The Sage Outdoors Side-by-Side ATV Experience

While rafting trips need no explanation and horseback riding is always a popular mountain activity, we often receive questions about our side-by-side ATV tours. What makes these trips so special? Why explore the Vail area in a side-by-side?

It’s a valid question. While many of our Vail and Beaver Creek vacationers can lay claim to at least one previous horseback ride or rafting adventure, we get a lot of first-timers on our ATV trips. But after their first time, we can almost guarantee – it won’t be the last!

What makes these trips so special? First and probably most obviously, it’s the wind on your face and the fast-paced, driver’s seat view of Colorado’s spectacular mountain country. On our ATV tours, you are the driver of your own adventure.

Next, we are fortunate to operate on a 6,000-acre private ranch, an area larger than Vail ski area. Plus, there’s an adjoining 14,000 acres of public land to explore. In addition to the exclusivity, what’s the biggest benefit of having access to this historic private ranch? We’re riding purpose-built, side-by-side ATV trails. These aren’t your run of the mill forest service roads. On private land, our trails can be manipulated to be extremely entertaining. And that’s exactly what they are!

Finally, the Sage experience is special because we run new, top of the line machines. Our Maverick’s offer outstanding handling and performance that makes the entire experience that much more fun!

Here’s a quick look at our ATV touring experience:

For more information about our ATV tours here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, check out our Side-by-Side ATV Page. For booking and availability contact us or call us now at 970-476-3700.

Types of Rafts and Why We Use Them

If you’ve been on guided rafting trips before, you may have noticed different raft setups. Some have oars mounted in the center. Others place the guide on oars in the back. And some rafts are paddle boats with no oars at all. Have you ever wondered, what are the reasons for using a particular type of boat? Do each have advantages or disadvantages?

We recently spoke with Sage owner and director of operations, Cole Bangert for his thoughts on raft setups. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of rafts and why we use them.

First, consider the raft with a center-mount frame. According to Cole, these types of rafts are extremely agile, since the pivot point of the raft is in the center. You’ll most often see this type of setup on overnight camp floats for their ability to navigate big rapids or techy rapids with loads of evenly loaded gear for good weight distribution.

Next, there’s the stern-mounted frame and oars. This makes a great “paddle assist” setup, where the guide rows and calls commands to a paddle crew.

“The paddle crew and guide work together to move the boat,” Cole said. “This is ideal for commercial outfitters. The guide can do most of the work but guests are still heavily involved. It’s a great setup for family trips with younger kids, as guide has ability to move the boat without much power from guests.”

You have probably seen a paddle boat with no oars. This is the way you see most commercial trips structured. This heavily involves the customers, as they must come together as a team to move the raft efficiently.

“The guide and guest have to create a trust factor,” Cole told us. “The guide usually could not navigate certain whitewater without the performance of his paddle crew, and the paddle crew must trust that the guide knows how to command the boat. This is fun for the guide and guest alike. There is a lot of teaching and learning.”

Sage uses a mixture of boats, but primarily SOTAR and Hyside. SOTAR and Sage teamed up to produce what many call “the sexiest raft I’ve seen on the water” for the past couple years. Not only are the colors custom to match the Sage logo, its also a custom design of boat, built specifically for maximizing performance and fun.

“These custom rafts are 13.5 feet long and they track well, meaning they move in the direction you point the boat amid heavy waves and currents,” Cole commented. “They are balanced and stable with the 19-inch tube diameter, which is slightly larger than a standard 13-foot raft. The tubes diminish from 19 inches to 15 inches on the tip of the bow and stern to enable the raft to “punch” through big waves without getting stalled out.”

SOTAR also used a high-end material on our custom rafts that, when inflated, turns very stiff. This is crucial to have in hard whitewater. It makes the boat more predictable, faster, and stable for the paddlers. “The height of the bow is also custom,” Cole concluded. “We set it to have a good mixture of speed, anti-deflection, and wetness…because cause lets face it, when waves cover the raft, it’s the best feeling ever!”

For more information on rafting trips near Vail and Beaver Creek with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please visit our Rafting Page. To book your trip, call us now at 970-476-3700.

Featured River Profile: The Eagle River

It’s time to get to know some of the incredible stretches of whitewater here in Colorado! This state has incredible rafting opportunities, and we’d like to introduce you to one of our favorites. In case you’re not already familiar, here’s a look at the Eagle River.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to raft the Eagle River, you need to make time!

“Right now is prime season for the Eagle River and when it flows, it’s some of the best whitewater in the nation, no joke,” said Sage Outdoor Adventures owner and river guide, Cole Bangert. “All the river enthusiasts in the state flock here during peak season. If the prime season on the Eagle ran longer into the summer, it would rival the Arkansas River in use numbers.”

While the Arkansas’ long rafting season makes it the most famous river in the state by a long stretch, the Eagle is perhaps the most underrated. Because during its peak-rafting season, there is nothing else like it. It’s long, steady gradient drops with awesome class 3 and 4 rapids the entire way, including a continuous, mile-long class 4 rapid!

“The Eagle River is unique in the sense that it has a very steady gradient,” Bangert said. “Specifically, the upper section from Minturn to Avon has a very steady drop. As the water rises with snowmelt, the fun increases. It’s pretty much a 10 mile wave train.”

Perhaps the Eagle River’s most famous stretch is Dowd Chute.

“This is a fire hose of a rapid,” Bangert commented. “It’s class 4-plus and it’s fast and steep with big pushy waves. The last wave is named Tyson’s, as it delivers a very heavy hit. Paddlers in the front of the boat generally end up in the laps of the people in the back of the boat on this hit.”

After Dowd chute, the fun isn’t over. In fact, the rest of the upper Eagle River features 10 miles of outstanding class 4 whitewater, culminating in the “Edwards Mile”, a mile-long class 4 rapid with continuous huge waves.

For more information on rafting the Eagle River or any of our other rafting trips throughout the summer, check out the Rafting Page on our website or give us a call at 970-476-3700. Don’t miss your chance to raft one of the best rivers in Colorado this season!

Shifting Gears and Looking Ahead to Summer Adventures

Summer Adventures

Spring snowmobile conditions have been outstanding here at Sage Outdoor Adventures! We’ve enjoyed a great season of snowmobile tours and we’d like to thank everyone who has visited us this season! We’ve enjoyed meeting many of you and we hope to see you back here next year!

We have decided to wrap up our snowmobile tours for the season so that we can give our staff a break before we jump into summer activities like rafting, horseback riding, ATV tours and more. It’s always sad to put the snowmobiles away for the year, but we have a lot of great summer fun to look forward to.

It’s currently snowing here in the Vail Valley and the snowpack continues to pile up! Rafting season is going to be awesome in Colorado this year and we are already busy preparing for our whitewater trips.

Even amid the warm weather that we’re starting to enjoy, snowpack is still at about 110% of normal here in central Colorado. As weather continues to warm up, we will start to see water levels rising in local rivers. If you’re planning a trip to Colorado this spring or summer, be sure and call us for details.

You won’t find a more fun, dedicated and experienced group of rafting guides anywhere in the state. Sage owner Darryl Bangert has been guiding commercially here since the 1970s and we work extremely hard to carry on that incredible legacy of quality rafting adventures.

If you have questions about summer tours or availability over the coming months, please give us a call at 970-476-3700. Or you can find more information on our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com.

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!