SHERIDAN — Three years ago, David Haile purchased Yellowstone Track Systems, LLC and made the business a family venture to include his wife and son, a recent University of Wyoming graduate. Now, with one non-kin employee, the company will again provide equipment to groom the trails at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Before Haile owned the company, the former owner partnered with Olympics affiliates who helped garner necessary infrastructure for the games, including grooming equipment for cross-country ski races. Haile’s equipment currently grooms the trails for the Black Mountain Nordic Club in the Bighorn Mountains, as well as several other locations around the U.S. and the globe. In two years, the YTS brand will make an appearance behind Bombardier sleds well ahead of the world-class athletes.
“Our equipment is out there way before the skiers are out there,” Haile said. “Most of the grooming will be done with snow cats.”
Haile said YTS’ equipment comes in to do the work the snow cats cannot because of their hefty weight and slicing up of the snow. YTS’ machines smooth out the snow and create grooves, called corduroy, that visually looks like its name. Those tight grooves help skiers make their way across the snow, allowing more of a grip than you would see on a downhill ski slope.
Because Haile is less likely to attend the Olympics himself, he and his marketing manager — his son — anticipate utilizing social media to see their machinery in action on the Olympic racing track. Pictures line the walls of the office on Kroe Lane showing areas outside of Sheridan County that utilize Haile’s product.
Although the busy season for the company runs from now until around March, the business works to keep its lone non-family employee busy throughout the year building machines in preparation for the upcoming winter season.
The connection of bringing 17 Sheridan County-made machines to the competitive Olympic trails still amazes Haile’s son.
“It’s sort of unreal that a tiny little small town Wyoming company, population 17,000 Sheridan...to be featured in something like that,” Mark Haile said as he zipped ribbons into tight curls around a mug to be sent with a shipment to a client. “From a marketing standpoint, that’s huge. You can’t pay for that kind of press unless you’re Coke or somebody.”
With Thomas Orum slapping nails into a homemade two-by-four wooden crate surrounding yet another piece of equipment set for another customer, David Haile delights in the large shipment moving out of Sheridan County Thursday, headed for Beijing via Salt Lake City, Utah, and Long Beach, California.
“I’m really happy to be a part of (the Olympics),” Haile said.