Something Completely Different: Horseback Rides With Sage

When was your last horseback ride? Was it a nose-to-tail, hardly thrilling experience? Well, you can forget it. We’ll show you a horseback riding experience the way it was meant to be.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we explore big, wide-open spaces. We ride through open meadows, aspen groves, stands of old-growth spruce forest, and along mountain lakes. Our horses are trained to ride side-by-side rather than in single-file formation.

Where most outfitters are limited to single-track Forest Service trails, we offer something completely different. Operating on a historic ranch near Vail, Colorado, we get to explore 6,000 acres of private, spectacular scenery. The Ranch is the size of Vail Ski area, and it’s exclusive to our guests. Not only will you be able to break formation, you’ll have the place to yourself!

Our base of operations on this incredible ranch provides the perfect summer home for our horses. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a beautiful new place on horseback, and our excellent wranglers will help make sure you feel comfortable and ready to enjoy it. We can accommodate riders of any ability level.

Perched above the Vail Valley and overlooking the Eagle River Canyon, this ranch is a quick drive from Vail and Beaver Creek. We offer free hotel pickup and two-hour rides that will have you back in time to enjoy the rest of your day.

Take a look at this video that highlights our horseback riding experience:

To learn more about horseback rides with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. For availability and reservations, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Early Summer Rafting and Runoff Explained

By Cole Bangert

Undammed rivers have a unique quality when the weather warms up and the snow melts. We get to watch the delayed reaction on an hourly basis from our office on the bank of the Eagle River.

Snow accumulates throughout the winter at elevations between 8,000 and 14,000 feet. In the spring, the lowest snow melts first. Waterways become murky and levels are boosted, but not to floatable levels. On cold days, the water level goes down. On warm days is rises, but this fluctuation is minor, since the amount of snow melting at lower elevations is not very substantial early in the spring.

As spring progresses, the deeper snowpack at higher elevations begins to warm and melt. This is the time period when you will see the rivers start to have dramatic changes. The water will be muddy, cold, and fast.

In the Vail Valley, we watch the Eagle River fluctuate on a 12-hour cycle. For example, the river will be at its highest flows at about 2:00 a.m. Just 12 hours prior, that snow was quickly melting during the hottest part the day, around 2:00PM.

As days warm or cool, we can almost always predict what the river levels will do the next day. For example, if the river has been steadily rising for five days, and then we get a cold rain storm, we can predict a drop in river levels the next day.

This often seems backwards to many visitors. Rain should equal higher river levels, right? But here’s what happens: that rain is actually snow up at high elevations. Instead of the snowpack melting and raising the river, the storm actually re-freezes the snow and the water levels will drop the next day.

So, what happens when the weather is the opposite? When we get an absolute scorcher of a day, we expect to see a massive jump in water flows the very next day. The hot weather heats and quickly melts the snowpack. We have seen the river go up by over 30% overnight.

The peak flow is different every year. It is totally dependent on how much snow fell over the winter. After the peak, the water will slowly diminish in volume. The river will drop in level much slower and more gradually than when it rises with snowmelt on its way up to the peak.

As we get into July, the only snowpack remaining is on the highest peaks. At this time of year, our fluctuations mellow out. Summer temperatures are more stable and warm, so a consistent melt rate occurs. Eventually, all the snow melts, and the water you see in the river is a result of ground water seeping out of the earth and running down the riverbed.

Moderate snow levels and moderate river levels are actually ideal for our summer rafting guests. When the rivers are “cranking” with tons of snowmelt, river access can be tricky. Flood levels can even close some stretches of river. The low height of bridges or the severity of rapids can make some areas impassable.

The winter of 2017-2018 was below average for snowpack in the Vail area. But that does not equal sub-par rafting. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We expect this summer to be one of the best rafting seasons ever!

Joe Tomasic Joins the Team at Sage Outdoor Adventures

We are pleased to announce a new addition to our team of skilled experts in the outdoor recreation industry. Joe Tomasic has joined Sage as General Manager and will lead the development of several new programs. 

Tomasic is a long-time Vail Valley local, outdoorsman and entrepreneur. In fact, Sage owners Darryl and Cole Bangert worked closely with Tomasic when they founded Lakota River Guides together more than 20 years ago. 

“Joe brings decades of operational and work-integrated leadership experience and we’re thrilled to be working with him once again,” said Sage owner Darryl Bangert. 

A Vail Valley resident for more than 26 years, Tomasic continues to work as a business broker specializing in the sale of resort based businesses, along with niche markets in the software, start-up, outdoor recreation, transportation and oil & gas industries.  

Tomasic has owned, operated and sold many successful businesses. Additionally, he has provided strategic, personalized counsel to individuals and companies in areas of business sales and acquisitions, private debt and equity financing, and succession planning.

With a passion for start-up companies, Tomasic worked with Phil Horsman to build the world’s first large-scale ski rental delivery operation, All Mountain Sports. Later, they built All Mountain Transportation into the largest independently owned limousine service on Colorado’s Western Slope and sold that business in 2008.

At Sage Outdoor Adventures, Joe will focus on developing a newly purchased property near Dotsero, Colorado along the Colorado River. This project will include a large, recreation-based facility to serve Sage’s rafting clients, as well as a rental facility open to the general public. 

The Dotsero outpost, called Colorado River Sports (C.R.S.), will offer daily rentals for bikes, stand-up paddleboards, tubes, rafts and duckies. The facility will offer food service, retail and a large pavilion. A shuttle service will be available along with river rentals

Additionally, Tomasic will be working to develop the newly acquired fishing access on the Piney Valley Ranch. The Piney River flows through the heart of the ranch, and Sage Outdoor Adventures is now the exclusive fly fishing outfitter on the property.  

As Sage continues to grow its services in these areas, Tomasic’s role as General Manager will be to ensure that the company utilizes these resources responsibly, and provides a level of service that sets the bar for all others to be measured by.

Announcing Our New Colorado River Outpost at Dotsero

Colorado River Outpost

We are thrilled to announce the purchase of a new property along the Colorado River near Glenwood Canyon. On this new property, we’ve got big plans to build a river outpost called Colorado River Sports (CRS). The new CRS outpost will include a recreation hub for rafting guests, as well as daily river rentals and bike rentals.

We’ve operated on this stretch of river for years, enjoying the newly renovated BLM river access point located near Dotsero, Colorado. When a piece of land adjacent to the boat launch became available, we jumped at the opportunity.

The land had previously been used as a storage facility and required major renovations. Immediately following the purchase, we began to clean the property and hauled away more than 30,000 pounds of trash and more than 200 abandoned tires.

“We immediately received calls from neighbors, thanking us for getting things cleaned up on the property,” said Joe Tomasic General Manager at Sage Outdoor Adventures.

The renovation work has already begun and we are excited to open Colorado River Sports. It will serve as a river outpost for Sage’s rafting trips, providing a meeting point and lunch spot for guests.

We will be launching several new programs at the site, including daily river rentals. Open to the public, Sage will offer equipment rentals for unguided trips. The available equipment will include stand-up paddleboards, duckies, rafts and tubes. A river shuttle service will be available.

Additionally, we will be opening a full service dinning facility at the outpost. This facility will be available to everyone enjoying the area in and around Colorado River Sports.

Along with river rentals, we will provide bicycle rentals at the Dotsero outpost. These will include E-bikes, comfort bikes and high-performance road bikes. The rental location offers easy access to the Glenwood Canyon bike path and many other local trails.

The leadership team here at Sage Outdoor Adventures includes serious bike enthusiasts, who are chomping at the bit to expand our cycling program. Owner Cole Bangert is an avid biker and competed professionally on the World Cup Downhill Circuit. Cole represented the US at three World Championships in Italy, New Zealand Scotland.

Sage General Manager Joe Tomasic is an accomplished bike mechanic and has nearly a decade of experience in the cycling industry.

River and Bike Rentals will be available beginning in June 2018. The Dotsero facility will officially break ground in the fall of 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by the spring of 2019.

For more information about our adventures, please explore the rest of our website. If you’d like to book a trip, ask questions or check availability, please contact us online or call us at 970-476-3700.

Colorado River Rafting

New Guided Fly Fishing Expeditions on The Famed Piney River

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we are extremely proud to announce that we now have access to the famed Piney River near Vail for guided fly fishing trips! 

Sage is opening up new private water for the first time ever. We are now the sole fly fishing outfitter on the Piney Valley Ranch. Sage Outdoor Adventures now leases the exclusive fishing rights to this pristine stretch of private water and will begin offering guided fishing trips this summer! 

The Piney River is a classic, Colorado backcountry gem. With its headwaters at Piney Lake at the foot of the rugged Gore Range, this freestone river tumbles through a roadless wilderness canyon for 25 miles until its confluence with the Colorado River. 

As the Piney River approaches its confluence with the Colorado, it flows right through the heart of Piney Valley Ranch, a sprawling, 30,000-acre mountain paradise. Our guests will have exclusive private access to a stretch of water has never been available to the public.

The team at Sage Outdoor Adventures was able to secure this premier fishing lease thanks to a longstanding relationship with the owners of Piney Valley Ranch, who previously owned Castle Peak Ranch. Castle Peak is where we offer ATV tours, snowmobiling, horseback riding and sporting clays. There were several reputable fly fishing businesses knocking on the door for the Piney River lease. But after seven years of working together at Castle Peak, and knowing first-hand the quality of Sage operations, the owners chose to sign with Sage.

Starting this summer, we will offer full-day trips to this remote, private stretch of the Piney River. Trips will include side-by-side ATVs to navigate the ranch, high-end fly fishing gear, and a gourmet lunch. Like all of our adventures, transportation to and from Vail and Beaver creek is also included. 

The ranch will be limited to very few fishing guests each day to maintain a high quality experience. As with everything we do, we place a high priority on the quality of the fishing, the undisturbed wilderness experience, and the quality of guest service. 

In addition to the incredible Piney River fishery, Sage guests will have access to two private lakes on the Piney Valley Ranch. These lakes offer the perfect location for a day of fishing, canoeing, hiking and experiencing the scenic Colorado backcountry with family or friends. Just minutes from the Vail Valley, these mountain lake getaways are also well suited to corporate events and other groups. 

The exclusive fishing lease on the Piney Valley Ranch also includes a premier section of private water on the Eagle River. This will allow us to offer premium half-day trips just a few minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek.

In addition to these new private waters, Sage Outdoor Adventures will continue to offer guided float trips on the Eagle and Colorado Rivers.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit our Fly Fishing Page. If you’d like to chat with us in more detail or check availability, you can call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.