The brutal winter season of 2013-14 was one of the coldest, toughest winters in recent years. It put grounds crews and their equipment to the test — and they survived with help from products like the Toro Groundsmaster® 7210 with the Polar Trac™ System.

Handles tough snow removal in winter – and a rugged zero-turn mower in summer.

This unit is a rugged zero-turn mower throughout the summer mowing season, but converts to a snow blower and snow removal machine with tracks and a heated hard cab for year-round productivity. We asked two customers what they like most about their Polar Trac units, and what they rely on them for in tough winters like the one that’s now behind us.


“We literally clear miles of sidewalks with three machines and three operators.”

Jim Hornung Jr., of Elbers Landscape Service in Buffalo, N.Y., uses his three Groundsmaster 7210 machines with Polar Trac Systems to do commercial snow removal for accounts ranging from hospitals to schools to office parks. All three machines are equipped with V-blade snowplows. “One of my operators has been running a Polar Trac unit since 2007 and he can go through any amount of snow — whether it’s a three-and-a-half-foot drift or two inches of light, fluffy snow,” Hornung says. “The machine is not a bulldozer, but handled properly, it does not get overwhelmed by snow.”

When asked what he likes about the Polar Trac System, Hornung lists several things. “One, we like the efficiency. Two, the comfort, the heat, the space and the sound reduction are all better than being out behind a traditional snow thrower or even a shovel — so that reduces fatigue. And then finally, it does a better job because we’re getting a wider path on the first pass,” he says.

“We’ve increased our ability to do work without increasing our manpower,” notes Hornung. “We literally clear miles of sidewalks with three machines and three operators. We don’t have 10 guys with snowblowers trying to keep that pace. We looked at the cost-benefit analysis and decided it makes sense because it’s difficult to find quality staff to be out in those extreme conditions. This allows us to need less staff and that’s a pretty significant benefit to us.”

“The Toro machines have solid engines and they’re very dependable,” Hornung continues. “I own three and we’re adding another in the fall, so that says something right there.”


“That machine has become a mainstay for our operation.”

Doug Lauer, landcare supervisor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, uses the Polar Trac System especially for lighter-duty snow removal. “Once you get it converted, it’s set to go and you can do a tremendous amount with it,” he says. “The broom is fantastic for light snows in terms of giving you a nice, clear, groomed surface. If we receive over two inches, we use the blade; it’s also effective for getting down and cleaning next to curbs lines and curb cuts. You have good visibility, and it does a great job. If walkways are drifted over, we go in with the snow blowers and blow it all out. By blowing the snow, you can direct it where you want it, and you can avoid the windrow and drifting issues.”

“Oftentimes, we go from the blade to the snow blower and back to the broom; switching implements is not a big deal — a couple minutes and you’re back on the road,” Lauer adds. “That machine has become a mainstay for our operation. I’ve been really happy with it.”


Lauer also says he likes the Polar Trac System because it has good traction. “With the tracks on them, we aren’t slipping or sliding around. We have immediate traction, which is a big deal when you’re going up a slope or jumping up a curb,” he explains. “You can spin the machine on a dime and go back the other direction, so you don’t need big areas to turn around in. It’s hard to do narrow walkways using anything other than a Polar Trac because of how narrow the accessories are. They do such a nice job.”

For more information about Toro’s Polar Trac system for Groundsmaster 7200/7210 mowers, call your local distributor or visit