The Snowcats of Sage Part 1: How to Maintain a Mountain

Snowmobile Trail Grooming Equipment

Here at Sage, we’re extremely proud of our fleet of professional snow grooming equipment. Not only do we offer an incredible variety of snowmobile trails across a 6,000-acre private mountain. But we also take great care in our trail design and grooming operations. Come ride with us on this mountain and we guarantee to put a big grin on your face.

While most snowmobile guide services rely on shared Forest Service trails with very little control over the conditions, we’re fortunate to operate on a private mountain larger than Vail ski area. Here, guests of Sage Outdoor Adventures have the whole place to themselves.

Grooming Snowmobile Trails

Operating on a private mountain means we’re able to custom-design our trail systems. And as soon as the snow starts flying, our snowcats keep those trails in excellent riding condition. But grooming trails and operating a snowcat it’s not as easy as turning a key and hitting a throttle. It takes practice and some serious snow-know-how.

We recently caught up with Sage Owner and Director of Operations, Cole Bangert, to talk about snowcats and grooming…and why it’s harder than it looks!

“This snowcat (pictured below) is a smallish sized cat to fit our unique trails,” Cole began. “The size of this cat allows us to groom trails through aspen groves and in some unique places. We do have a bigger snow cat as well, like the size you would see up on the ski hill. We use that larger cat for our play meadows and some of the bigger trails with deep snow drifts and more powder.”

Snowmobile Trail Grooming Equipment

The snowcat pictured here is a Prinoth Husky. Sage purchased it brand new for $215,000.

“But getting the equipment is only the first step,” Cole told us. “Having someone capable of driving it is a whole other thing. These things have 12-way blades, plus the tiller operation. Once you master those, there’s the trick of actually driving it without hitting trees. Grooming trails in a snowcat takes multi-tasking to a new level.”

It certainly isn’t easy or cheap to operate a fleet of snowcats. But it’s a necessary investment to keep these snowmobile trails in prime condition.

“When grooming, the driver is always making assessments based on a variety of factors,” Cole explained. “You have to consider snow deposition, density and wind direction. A good cat driver must also consider ‘snow farming’ or where we increase snow depth for future use. Whenever we’re pushing drifts around, we’re planning ahead for the springtime so that we can maximize trail depth as the days get longer and temperatures get warmer.”

Grooming Snowmobile Trails

These practices make for great snowmobile experiences throughout the winter, and they help extend our snowmobile season into the beautiful spring months here in the Colorado high country.

There’s no doubt that driving a snowcat and grooming trails takes practice and skill. A great driver takes all these factors into account, all without running into trees along the way!

But according to Cole, the real secret and all you need to be the world’s best cat operator is right here:

What it takes to be a snowcat operator.

If you’d like to learn more about our guided snowmobile trips, please take a few minutes to explore our snowmobiling information. We’d love to help you plan a memorable backcountry snowmobile adventure here in Colorado!

Kick Your Holiday Plans Up a Notch with A Snowmobile Adventure

This winter, there may be no better way to celebrate the Holidays than with a big mountain snowmobile adventure! With ski areas requiring reservations and operating at limited capacity, come enjoy the Colorado mountains on a backcountry snowmobile ride. This is the perfect year to elevate your holiday plans, and join us for your own little slice of heaven out here on the snow!

Our private mountain is larger than Vail ski area and home to more than 100 miles of trails. Social distance isn’t an issue and we take sanitizing between each ride very seriously.

From our private mountain, you’ll enjoy towering views that overlook the Eagle River canyon. Feel the wind as you gain speed through open meadows, winding through sage and mountain mahogany. Get a real taste of the Colorado backcountry, riding beneath impressive stands of aspen and spruce. The snowmobiling experience here is unforgettable.

We offer family-friendly guided tours with multiple start times each day. We offer transportation to and from your hotel in Beaver Creek, Vail or Avon. That leaves plenty of time for your other holiday plans. It makes a perfect family event. Our outstanding guides will make sure that beginners and advanced riders alike will have a great time.

Not sure what to bring? Check out our recent blog post to learn more about what you’ll need to bring and how COVID protocols are affecting our gear rentals.

For details and to book your Colorado mountain snowmobile adventure, check out our Snowmobile Trips Page or call us at 970-476-3700. See you on the mountain!

Snowmobiles and the Real Backcountry Experience

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 serious outdoor enthusiasts, snowmobiling is a fast-growing sport. Many skiers enjoy a quiet day away from the busy 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.

The number-one reason our customers say they go snowmobiling is to “experience the wilderness.” To us, this isn’t surprising at all. It’s true, that backcountry experience is the primary draw for most snowmobile riders.

Snowmobile TourUnfortunately, 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 crunch of the tracks 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 mountain near Vail and Beaver creek is home to resident mule deer, elk and other wildlife. Our riders frequently see wildlife here on the mountain, where they stay undisturbed through the winter. In terms of environmental impact, a snowmobile ride is far more “green” than a day of riding ski 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!

The Summer Season is a Wrap – Time to Think About Snow

Summer Season

Fall is in the air and we are already getting stoked for snowmobiling season here in Colorado! But before we jump straight into winter sports mode, we want to say thank you to everyone for a wonderful summer season!

Thanks to each of our guests to joined us this summer for a whitewater rafting adventure, a side-by-side ATV thrill ride, a memorable day of horseback riding, or some incredible fly fishing. We enjoyed meeting folks from all over the world and it’s truly our greatest pleasure to have the opportunity to share in your adventures. Thank you!

Summer Season Rafting

A big shout out also goes to our summer staff. Without these energetic and outgoing folks, your adventures wouldn’t be possible. We’re proud to have some of the best staff in the business here at Sage Outdoor Adventures. And we are thankful for their hard work this summer!

Our 2020 summer season was very memorable. We enjoyed great weather throughout the summer, perfect for enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery here in the Vail Valley and surrounding areas. The rafting season was a ton of fun, from early season on Gore Creek and the Eagle River, down to the late summer trips on the Colorado River and the Arkansas River. All around, it was a fun rafting season.

Side-by-Side ATV Ride

Our horseback riders and side-by-side ATV riders had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of wildflowers and wildlife throughout the summer. There’s no bad time to explore our private mountain on horseback or ATV. But when the weather cooperates, it’s very hard to beat.

With the summer season behind us, we can now look forward to snowmobiling and a fun season of winter activities! We plan to open our winter snowmobiling operation in time for Thanksgiving. If you are planning a vacation to Vail or Beaver Creek during the holidays, please give us a call.

These snowmobile rides are a blast. We can easily accommodate families and it’s a perfect distancing activity. We operate on a private mountain that’s actually larger than Vail ski area! You’ll have this pristine landscape all to yourself, along with its incredible views – talk about space! Get away from the hustle and bustle of the ski runs, and join us for a backcountry ride through this winter wonderland.

To learn more about our snowmobile trips, please check out our snowmobiling page. For specific availability or details, give us call at 970-476-3700 or send us a message.

See you when the snow falls!

Experience a September Adventure in Colorado

September in Colorado

It has been a beautiful summer here in the Vail Valley. We’ve had a blast on rafting trips on the Eagle, Colorado and Arkansas Rivers. The fishing on the Piney River has been excellent. And at our mountain base, we’re having a blast on horseback rides and side-by-side ATV rides with all of our guests.

As we welcome September, we’re thrilled for one of the best months of the year here in Colorado. The temperatures are still warm, and the September weather is idyllic. Cool mornings lead to warm, sunny afternoons. Soon, the aspens will be turning a bright gold. And wildflowers are still growing throughout the mountain meadows. This is where summer meets fall, and it is spectacular!

September Horseback Rides

Horseback riding here at our private mountain base is an awesome experience in September. You’ll ride through old growth aspen stands and witness incredible scenery. And in typical Sage fashion, these are not your average nose-to-tail horseback rides. Being on a 6,000 acre private mountain means that we aren’t restricted to designated Forest Service trails. We can explore the entire place, and ride freely through this historic ranch that’s larger than the Vail ski area!

Side-By-Side ATV Adventures

Side-by-side rides are also a great way to see Colorado in September. These rides also take place on this expansive private mountain, where you’ll have incredible views of the entire Vail valley.  In addition to the adjoining public land, we have more than 20,000 acres of wild country to explore!

Scenic September Rafting in Colorado

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible rafting opportunities here in Colorado in September. River conditions are perfect on many of our favorite stretches of river. There are a number of fun and incredibly scenic river trips to experience in September around Vail and Beaver Creek.

September Fly Fishing on the Piney River

And finally, this is one of the best times of year to experience fly fishing in Colorado. In September, big brown trout begin moving in advance of their fall spawn. And rainbow and cutthroat trout take advantage of grasshoppers and big hatches of late summer insects as they prepare for the lean winter.

Fly Fishing in ColoradoIf you find yourself in Vail or Beaver Creek this September, consider yourself one of the lucky ones! Not only is it one of the most beautiful months of the year in Colorado. But it’s also usually a little bit quieter after the peak summer season. Take advantage of it, and find some adventure!

For information on our trips, please explore our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. For details and booking you can contact us online or give us a call at 970-476-3700.