If you’re visiting or soon to visit the Vail Valley this holiday season, you may already be aware that the weather here has provided some unusual circumstances. Rather than snowmobiling this time of year, we are still enjoying some awesome side-by-side ATV tours and December wildlife adventures.
We finally received a little snow on the ranch this week. But it’s not enough yet for snowmobiling. But there is one neat benefit to this shallow snow cover through the woods and on our trails…it’s perfect conditions for studying wildlife tracks.
The mild weather this month means that deer and other wildlife have not yet migrated further down the valley floor. Wildlife is still on the ranch in abundance. And the light snowpack has proven to be a fun discovery for our guests.
“To us, it is an open book of what’s going on, 24 hours a day,” said Sage founder Darryl Bangert. “We’ve been able to clearly see deer, does and their fawns meandering as they feed then bed down for day or night. We’ve followed the tracks of big bull elk traveling through the area. And we’ve even found mountain lion tracks as they stalk, chase, and capture deer.
“We’ve had a great time stopping to study the tracks and to teach our guests what they are, and how to read these stories in the snow,” Darryl continued. “We’ve found tracks from wild turkeys, coyotes, ermine, rabbits and squirrels. We’ve seen big golden eagles almost daily, many times sitting on their prey.”
At first glance, December in a ski town without much snow might seem like a drag. But these last few weeks have provided a rare opportunity to enjoy the mountains in a different way. While we’re looking forward to getting on those snowmobiles, these unusual wildlife adventures have certainly been a pleasure.
And as is typically the case, when one month is more dry than normal, another month will usually make up for it. Last winter also began with little snowfall, but ended with the highest snowpack in several years. The snow will come. In the meantime, we’ll be enjoying the mountains on four wheels!
For more information on side-by-side ATV tours or (upcoming) snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please contact us or give us a call at 970-478-3700. We look forward to helping you plan your next Colorado backcountry adventure.