Different Types of Rafts and Why We use Them

Whitewater Raft

If you’ve been on a guided rafting trip, you may have noticed that rafts come in a variety of different setups. Some rafts have the guide using oars in the center. Others place the guide and oars in the back. And some rafts are paddle boats with no oars at all. Each type of boat has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of raft configurations, and why we use them.

First, consider the raft with a center-mount frame. According to Sage owner and guide, Cole Bangert, 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 or technical rapids with large loads of gear.

Next is the raft with its frame and oars mounted at the back. This makes a great paddle-assisted setup, where the guide rows and calls commands to the crew equipped with paddles.

“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 rafts. SOTAR and Sage have actually teamed up to produce an innovative raft design that’s ideal for our whitewater situations. We worked with SOTAR to build these rafts 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.

Snowmobiles and the Real Backcountry Experience

Vail Snowmobile Ride

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!

Snow Conditions and Snowmobile Trail Update

Vail Area Snow Conditions

Early season Snow conditions in the Vail Valley have been incredible. The 2018/2019-winter season is shaping up to be the best we’ve seen in years.

Snowmobile Conditions

Ski areas have received record amounts of early season snowfall, and snowmobiling conditions on our ranch are outstanding. Currently, snowpack in the Colorado River basin is over 130% of normal. And it’s more than 200% above this time last year!

This is the year to experience a backcountry snowmobile adventure in Colorado. Our 6,000-acre private ranch nestled close to Vail and Beaver Creek has over 100 miles of custom-designed snowmobile trails. It’s an area larger than Vail ski area, and we have three grooming machines to keep trails in great shape.

With all the snow we’ve had so far this season, our grommers have been busy, and trails are in excellent condition. The ranch here is looking beautiful. Guests are enjoying rides through beautiful snow-covered aspen groves and stands of old-growth timber. The wide-open meadows are perfect for testing the throttle on our lineup of new SkiDoo snowmobiles. And views from the ranch overlooking the Vail Valley and the Eagle River Canyon don’t get any more spectacular.

Our fleet of Snowmobiles from SkiDoo features new 4-stroke technology. These machines are very quiet and incredibly fuel-efficient. We like to brag about providing a much smaller carbon footprint than skiing. An experience here is a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the ski slopes. There may be no better way to experience the peacefulness of the mountains in winter.

This historic private ranch is only open to guests of Sage Outdoor Adventures. There’s never any crowding here. Escape the lift lines and come spend a day in the Colorado backcountry on an unforgettable snowmobile experience!

To schedule your snowmobile tour, call us at 970-476-3700 or connect with us online.

 

Preparing For an Awesome Snowmobile Season

We are getting ready for an awesome snowmobile season here at Sage Outdoor Adventures! The sleds are getting tuned and ready, trail groomers are ready to rock and the snow is starting to fall in the Colorado high country!

Here at Sage, we are proud to offer our guests the very best snowmobile technology. We have a stable of 90 great sleds! We use all Ski-Doo snowmobiles. They are highly fuel-efficient four-stroke machines. They are incredibly quiet and offer superb handling.

With these high-end snowmobiles, we put our focus on our guests’ most-requested tour – and that’s the two-hour guided snowmobile tour. This is a perfect snowmobile experience for beginning riders. Skiing for half a day? Perfect! It’s so close to Vail and Beaver Creek, this is an ideal experience!

In addition to our two-hour guided tour, we also offer trips specifically for advanced riders. But no matter what tour you choose, our guides are there to be teachers. That is a major focus for all of our snowmobiling trips.

Our tours are NOT a “follow me and keep up” experience. We teach our guests how to ride their snowmobiles and have more fun on the snow. In fact, 50 yards from our starting point are some incredible practice meadows. Guests have the opportunity to learn the feel of their sled in a perfect, wide open setting. There are a total of 10 free-ride meadows scattered throughout our 6,000-acre playground.

Here at Sage, we have the benefit of operating on a massive, 6,000-acre private ranch. What does that mean for you? It means a comfortable base of operations with a heated lodge and real restrooms – not a port-o-potty beside Forest Service road. It also means 100 miles of perfectly groomed trails, views from the edge of the Eagle River Canyon, trails with views of six different mountain ranges and an unbelievable variety of terrain.

We operate with a very small guide-to-guest ratio. Therefore, we can customize every tour to each group. No two tours around here are ever the same! We want all of our guests to appreciate the joy and freedom of snowmobiling.

For more information about snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please take a look at our Snowmobiling Page. If you have specific questions or would like to reserve your tour, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

We look forward to seeing you on a Colorado snowmobile ride this season!

Enjoying Our New Snowmobile Area Improvements

Snowmobile Area

Last year, we made some major changes to our snowmobiling program here at Sage. And as we approach the 2018-2019 winter season, we are excited for these big improvements!

We are extremely proud of our snowmobile program, which was already one of the most highly rated in the state. In fact, Sage Outdoor Adventures boasts Trip Advisor’s highest rating for outdoor activities in the Vail area.

Some of the new snowmobile improvements include a totally redesigned trail system, and a new state-of-the-art snowcat for improved trail grooming and maintenance.

Snowmobiling

Throughout last year, the guides and designers of Sage’s snowmobile trail system spent a great deal of time and work on the new design. The team built a custom network of trails that is specifically designed with our snowmobile guests in mind.

“We considered the area’s geology, vegetation, wind patterns and snow deposition zones,” commented Sage co-owner and head trail designer, Darryl Bangert. “Other major factors that went into this trail redesign included trail flow, view corridors and some of our guides’ favorite places to discover with guests.”

We are thrilled to run our snowmobile operations on a private ranch near Vail, a property that covers more than 6,000 acres. The area has proven to be an ideal base of operations for snowmobile tours, with 2,500 feet of vertical relief on a north-facing mountain. Sage’s base area sits at 8,100 feet above sea level, the same as Vail and Beaver Creek.

The terrain here lends itself to incredible riding trails, and the area is actually larger than the Vail ski area.

“Imagine being able to design the ski runs on Vail Mountain, and then consider that we get to design snowmobile trails on an even bigger area,” Bangert added. “We are all passionate about riding and discovering the most fun routes. Our extensive background hiking and cross country skiing gives us great insight into the intimate feel of the land.”

Sage Outdoor Adventures has over 100 miles of marked trails and 25 different loop routes. Sage also has more open meadow riding than the combined bowl area of Vail Mountain.

In addition to the re-designed trail system, Sage has a 2018 Prinoth Husky Snowcat. This state-of-the-art cat is now a part of Sage’s grooming fleet, and will allow the team at Sage to maintain the best possible trail quality.

Guests in Vail and Beaver Creek expect a high-level product, and Sage’s grooming efforts are second-to-none.

“We want our guests to learn the machines and to enjoy the views, not fight with poorly groomed terrain,” Bangert concluded.

To learn more about our snowmobile rides in the Vail valley, please visit our Snowmobiling Page. To reserve dates or to ask questions, give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.