See You On the Snow! Preparing For Snowmobile Season

We are getting ready for an awesome snowmobile season in Colorado’s Vail Valley! The sleds are getting tuned and ready, trail groomers are ready to rock and the snow has already begun to fall at the higher elevations here in Colorado!

Preparing our Snowmobiles for another winter season

Preparing our Custom Snowmobile Playground

Here at Sage, we have the benefit of operating on a massive, 6,000-acre private mountain. If you’re looking for an escape from the lift lines and ski area crowds this winter, it doesn’t get any better than a snowmobile ride on this wild peaceful mountain.

Our mountain headquarters is home to a comfortable base of operations with a heated lodge and indoor restrooms. We’re continuing to take all precautions to clean and sanitize all surfaces and equipment for our guests’ safety.

And with 100 miles of perfectly groomed trails, sweeping views from the edge of the Eagle River Canyon, trails with views of six different mountain ranges, and an unbelievable variety of terrain, there’s plenty of space to roam. There’s no better way to experience winter in the beautiful Colorado high country.

The Sage Snowmobiling Tour Experience

We’ve always operated with a very small guide-to-guest ratio. We 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 in through beautiful mountain scenery – no matter your experience level.

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

Learning how to Ride your SnowmobileCustom Snowmobile Trails with Incredible Views

Our High-End Snowmobiles

We are proud to offer guests the very best snowmobile technology. We have a stable of 90 high-end Ski-Doo snowmobiles. They are highly fuel-efficient four-stroke machines. They are incredibly quiet and offer superb handling.

With these industry-leading 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.

A Snowmobiling Tour Tailored to Any Group

For more information about our snowmobile tours and how to prepare, 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!

What You Need to Know About Fly Fishing the Piney River

Piney River Fly Fishing

The state of Colorado is often known for its towering mountains and graded river canyons. But there are portions of Colorado that lend to its defining features far more than others. Sitting around 12,000 feet in elevation, the Gore Range is one of those places. One of the rivers born from this textbook Colorado landscape is the Piney River near Vail, Colorado.

Tumbling 28 miles from its headwaters, the Piney River is a long tributary of the Colorado River. The headwaters begin at Piney Lake before stretching through a rugged wilderness canyon until it ultimately feeds into the Colorado River.

Often overshadowed in name by nearby well-known rivers like the Eagle River and Colorado River, the Piney is an absolute gem. And not just for its majestic exposure to the Gore Range’s towering beauty. The Piney River offers some of the best freestone fly-fishing in the state of Colorado.

The Piney River near Vail, Colorado

Fly Fishing the Piney Valley Ranch

Located just above its confluence with the Colorado River, the Piney River flows through the spectacular, Pine Valley Ranch. This stretch is the crème de la crème of the Piney River. And access to this private stretch of water is only available to guests of ​Sage Outdoor Adventures.

Sage is fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with the owners of Piney Valley Ranch and the exclusive lease to guide trips on these waters. When you book a fishing trip with Sage, you’ll have this historic ranch, this beautiful river canyon, and this world-class trout fishery all to yourself.

The Piney Valley Ranch encompasses seven river miles of private water. And the guide service at Sage Outdoor Adventures checks all of the boxes.

Piney River Guided Fly Fishing

Tips for Fly Fishing the Piney River

Peak fishing conditions on the Piney River begin immediately after runoff subsides, usually in late June and will continue through the early fall. These summer and fall months bring consistent water levels and prolific hatches of mayflies and caddis. Mid-summer and early fall is also an excellent time to fish terrestrials like hoppers, beetles and ants. Whether you prefer to throw dry flies, nymphs, or swing streamers through the deeper runs, all of it is available here on the Piney.

Because these fish see very little pressure, they tend to be aggressive and not very selective. But the guides at Sage will help you pick the best patterns for the conditions and the time of year. While these trout can usually be fooled by a variety of fly patterns, the low, clear water conditions later in the summer often require a stealthy approach. Prepare to approach from downstream and make upstream casts to avoid being seen.

No matter the time of year you decide to take on the Piney, it’s important to keep in mind that the higher altitude provides less protection from the sun, so wear and reapply sunscreen throughout the day for the duration of your trip. Anglers will want to bring a hat and long sleeves. And we’d recommend a buff to cover your neck. As far as the weather is concerned, there is a common saying in Colorado that, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” From cold temperatures in the morning to the intense midday sun, to afternoon thunderstorms, be prepared to experience it all. Dress in layers so that you can quickly adjust to the changing conditions.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips give you access to local tips and tricks

Piney River: A Gore Range Freestone Tributary

It would be difficult to overstate the quality of the fishing on the Piney River as it runs through Piney Valley Ranch, or the beauty of this canyon and the surrounding scenery. The only way to truly understand it is to come experience it for yourself.

Learn more about guided fly fishing trips with Sage Outdoor Adventures and reserve dates for your adventure today! Or, give the folks at Sage a call at 970-476-3700. Come experience the Piney River this summer with Sage!

Find tips to fly fishing the Piney River

Written by the Staff at Riversmith

Colorado Fly Fishing Trips Are Now Underway

Colorado Fly Fishing

The spring season has officially begun here in the Vail Valley! We are now running guided fly fishing trips on the Eagle River and Colorado River. Spring conditions are fantastic and it has been an awesome start to the season in Colorado!

Colorado Fly Fishing

Reserve Your Guided Fishing Spot

We have openings through this month on the Eagle and Colorado rivers. Reservations are now open for the rest of the summer on these waters, as well as the Piney River – an epic stretch of private water along one of Colorado’s most spectacular wilderness river canyons. Guides are limited, so please give us a call now to reserve your spot this season – 970-476-3700. Or check out our fishing page to learn more.

What to Expect During Early Season Fishing

Early season fishing on the Colorado River and Eagle River brings excellent water conditions and some memorable dry fly hatches – most notably, blue-winged olives. As we get later in the spring, we will begin to see caddis hatches along both rivers. With runoff in late May and June, we will see higher water flows, as well as hatches of big salmonflies. When runoff subsides, dry fly fishing remains consistent through the warmer months – including hopper fishing. Nymphing and streamer tactics are also effective throughout the season.

Fly Fishing Trips Near Vail and Beaver Creek

Fly Fishing with Sage

If you’re in the Vail or Beaver Creek area this summer, consider joining us on a fishing trip to the Piney River. It’s an experience you’ll never forget! We have exclusive access to 7 miles of this incredible freestone river. The Piney River tumbles out of the rugged Gore Range and into a jaw-dropping wilderness canyon. As it flows through the 30,000-acre Piney Valley Ranch, Sage guests have exclusive access to this wild and scenic river, loaded with trout. It’s truly an angler’s paradise.

To learn more and to reserve your spot, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or visit the fishing page.

Fly Fishing on the Eagle River

The Snowcats of Sage Part 2: How to Operate a Snowcat

Snowcat Grooming

One of the things that make our snowmobile trips among the best in Colorado, is our fleet of snowcats and our grooming operation. Here on this 6,000-acre private mountain, we enjoy an incredible trail system of custom-designed snowmobile routes, all maintained for ideal riding conditions.

In case you missed the first part in this series, go check it out here. In this second part, we’re talking with Sage Outdoor Adventures owner and director of operations, Cole Bangert, on what it takes to drive a snowcat.

Driving a Snowcat

What’s Happening Behind the Wheel of a Snowcat

If you’ve ever seen snowcats grooming a ski hill, driving up and down the mountain, you might have no idea what goes into operating and maintaining these machines. And it’s probably more than you think!

According to Cole, the blade on the front of the machine is the most crucial part, that is the workhorse of the cat – of course aside from the motor and hydraulic pumps that drive it. But the more you can do with the blade, the better.

“The blade is made to roll snow and introduce heat into the snowpack through the rolling motion,” Cole told us. “Then, the snow passes underneath the tracks that pack the fresh snow downward. Finally, the tiller on the back of the machine reprocesses the snow and the plastic flaps leave the nice corduroy lines that you’re used to seeing on the ski hill. In one pass, going about 8 to 10 miles an hour, you can take a rough road or a very sloppy road, and turn it into a nice and firm, smooth surface.”

Grooming Snowmobile Trails for Pristine Driving

How much does a Snowcat Cost

Aside from the initial upfront cost of buying a snowcat, the expense of putting them on the snow is pretty high.

“We estimate that it costs about $400 every time you start and run the snowcat, even if it’s only for an hour,” Cole explained. “Of course the hourly expense goes up the longer that you’re out grooming. If you are grooming a lot, that means there’s tons of snow on the ground and that is a very good feeling. But it’s also a big cost to keep up with.”

Why so expensive to operate? A number of factors drive up the cost. From complicated parts to rough winter conditions, it’s not easy to keep a snowcat on the snow.

“Snowcats are mighty machines in a small package,” Cole added. “They run off diesel motors, usually Mercedes or Cummins diesel motors. And all the new snowcats also have an EPA-required regeneration system on the exhaust that tends to be very problematic.

“What’s more, the hydraulic pumps that power the tiller, the blade, and the drive tracks are extremely temperamental. Even one small droplet of water entering that hydraulic pump system can destroy a $35,000 hydraulic pump.”

Sage's Snowcat

Consider the fact that snowcats operate in sub-zero temperatures almost all the time. When you add very cold temperatures, very high pressures, and small moving parts, along with lots of snow and ice, it all adds up to frequent problems.

“Overall though, snowcats are very cool tools,” Cole emphasized. “And honestly, they are quite fun to drive.”

How to Drive a Snowcat

Make no mistake; it takes a very skilled driver. When driving a snowcat, many things are happening all at the same time.

“If you can pat your head and rub your tummy, then you’re a fraction of the way to being able to drive a snowcat,” said Cole. “You’ve got your drive sticks on the left-hand throttle, with your right foot on the windshield wiper and your left foot controlling the blade and tiller operations, while your right hand is on the joystick. And all the while, you’re trying not to run into trees and rocks or get stuck…and don’t forget the big one – trying not to dig holes!”

Driving a Snowcat takes a lot of focus

An easy way to spot a rookie snowcat driver is if you go on a trail that has the feel of a rollercoaster, up and down, up and down.

“It’s important to look ahead, judge your momentum, the snowpack, and snow density,” Cole explained. “You must cut where you need to cut, deposit where you need to deposit, but not overdo it because if you continually dig a hole and then deposit and then dig another hole and deposit, you’re just making one big roller-coaster trail. And it’s very difficult to fix once this has happened.”

It may be complicated. And it’s certainly not easy. But there’s no question that we’re extremely proud of our grooming operations here at Sage. In large part, it’s what makes our private mountain experience a fantastic one for our guests.

If you’d like to learn more about our guided snowmobile trips, please take a few minutes to look through the information on our Snowmobiling Page, and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions. We’d love to help you plan an unforgettable backcountry mountain experience!

The Famed Snowmobile Operator

Don’t Just Ride a Snowmobile – Learn How to Drive One

We don’t offer a “follow the guide and keep up” kind of snowmobile tour. The experience at Sage Outdoor Adventures is something completely different. On a tour with us, you won’t just ride a snowmobile – you will truly learn how to drive one.

Our Snowmobile Guides

Our snowmobile guides are the best in the business: they are friendly, outgoing, and excellent teachers. Dedicated to having the most possible fun on any snowmobile ride means you’ll learn some new skills along the way, no matter how experienced you are at driving a snowmobile.

Learn how to drive a snowmobile at Sage

Each of our guided snowmobile tours is done with a very small guest-to-guide ratio. Because of that, we are able to customize every tour: no two rides are ever the same. Our guides will always make the effort to meet the needs of each group and make sure you feel comfortable on your machine.

The Perfect Setting to Learn

In addition to having a team of outstanding snowmobile guides, our base area is the perfect place to begin. Just 50 yards from the starting point, you’ll enter a giant “practice meadow” where you can learn the feel of driving your snowmobile in a pressure-free setting.

Our guests have the opportunity to cruise around the meadow and practice turns. Then you’ll be off to explore this giant winter wonderland!

With freshly groomed trails, practice meadows, and so much beautiful terrain to freely explore, you’ll learn how to snowmobile in the best possible setting. Our hope is that each of our guests will appreciate the joy and freedom of snowmobiling.

For more information on guided snowmobile tours with Sage, please take a few minutes to check out our snowmobiling page. We can’t wait to help you plan a memorable snowmobiling adventure.