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!

A New Winter Season of Snowmobiling Adventures

Snowmobiling Near Vail Colorado

We’ve already welcomed the first snowfall of the season here in the Vail Valley, and we’re getting excited for a winter full of of snowmobiling adventures!

The snowmobiles are ready. The snowcats will soon begin grooming trails throughout this 6,000-acre private mountain playground. And our guides are thrilled to start welcoming guests for these 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!

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.

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 private. 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Current Snowmobile Conditions in the Vail Valley

Snow Conditions near Vail

While the lift lines at Vail ski area have been making national headlines, we’re here playing in the snow on our 6,000-acre private mountain. That’s an area larger than the Vail ski area. And we have it all to ourselves!

Snowmobile Conditions

Snowstorms recently have been measured in feet. Snowmobile conditions in the Vail Valley are simply outstanding. Our fleet of snowcats and grooming equipment are working hard to keep trails in excellent shape. And guests are having a blast, ripping through fresh snow on our private mountain!

At the time of this blog post, snowpack in Colorado is about 114% of normal statewide. Right here in the Colorado River basin, it’s 123% of normal. We’ve been receiving one storm after another, constantly resetting these ideal conditions for our snowmobile guests.

Our private mountain is home to more than 100 miles of custom designed snowmobile trails. And it’s only for Sage guests. Our three snowcats groom 7 days a week. You won’t feel any of those nasty dips that you might have experienced on higher-traffic snowmobile tours.

From our private mountain, guests enjoy views of seven mountain ranges, including the continental divide. From one point, you’ll have a front-row seat at the edge of the Eagle River Canyon in its entire red rock splendor. Our snowmobile trips wind through aspen groves and spruce forests. There are plenty of open meadows where you can really let your snowmobile rip.

Snow Conditions near Vail

With snow conditions the way they are, escape those lift lines and come experience the beauty of Colorado’s wild country on a quiet mountain. On these modern snowmobiles, the quiet, fuel-efficient engines are hardly noticeable. It’s a mountain experience you won’t forget.

To learn more, please visit our snowmobiling page. You’ll find information on trips, pricing and links to book your adventure. For immediate availability, please give us a call now at 970-476-3700. We can’t wait to show you around our private mountain paradise!