Snowcat: Blading Techniques

Snowcat: Blading Techniques

Snowcat Operator TrainingSnowcat Blading

Here at Safety One, we train Basic and Advanced operation of snowcats in varying degrees of difficulty.  Many time we receive email inquiries about
specific topics, and one of the most common is about blading. For example, these are the types of many questions we hear:


How do I cut a road in a sidehill? Is it recommended to plow with front and rear differential locked? How much snow should we be taking with each pass
when cutting a sidehill. So far I am effective in building a wall of snow in font of our *********, how do I fix that?  Is backblading a good method for road building?  Which direction should we angle the blade? Common sense says angle the blade into the bank and opposite to the sidehill slope. But we find if we angle the blade with the slope the lower track fills in nicely.

Answer: Not so simple.

The blading technique you use is very different between different types of machines.  For example 2 tracks blade much different than 4 track machines.  Also some machines have blades that will tilt side to the side and drop a corner side to side while some machines have blades that will only preform one of these functions.  Some clients have both different types of blades as well as both 2 and 4 track machines and each will require a different technique for blading with both.  The moisture content in the snow in specific operating areas is different, and misreading the snow could result in a potentially serious or fatal accident when blading as happened in Nevada and Colorado recently and El Magre, in Colorado a number of years ago (especially if they plan to use the Tuckers–nothing wrong with Tuckers they just blade very differently).  Any blading training needs to include reading the snow and knowing when and where it is safe to blade as when and where it is not.  I wish I could give general answers here but I cannot due to the variable snow conditions operators face as well as the variety of equipment they operate.  In teaching for various students I have on occasion had opportunity to demonstrate extreme blading techniques but would need more field time to let the students get some hands on practice to develop competency (minimum one day).

Snow blading is not like blading anything else.

To learn more about blading, attend our Advanced Snowcat Operator Course or schedule a custom private course for your operators.

Be Safe,

Art Seely


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