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.

Take Your Valentine On a Scenic Snowmobile Ride

Date Ideas

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and this is your friendly reminder to plan something memorable for your loved one! Whether you buy into the commercial hype or not, everyone likes to be thought of. And what better way to let your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or fiancé know that you’re thinking of them, than to plan a scenic, mountain snowmobile ride?

The snow conditions are incredible here on our private mountain ranch near Vail, Colorado. Skip the lift likes and sweep your valentine away into the beauty of the backcountry. Enjoy 6,000 acres of private mountain terrain, hundreds of miles of trails and comfortable, quiet new snowmobiles. Our tours provide an idyllic mountain experience with some of the best views overlooking the entire Vail Valley, across Avon, Beaver Creek and Eagle.

Not to add any pressure, but last month we witnessed one of our guests proposing to his girlfriend atop a picturesque lookout. No pressure, guys!

But in all seriousness, we do work our best to make these rides a very memorable and impactful experience not just for couples, but also for families and groups of friends. Nestled in a beautiful spot on one of the largest and most historic ranches in the valley, we are very proud to offer such a unique mountain experience.

We offer free hotel pickup and in less than 30 minutes you’ll be at our base of operations on the ranch, with a cozy check-in cabin, equipment room and a 5,000 square foot deck.

For more information on our snowmobile tours, please explore our Snowmobiling Page. To book your trip or to inquire about availability, please call us at 970-476-3700. We look forward to seeing you here on the ranch!