BTB 40: LES COGNÉES 2015

Held every second year in Les Gets, a picture-perfect ski town in the French Alps, Les Cognées is a truly grassroots forestry event.
Noël Viguier operating a DW610C, another Tigercat skidder that was entered in the competition.

Noël Viguier operating a DW610C, another Tigercat skidder that was entered in the competition.

It is organized by mountain skidder enthusiast Thomas Mudry and a committee of skidder operators as a friendly skills competition and a really big party. In addition, there is a forestry fair element with around fifty industry related exhibitors.

Dieter Clohse, Marc Breuer, Piers Eyre-Walker and Eddie Leboutte from Clohse Group along with customer and champion chainsaw sculpter Nicolas Gombert (centre) pose with an ice sculpture of a 610E skidder created by Nicolas for the event.

Dieter Clohse, Marc Breuer, Piers Eyre-Walker and Eddie Leboutte from Clohse Group along
with customer and champion chainsaw sculpter Nicolas Gombert (centre) pose with an ice sculpture of a 610E skidder created by Nicolas for the event.

 

Anyone in the world who works in the forest industry should experience this event at least once. If cable skidders racing around a muddy course trying to avoid touching slalom poles at the foot of a ski hill in the mountains isn’t enough of a draw, there is always the massive beer tent open from morning until night. A team of hardworking bartenders managed to sell about 20 000 litres (5,300 gallons) of beer over the two day event to an estimated 15,000 attendees.

Massive crowds watch the finale as skidders push each other around and attempt to climb the steepest slopes. The two day event attracted an estimated 15,000 spectators.

Massive crowds watch the finale as skidders push each other around and attempt to climb the steepest slopes. The two day event attracted an estimated 15,000 spectators.

 

The t-shirt pretty much sums up the spirit of this grassroots event.

The t-shirt pretty much sums up the spirit of this grassroots event.

The crowd seemed to be made up of anyone related to the forest industry from equipment operators to hand fallers to sawmill workers – all with entire families in tow. In addition to visitors from all over France, people travelled from Belgium and Switzerland and there was no shortage of tourists and curious onlookers from nearby villages.

There were two Tigercat machines among the sixteen entries. Nicolas Gombert’s new crane equipped DW610E was piloted by Clohse Forestry Company grapple skidder operator, Michaël Nivarlé. Clohse Group customer, Noël Viguier, entered his DW610C. The course required a great deal of driving and winching skill as the operators tried to negotiate the logs around the course without hitting the slalom poles. The operators used the two cables (with one cable attached near the middle of the load) to manipulate the logs around tight corners and narrow forest passageways.

Michaël Nivarlé, skidder operator for Clohse Forestry Company, negotiates a sharp turn and steep incline in the course.

Michaël Nivarlé, skidder operator for Clohse Forestry Company, negotiates a sharp turn and steep incline in the course.