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post #1 of 9 Old 10-05-2016, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie Needing Machine Reccomendation

Hi everybody!

I'm new to the forum and have never owned a snow blower before; I've seen a terrific knowledge base from members on this site and I'm looking for suggestions for my specific situation.

I've recently moved from a valley location in Western Colorado to a mountain area (9100 ft elevation) with 300 inch annual snowfall, mostly powder. The space I have to clear is mostly 3/4 inch gravel between and is not completely level...I wouldn't call it steep or anything, just not level.

So, I'm looking for a 27-28 inch mid-grade 2 stage machine, but am not sure which brand. I have seen concerns about Ariens Auto Steer on unleveled/gravel surfaces. Anything to this? I have also looked online at Honda (too expensive) and the Husqvarna ST327P but don't know much about it's reliability. This machine will no doubt get fairly heavy use.

Any thoughts or suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 Old 10-05-2016, 09:28 PM
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I lived in Breck for a while some years back, but the long drive was paved and at the time I used a 4wd tractor with plow blade.

I'm sure others will ask these questions in order to help you, so I'll ask them now...

What is the length and width of your drive ?
What is the topography on both sides of your drive ? (flat, slopes away or toward drive, etc... Can you blow to both sides)
What is your budget ? No sense suggesting a $2,700 Honda if your budget is $1,200
Any end of driveway issues with plows ?


There are others who can help with the gravel drive issue, but I don't have any experience with them myself.
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post #3 of 9 Old 10-05-2016, 09:32 PM
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Because you have a gravel driveway, you must have a tracked machine. Because the auger bucket on a tracked machine can be set at a certain height above the surface to be blown. In contrast, the bucket on a wheeled machine drags/scrapes on the surface to be blown, sucking up all of your gravel.

Honda HS1332TA is what the ski resorts use. I use the older model HS1132TA, but I am at 6800' on the West Slope of the Sierras. At 9100' In Colorado, you will have lighter but more snow, the 13 HP HS1332TA is IMHO what you need.
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post #4 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russkat View Post
I lived in Breck for a while some years back, but the long drive was paved and at the time I used a 4wd tractor with plow blade.

I'm sure others will ask these questions in order to help you, so I'll ask them now...

What is the length and width of your drive ?
What is the topography on both sides of your drive ? (flat, slopes away or toward drive, etc... Can you blow to both sides)
What is your budget ? No sense suggesting a $2,700 Honda if your budget is $1,200
Any end of driveway issues with plows ?


There are others who can help with the gravel drive issue, but I don't have any experience with them myself.
Thanks!
Drive is single wide about 200 ft.
Topography is relatively flat both sides in relation to the drive
Would like to stay around $1200-$1600 price range
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by railupmytail View Post
Thanks!
Drive is single wide about 200 ft.
Topography is relatively flat both sides in relation to the drive
Would like to stay around $1200-$1600 price range
One option that I would certainly consider, being that I've owned them in the past is a Gravely tractor (ride on, not walk behind) with a 38,40,44, or 48 inch blower.
Of course with 14hp, I think the 48" is a bit large.

There is one currently listed locally, it's a late model 14g with hydraulic lift.
The price is quite good considering the condition.
UPDATE... The seller lowered the price to $899 ** Great price on that one !!!
Gravely Professional 14G
You would just need to locate a blower for it which would not be too difficult.
Having the hydraulic lift would allow you to suspend the blower at any height above the ground while blowing.
The Gravely's are one of the best built garden tractors ever made and extremely durable/well made. All gear drive, no belts.
Dry weight is 853 lbs and with the rear mounted engine, the traction in snow is quite good. Add wheel weights and chains and you should be good to go.
The blower is pto shaft driven and protected by a slip clutch.
The sister site... Gravely - MyTractorForum.com - The Friendliest Tractor Forum and Best Place for Tractor Information has so many users/former dealers/former service techs active on the forum that you can solve any issues that come up.
Parts availability are not an issue.
Finally, they hold their value extremely well. I used my 16g gravely for 5 years and sold it for 50 dollars more than I paid for it.

A similar sized machine...

Last edited by russkat; 10-08-2016 at 11:15 PM.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 10:34 AM
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I'm not an expert, but have spent enough time here to know that you DO need a tracked unit for gravel driveway (the elevation doesn't really matter at this point). The most affordable NEW blower would be the Husqvarna ST327T or 330T. With a good dealer, you should be able to get the 327 just under $2K & the for maybe $150 more. I just got the new ST330P (wheeled), for about $250 off the $1799 list. Note that mine is very front heavy; do NOT think about getting a wheeled one and just 'holding it up' to skim over the stones...although if you crank up the skids, is there any chance that a big, wheeled blower would work well on gravel?? Anyways, Honda & Ariens are great, but are they worth $1000 more than the Husky w/a 4 year warranty (free)? I didn't think so when I made my choice.

Gravely seems a bit old & hard to maintain & mount/dismount attachments. They have a cult following for good reasons, but I don't think I'd go that route. But if you need a tractor for your cutting your lawn in your new home, you might just wanna get a good tractor with a plow or blower (you CAN plow a gravel driveway/road; just like a blower, you set the blade a few inches above the gravel & you end up with a packed snow surface on your road).
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post #7 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 11:44 AM
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I think for you an Ariens Deluxe 30 would be a great choice. Size and power right there and within that budget.
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 12:45 PM
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-06-2016, 02:01 PM
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