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.

Center-Mount Frame Raft

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.

Rafters can choose from a variety of boats

Back-Mounted Frame Raft

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 the guide has the ability to move the boat without much power from guests.”

Rafts without an Oar Mount

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.

Certain Rafts encourage teamwork more than others

“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 guests alike. There is a lot of teaching and learning.”

Sage’s Custom Rafts

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. Sage's custom rafts are made in partnership with SOTAR“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 let’s 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.

Epic Colorado Combo Trips: Snowmobile and ATV Adventures

ATV and Snowmobile Combo Trip

What’s better than one kind of adventure? Two, of course! We’re now offering some awesome Colorado combo adventures. It’s a unique opportunity for combination side-by-side ATV and Snowmobile trips.

An epic tour of Colorado's backcountry

Epic Winter Activities No Matter the Weather

It continues to be a bizarre winter in the Vail Valley, with unseasonably warm temperatures and low snowpack. But that doesn’t mean we’re not having fun around here! In fact, we’re having an absolute blast here at Sage.

Our visitors will find there’s no shortage of awesome things to do. We are still offering beautiful winter horseback rides. And we’ve now added something even more unique.

For a very limited time, we are offering side-by-side ATV and snowmobile trips! These adventures allow guests to explore this 6,000-acre private ranch with more than 100 miles of custom trails. That’s an area larger than Vail ski area.

What to Expect on a Snowmobile & ATV Combo Trip

These trips take guests through big open meadows, old-growth timber, stunning aspen groves, and jaw-dropping views over the 2,400-foot deep Eagle River Canyon. From up here, we’ve got views of seven different mountain ranges. It’s simply a spectacular experience.

Epic deep powder snowmobilingTrips start at our base of operations, just a short ride from Vail or Beaver Creek, where we offer free hotel pickup. From the base, guests get to drive our high-end, side-by-side Maverick UTVs up the mountain and through one of the most historic ranches in the valley.

When the snow starts getting deep, guests then hop onto one of our new Ski-Doo snowmobiles and continue the tour through this magical winter wonderland.

Our side-by-side UTV tours are usually a higher cost than the snowmobile trips. But because we have to improvise this winter, we’re allowing guests to drive these $20,000 machines for the same price as a regular snowmobile tour!

Wildlife near Beaver Creek

Spot Colorado’s Unique Wildlife

Not only is the ranch beautiful right now, but also it’s loaded with wildlife. Our guests are seeing deer and coyotes daily, including some rare predator/prey interactions. Because of the low snowpack this season, the deer herds have not needed to migrate further down the Vail valley floor. They’ve stayed here on the ranch, and that’s keeping coyotes and other wildlife around too. In fact, some of our guests have been lucky enough to see mountain lion tracks.

These wildlife interactions have been a daily treat for our guests. While the weather certainly hasn’t been what we expected this season, it has been a memorable one. If you’re visiting the Vail or Beaver Creek area, be sure to give us a call and join us on one of these Colorado backcountry adventures!

For more information, check out our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. You can call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Enjoy Western Style Horseback Riding With Sage

Get western

Have mediocre memories of a nose-to-tail horseback ride? You can forget those. Here at Sage, we ride a beautiful mountain ranch the size of Vail ski area. Not bound by Forest Service trails, we encourage you to make your own. Experience the wide-open feel of Colorado’s backcountry on a western horseback ride through aspen groves, wildflowers, and along mountain lakes.

A Different Style of Horseback Riding

That’s another thing that makes a horseback ride with Sage Stables different: our 6,000-acre historic ranch near Vail and Beaver Creek. Not bound by Forest Service permits or trail restrictions, our rides allow you to freely explore and enjoy a western horseback riding experience. Our horses are trained to ride side-by-side rather than following the leader, giving you more freedom to explore the land. Meander through meadows and through stands of old-growth forest, taking in the stunning views as you do.

About Sage Stables

You won’t find us at a temporary corral on the side of a Forest Service Road. Here on the ranch, Sage Stables is an idyllic summer home for our horses. Our experienced staff and wranglers will make sure you feel comfortable and safe, ready to explore a beautiful new country on horseback.

Check out this video of our horseback riding experience:

For more information on horseback rides with Sage, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. To make a reservation for your Colorado adventure, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.