It’s Time to Start Practicing Your Kayak Roll

Kayaking

Spring is officially here and the paddling season has already begun in many places. In just a couple of months, we will be taking our first whitewater trips of the year here at Sage Outdoor Adventures. We’re looking forward to a great rafting season, especially with the amount of snow that we’ve received in the Colorado high country this year.

As spring approaches, it’s time to begin preparing. If you’re planning on spending time in your kayak this season, now is the time to start practicing your kayak roll. This is an important skill for kayakers of any ability or experience level.

Early this spring, begin your practice in the pool. For some tips, we chatted with Sage Owner and Director of Operations, Cole Bangert. Here are Cole’s tips on getting started.

“Start by working on hip snaps, because that’s the most important part of the roll,” Cole told us. “With a good hip snap, you don’t even need a paddle. Use the side of the pool. Hold onto it with your hands, and hip snap until your abs feel like they’re going to fall off.

Some of your practice will depend on what style roll you are learning.

“The two primary rolls are a sweep roll and a C2C roll,” Cole continued. “I have found the sweep roll to be stronger in big, pushy whitewater. However, keep in mind that everybody will end up developing their own style of roll, depending on what works for them.”

When you’ve got your hip snaps down and you’re ready to use a paddle in the water, there’s one critical thing that you always need to remember.

“It is imperative that your head comes up last,” Cole emphasized. “The number one mistake that people make is to lead with their head and try to pull the rest of their body up. That makes a hip snap impossible. It pulls the heaviest part of your upper body out of the water and makes finishing the roll nearly impossible.”

Good luck with your early season practice and get out there and have some fun this season. For more information on rafting trips and other summer activities with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please check out our Summer Page or call us at 970-476-3700.

Spring Break in the Rockies: Big Storms and Plenty of Sunshine

Spring Break in the Rockies

As we’ve mentioned in recent weeks, snow conditions are incredible right now in Colorado, with snowpack well above average. For those of you looking forward to Spring Break vacations later this month, there’s a lot to get excited about!

Spring in Colorado usually means two things: giant storms and abundant sunshine. Many folks are surprised to learn that historically, March brings more snowfall than any other month in Colorado. Here in the Rockies, spring storms tend to be measured in feet, not inches.

In between each big dump of snow, there’s rarely an overcast day. Sunshine is the norm. As the days get longer, the sun is getting stronger. So do not forget sunscreen on your spring break snowmobile rides! Sun protection for spring vacationers to Colorado is no joke. In addition to sunscreen, a good pair of goggles is essential to protect your eyes in the bright, snowy conditions.

Our guests will enjoy awesome conditions this year all the way through April. While we close our winter business on April 16, backcountry skiers and snowmobilers will be kept busy well into June this year. This year’s snow conditions are setting up for a fun season of backcountry skiing in Colorado. Those great 50-degree slopes usually become available in May after the spring slide cycle. This year, the amount of snow will provide an even longer season than normal.

This year’s conditions are also setting up perfectly for a great climbing season on Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Some fun snow routes will be available this year for the 14er enthusiasts, plus the opportunities to glissade down. There’s a lot of adventure to look forward to over the next few months!

Finally, if you’re getting as excited as we are about summer activities like rafting, be sure to check out the Summer Pages on our website. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700 for trip booking info. We look forward to seeing you here at Sage Outdoor Adventures!

The Enviro Impact of Snowmobiles Versus Other Winter Sports

Snowmobiles

The recent changes in snowmobile technology are even more radical than the change in ski shape over the last 15 years. Emissions are incredibly low and the sport of snowmobiling is exploding. But what does that mean from an environmental perspective? How does snowmobiling compare to other winter sports in terms of its impact?

From young families to adventurous outdoorsy types, snowmobiling is a fast-growing sport. Many many skiers are enjoying a relaxing day away from the slopes and a chance to do something different with their families. Here at Sage, it’s not uncommon for us to see three-generations of riders together on a tour.

Some may find it surprising, but the number-one reason our customers say they go snowmobiling is to “experience the wilderness.” It’s true, that backcountry experience is the primary draw for most snowmobile riders.

Unfortunately, there’s also a great deal of misperception about snowmobiling. Some folks see them as noisy and polluting. In reality, neither is true. Our modern snowmobiles are incredibly quiet. You are more likely to hear the sound of the sled on the snow than you are the engine. And with low emissions and no smell, snowmobiles offer a perfect escape from the bustle of the ski slopes into the tranquility of the mountains.

Our 6,000-acre private ranch near Vail and Beaver creek is home to resident mule deer, elk and other wildlife. Our riders frequently see wildlife here on the ranch, where they stay undisturbed through the winter. In terms of environmental impact, a snowmobile ride is far more “green” than a day of riding lifts. All of our guided trips give our guests the opportunity to stop, look, listen and just enjoy being still in these stunning places.

In the end, our guests’ favorite part of these trips is also our favorite part. We’re here because we love the experience. We are skiers too. But a snowmobile ride offers the chance to escape from the crowds and experience the still silence of the backcountry and the mountains in winter.

For more information on our guided snowmobile tours, please take a look at our Snowmobiling Page. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700. We hope to see you here for a snowmobiling adventure soon!

Snow Update: What it means for Snowmobiling and Summer Rafting

This winter, the Vail Valley and the rest of Colorado has experienced some of the best early season snow conditions that we’ve seen in years. With snowpack reaching nearly 150% of normal, our snowmobile tours this season have been incredible! If you haven’t been paying attention, be sure to follow us on Instagram, @sageoutdoors or like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/SageOutdoors.

All this snow came before the middle of February and that means there’s more in store! Another series of storms is predicted over the next week that will provide our snowmobile tours with a nice “reset” for powder conditions. Then consider that March is typically the wettest month in Colorado. We can expect to see great spring break snowmobiling conditions. And with a hefty snowpack, visitors to the Vail and Beaver Creek area could have great spring snowmobiling opportunities all the way through April.

For many of us here at Sage, snowmobiling is only one of the perks of a healthy snowpack. Our rafting guides are already drooling at the prospect of an epic runoff season. With this much snow in the high country, we could be looking at a great summer of whitewater rafting adventures.

Currently, snowpack in the Colorado River basin and statewide is at about 145% of normal. Here’s to hoping that we see a few more big storms before the winter is out!

For more information on our guided snowmobile tours, please check out our Snowmobiling Page. If you’re planning a summer trip to Colorado or interested in the upcoming rafting season, be sure to visit our Rafting Page. Other activities include horseback riding, ATV tours, sporting clays and fly fishing.

Explore the entire site and all these great adventures at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700.

The Importance of Suspension for Serious Snowmobile Riders

Snowmobile

By Cole Bangert

Suspension is a crucial part of the setup for more aggressive and advanced snowmobile riders. It changes the entire feel of the machine. Over the past several years, I’ve been spoiled by Fox Racing Shocks and have learned why great suspension makes a world of difference.

Correct suspension settings allow a rider to approach any terrain far more aggressively. With proper suspension, the sled becomes more predictable. This affects the proper ride height, weight distribution, and rebound and compression rates.

Stock suspension on most snowmobiles tends to be soft. Soft suspension creates an unsettled feeling in the sled. It can feel somewhat unstable at high speeds and unpredictable in changing snow densities. When encountering unforeseen obstacles or firm snow layers, a rider will “slap” the bottom of the suspension. This is an awful feeling. It’s a resounding slapping noise that can be heard over the motor. The result is not good. It hurts your wrists, ankles, sled, and confidence.

Aftermarket suspension, especially Fox, will not increase the amount of suspension travel you get on a snowmobile, but is infinitely more tunable. You can set it up correctly for your particular ride weight, style and terrain.

The “spring rate” is what holds you and the sled off the ground. Traditional springs are steel or titanium. Most vehicles on the road have same thing, steel springs holding the weight of the car. Most Fox Shocks for snowmobiles have an air spring. There is a pressurized air chamber holding the weight up. This offers a different feel from steel and is also highly adjustable. With nothing more than a pocket size pump, changes can easily be made on the fly.

The next point of consideration is damping. To understand damping, picture a pogo stick. When compressed, it rebounds and flings you right back up in the air. Not something you want to happen in suspension. Damping is what slows the compression and rebound so the reaction of the shock is manageable.

Damping is also adjustable. It can be as easy as using a clicker knob on the outside of the shock. There are typically high and low speed adjusters for compression and rebound. This is often confusing for riders, so here is a simple way to decipher high speed versus low speed damping:

Low speed damping is your body weight. This includes anything you are doing to the shock by pushing down with your body weight, like compressions on the face of a jump. The speed of your shock compressing and rebounding is quite slow on these.

High-speed damping comes from the ground up. This might be a square edge bump that you hit at a fast rate of speed. Your shock compression and rebound speed are very fast and abrupt. You need faster rebound on this type of obstacle because there may be multiple obstacles right after one another. If your rebound is too slow, your shock will not recover to full length before the next hit. This causes the suspension to “pack up” and operate on the bottom of the stroke, which is not a good feeling.

Good suspension is a must for any semi serious to serious snowmobile rider. It changes the game, changes how and where you will ride. It’s a major confidence booster, and confidence is everything in a rider.

For more information on snowmobile rides and the other adventures we offer near Vail, Colorado, please explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com or call us at 970-476-3700.