Colorado Snow Update & White Water Rafting Forecast

Summer Season Rafting

Well, it has been an awesome winter season here in the Vail Valley. Even a global pandemic can’t stop all these smiles! Sage owner Darryl Bangert said it best, “COVID has led to a huge demand to get outside and reconnect with nature,” he said. “Seeing our guests come alive during these trips is very rewarding for our staff.”

An outdoor snowmobile adventure is the ultimate socially distanced activity and we have excellent safety protocols in place. Snowmobiling throughout this season has been a ton of fun. Recent storms have led to great snow conditions. And now, we’re excited that spring is around the corner. Before we know it, we will be making the transition from snowmobiling to rafting season!

Snowmobile Tour in Vail, Colorado

Colorado’s White Water Rafting Season

As we look forward to spring and the summer rafting season, we can’t help but get excited. This winter was unique with big early-season storms during the late fall – followed by a relatively dry period around the holidays. Fortunately, we’ve had a snowy February and early March. Snowpack across the state is catching up. Lots of snow on the mountains means great rafting conditions ahead!

Gore Creek and Eagle River Rafting Conditions

Right here in the Colorado River basin, the current snowpack is about 85% of normal with more spring storms in the forecast. With a near-average snowpack in the high country, we can expect good early season rafting on Gore Creek and the Eagle River, which are some of Colorado’s best early summer trips.

In fact, when the Eagle River is at its peak, it’s some of the best whitewater in the country. But what makes the Eagle River is unique, is the steady downward gradient. The upper section from Minturn to Avon features a consistent elevation drop, essentially creating a 10-mile long wave train.

If you’ve never experienced Gore Creek or the Eagle River, don’t wait – come experience it this year!

Colorado White Water Rafting Trip in March

Arkansas River Rafting Conditions

Meanwhile, over in the Arkansas River basin, the snowpack currently sits about 90% of normal. This is the most famous stretch of whitewater in Colorado for good reason. Once the spring thaw begins, we’re in for a memorable summer of whitewater rafting on the Ark.

The world-famous Pine Creek and Numbers sections of the Arkansas River boast some of the best class IV and V whitewater rafting in the country. Further downstream, Browns Canyon National Monument offers a trip through an incredibly scenic gorge with 10 miles of class III rapids. Add to this a backdrop of 14,000-foot peaks and rocky desert landscapes, and it’s easy to see why the Ark is a popular rafting destination.

The 2020 rafting season in Colorado is shaping up to be a great one. If you’re planning a trip to Colorado this year, be sure and reserve dates early for your whitewater adventure.

To learn more, visit our Rafting Page. If you have questions or to book a trip, please call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

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 Mountain Snowmobile Trails

How to Maintain Groomed Mountain 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!

Sage’s Mountain Grooming Equipment

“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 snowcat 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 snowdrifts and more powder.”

Mountain Grooming Equipment

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

Operating a Snowcat: Trees, Trails, and lots of Snow

“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: a donut and coffee

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

Enjoy the snow with a snowmobile tour

This winter, there may be no better way to celebrate the holidays than with a mountain snowmobile tour in Vail, Colorado! Avoid crowded ski areas and long lift lines and come enjoy the wide-open 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!

Vail’s Best Private Snowmobile Trails

Our private mountain is larger than Vail ski area and home to more than 100 miles of trails. With a professional fleet of snowcats at our disposal, we’re able to build out custom trails specifically designed to optimize your snowmobiling tour. We’ll take you on a tour through an everchanging landscape full of twists and turns, giving you a full view of the stunning scenery in addition to adrenaline-pumping speed. Whether you’re an experienced snowmobiler or are hitting the trails for the first time, our guides will be able to customize the experience to your needs.

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!

Holiday Snowmobile Tours in Vail Colorado

Enjoy Winter Season with Snowmobiling Adventures

Snowmobiling Near Vail Colorado

When winter season hits us here in the Vail Valley, we can’t help but get excited for a winter full of snowmobiling adventures!

It’s a magical time when the snow begins to fall. The snowmobiles are ready. The snowcats will soon begin grooming trails throughout our 6,000-acre private mountain playground. And our guides will start welcoming guests for our incredible trips.

To get a feel for the snowmobiling experience here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, check out this tour of the operation:

This is winter fun at its finest, and Sage makes the most of it!

Our Private Winter Snowmobiling Base

Having a base of operations on a beautiful private mountain near Vail, Colorado allows us to offer a snowmobiling experience that’s unrivaled. It’s one of our greatest points of pride here at Sage Outdoor Adventures. It’s a big part of what makes us different.

The Benefits of a Private Mountain Experience

A snowmobile tour with us means having access to 6,000 rideable acres. What does that mean for our guests? To put it in perspective, that’s bigger than the Vail ski area, and it’s entirely yours. The only people you’ll see on the entire mountain are other Sage guests. Most tour companies rely on Forest Service permits: they are forced to deal with public conditions and are restricted to specific trails and small play areas.

Winter Season in Vail, CO is a Snowmobiling paradise

Our riders get to explore the entire mountain. This mountain paradise has 2,500 feet of vertical, more than 100 miles of maintained trails, and expansive meadows for open riding. Our base of operations sits at 8,100 feet elevation, the same as Vail and Beaver Creek Villages. Most of our mountain is north-facing, which preserves snow conditions on our trails.

A Base Cabin with Stunning Views of the Winter Landscape

Finally, the private mountain experience offers an unparalleled level of comfort. Whereas operators on public trails are forced to use temporary check-in trailers and outhouses, our guests enjoy a cozy cabin at our mountain base. Our base is nestled in a scenic valley with incredible views. The cabin is a great place for customers to relax, with wood-burning stoves, fully equipped restrooms, and a 5,000 square-foot deck overlooking the valley.

Private Snowmobiling Trails

Trail quality is another major point of pride. Our crew sets the standard for excellent trails and grooming. We operate three Snowcats for grooming, plus five drag groomers that are pulled by snowmobiles. Trail maintenance takes a lot of effort and our team is the best in the business. On a snowmobile ride with us, you won’t have to worry about hitting washboard sections or nasty dips. You’ll be free to enjoy the incredible scenery and an experience like nowhere else!

a Private Mountain allows for an Exclusive Snowmobiling Experience

The best mountain and the greatest facilities wouldn’t mean what they do without our incredible team. Our people are still what make a Sage experience truly special – but having the opportunity to operate in such an incredible location sure doesn’t hurt!

To learn more bout the winter experience here at Sage, please take a few minutes to scroll through our Snowmobiling Page. You’ll find information on trips, pricing, and more. To reserve dates, just follow the “book now” button on the website. Or if you’d like to discuss it with our team, feel free to give us a call at 970-476-3700.

Preparing For an Awesome Snowmobile Season in Vail, CO

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 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 a safe, socially distanced activity this winter, it doesn’t get any better than a snowmobile ride on this expansive mountain.

Our mountain headquarters is home to a comfortable base of operations with a heated lodge and indoor restrooms. We are taking 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.

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 a way that’s safe and easily complies with COVID-19 guidelines.

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 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!