Scout that was equipped with the wider snow tracks. This combination worked much better. The Ginzu that we tested was only 84″ wide so it just covered the area behind the Scout and no wider.

During this testing both Warren and I had experienced some steering issues with the Scout. There is a bit of a learning curve that goes with steering a Scout. One might expect it to behave just like a car since it has a steering wheel and you tend to over steer. What we had noticed beyond that was a tendency for the Scout to swing a bit from side to side either going down steep hills or at lower speeds on tar surfaces.

Scout SC-50To address our concerns ASV sent out the lead engineer for the Scout, Troy Steinbrecher. Troy brought with him a Scout SC-50 fitted with just a cab and snow tracks, no plow or dump box. Troy also brought with a 108″ wide YTS Ginzu Groomer that had just been delivered to ASV. This combination turned out to be an excellent choice for the grooming of cross country ski trails. Without the plow the Scout handled much better and without the dump box it was easy to see the groomer and make adjustments to it from the cab. The snow at this time was very well packed down from previous grooming, plus it was very icy due to a recent midwinter rain. The Scout handled going up and down our

steep terrain with no difficulty while pulling the Ginzu. I was hoping to test this combination on deep snow that had never been groomed. For this we used a section on the baseball field that had about 2 feet of unpacked, ice crusted powder. For this section it took about 3 passes before the trail would have been a very good skiing surface.

What did I learn about the ASV Scout SC-50?

1. ASV is a great company to work with. They are generous, responsive and build a high quality product.

2. The Scout SC-50 is an excellent plow and towing vehicle. It can perform without problem in situations that a 4 wheel drive vehicle would flounder.

3. Fitted with just a cab, snow tracks and paired with a 108″ YTS Ginzu Groomer the Scout SC-50 is an excellent choice for a grooming vehicle. It is warmer and more comfortable than a snowmobile and cost a fraction of what a large Pisten Bully type of machine might cost.

4. The heavy plow has a negative impact on the steering of the Scout SC-50. This is especially true going down steep slopes or on tar. It is also important to first try steering the Scout in a wider open area to get a feel of how the Scout steers. It took all of the folks that used the Scout here at Marshall a few moments to feel comfortable with the steering. Once they felt the difference between driving a Scout and a car, then all could operate it safely and comfortably.

5. The dump box is a great feature, but makes it difficult to see any grooming equipment that you are pulling behind. I would lean towards having a dump box for summer work and taking it off for winter grooming.

In conclusion, I think that the Scout SC-50 has the potential to be the perfect grooming vehicle for a trail system that needs more vehicle than a snowmobile and cannot afford or doesn’t need a large snowcat. I would like to see even wider snow tracks offered for the Scout as well as a lighter plow for plowing drifts on ski trails. I would also be very interested in a hydraulic powered snowtiller sized for the Scout. This might require a bigger engine or possibly turbo charging the Scout, but with the addition of a snowtiller the Scout SC-50 would be the machine of choice for mid-sized ski areas and mid-sized ski area budgets!

Slide Show of the ASV Scout SC-50 at Marshall

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One Response to “ASV Scout SC-50 a Versatile Vehicle for Ski Trails”

  1. William Schneider Says:

    I am Park Supervisor for Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Dept. We are interested in purchasing a ASV Scout. Are you still using the one in the article? How well does it work? Is your course hilly? Have you come up with a tiller attachment. How easy does the blade attachment come off? Would you buy the same package again? My cell phone number is 651-248-8217

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