After the Lifts Close: Enjoying Spring in Colorado

Many ski lifts across Colorado will make their final rotations of the season this weekend. But while the ski season is coming to an end, there’s plenty to do to stay busy! We’ve also closed our snowmobile tours for the season. And with a few weeks until our rafting trips begin, you can be sure the Crew here at Sage will be enjoying some time off!

This time of year, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the snow in the high country. Especially with the amount of snow we’ve had this year, backcountry skiing and snowmobiling opportunities will be excellent this spring. There are also plenty of places to get out and enjoy the spring sunshine on a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis.

For the climbing enthusiasts, the hefty snowpack this season will allow for some outstanding routes on some of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. This will be a great season for 14ers, with some perfect ski or glissade descents.

If you’re looking for things to do that don’t involve snow, there are plenty of options. Most hiking trails at lower elevations are have opened up. This is a great time of year to visit Colorado’s red desert country. Colorado National Monument and Dinosaur National Monument provide ideal spring hiking conditions.

Not far away, national parks in Utah and Arizona are also great spring destinations. In fact, the Sage rafting team is taking a trip to raft the Salt River in Arizona before heading to the National Championships in May! Stay tuned for updates and photos from both of those trips.

guided fly fishingFinally, anglers have been enjoying an excellent spring fishing season. The pre-runoff conditions this year have been great. Many waters around the state have been fishing very well. As runoff begins to take hold, these conditions will change rapidly. But even during peak runoff there are always plenty of places to hook into beautiful, wild trout.

We are very excited for our summer season to begin! We’re looking forward to some great rafting, horseback riding, ATV tours, sporting clays and fly fishing adventures! But until our summer activities pick up next month, you can bet we will be out enjoying the best of spring in Colorado!

Shifting Gears and Looking Ahead to Summer Adventures

Summer Adventures

Spring snowmobile conditions have been outstanding here at Sage Outdoor Adventures! We’ve enjoyed a great season of snowmobile tours and we’d like to thank everyone who has visited us this season! We’ve enjoyed meeting many of you and we hope to see you back here next year!

We have decided to wrap up our snowmobile tours for the season so that we can give our staff a break before we jump into summer activities like rafting, horseback riding, ATV tours and more. It’s always sad to put the snowmobiles away for the year, but we have a lot of great summer fun to look forward to.

It’s currently snowing here in the Vail Valley and the snowpack continues to pile up! Rafting season is going to be awesome in Colorado this year and we are already busy preparing for our whitewater trips.

Even amid the warm weather that we’re starting to enjoy, snowpack is still at about 110% of normal here in central Colorado. As weather continues to warm up, we will start to see water levels rising in local rivers. If you’re planning a trip to Colorado this spring or summer, be sure and call us for details.

You won’t find a more fun, dedicated and experienced group of rafting guides anywhere in the state. Sage owner Darryl Bangert has been guiding commercially here since the 1970s and we work extremely hard to carry on that incredible legacy of quality rafting adventures.

If you have questions about summer tours or availability over the coming months, please give us a call at 970-476-3700. Or you can find more information on our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com.

Spring Break in the Rockies: Big Storms and Plenty of Sunshine

Spring Break in the Rockies

As we’ve mentioned in recent weeks, snow conditions are incredible right now in Colorado, with snowpack well above average. For those of you looking forward to Spring Break vacations later this month, there’s a lot to get excited about!

Spring in Colorado usually means two things: giant storms and abundant sunshine. Many folks are surprised to learn that historically, March brings more snowfall than any other month in Colorado. Here in the Rockies, spring storms tend to be measured in feet, not inches.

In between each big dump of snow, there’s rarely an overcast day. Sunshine is the norm. As the days get longer, the sun is getting stronger. So do not forget sunscreen on your spring break snowmobile rides! Sun protection for spring vacationers to Colorado is no joke. In addition to sunscreen, a good pair of goggles is essential to protect your eyes in the bright, snowy conditions.

Our guests will enjoy awesome conditions this year all the way through April. While we close our winter business on April 16, backcountry skiers and snowmobilers will be kept busy well into June this year. This year’s snow conditions are setting up for a fun season of backcountry skiing in Colorado. Those great 50-degree slopes usually become available in May after the spring slide cycle. This year, the amount of snow will provide an even longer season than normal.

This year’s conditions are also setting up perfectly for a great climbing season on Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. Some fun snow routes will be available this year for the 14er enthusiasts, plus the opportunities to glissade down. There’s a lot of adventure to look forward to over the next few months!

Finally, if you’re getting as excited as we are about summer activities like rafting, be sure to check out the Summer Pages on our website. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700 for trip booking info. We look forward to seeing you here at Sage Outdoor Adventures!

Snow Update: What it means for Snowmobiling and Summer Rafting

This winter, the Vail Valley and the rest of Colorado has experienced some of the best early season snow conditions that we’ve seen in years. With snowpack reaching nearly 150% of normal, our snowmobile tours this season have been incredible! If you haven’t been paying attention, be sure to follow us on Instagram, @sageoutdoors or like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/SageOutdoors.

All this snow came before the middle of February and that means there’s more in store! Another series of storms is predicted over the next week that will provide our snowmobile tours with a nice “reset” for powder conditions. Then consider that March is typically the wettest month in Colorado. We can expect to see great spring break snowmobiling conditions. And with a hefty snowpack, visitors to the Vail and Beaver Creek area could have great spring snowmobiling opportunities all the way through April.

For many of us here at Sage, snowmobiling is only one of the perks of a healthy snowpack. Our rafting guides are already drooling at the prospect of an epic runoff season. With this much snow in the high country, we could be looking at a great summer of whitewater rafting adventures.

Currently, snowpack in the Colorado River basin and statewide is at about 145% of normal. Here’s to hoping that we see a few more big storms before the winter is out!

For more information on our guided snowmobile tours, please check out our Snowmobiling Page. If you’re planning a summer trip to Colorado or interested in the upcoming rafting season, be sure to visit our Rafting Page. Other activities include horseback riding, ATV tours, sporting clays and fly fishing.

Explore the entire site and all these great adventures at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. Or give us a call at 970-476-3700.

The Importance of Suspension for Serious Snowmobile Riders

Snowmobile

By Cole Bangert

Suspension is a crucial part of the setup for more aggressive and advanced snowmobile riders. It changes the entire feel of the machine. Over the past several years, I’ve been spoiled by Fox Racing Shocks and have learned why great suspension makes a world of difference.

Correct suspension settings allow a rider to approach any terrain far more aggressively. With proper suspension, the sled becomes more predictable. This affects the proper ride height, weight distribution, and rebound and compression rates.

Stock suspension on most snowmobiles tends to be soft. Soft suspension creates an unsettled feeling in the sled. It can feel somewhat unstable at high speeds and unpredictable in changing snow densities. When encountering unforeseen obstacles or firm snow layers, a rider will “slap” the bottom of the suspension. This is an awful feeling. It’s a resounding slapping noise that can be heard over the motor. The result is not good. It hurts your wrists, ankles, sled, and confidence.

Aftermarket suspension, especially Fox, will not increase the amount of suspension travel you get on a snowmobile, but is infinitely more tunable. You can set it up correctly for your particular ride weight, style and terrain.

The “spring rate” is what holds you and the sled off the ground. Traditional springs are steel or titanium. Most vehicles on the road have same thing, steel springs holding the weight of the car. Most Fox Shocks for snowmobiles have an air spring. There is a pressurized air chamber holding the weight up. This offers a different feel from steel and is also highly adjustable. With nothing more than a pocket size pump, changes can easily be made on the fly.

The next point of consideration is damping. To understand damping, picture a pogo stick. When compressed, it rebounds and flings you right back up in the air. Not something you want to happen in suspension. Damping is what slows the compression and rebound so the reaction of the shock is manageable.

Damping is also adjustable. It can be as easy as using a clicker knob on the outside of the shock. There are typically high and low speed adjusters for compression and rebound. This is often confusing for riders, so here is a simple way to decipher high speed versus low speed damping:

Low speed damping is your body weight. This includes anything you are doing to the shock by pushing down with your body weight, like compressions on the face of a jump. The speed of your shock compressing and rebounding is quite slow on these.

High-speed damping comes from the ground up. This might be a square edge bump that you hit at a fast rate of speed. Your shock compression and rebound speed are very fast and abrupt. You need faster rebound on this type of obstacle because there may be multiple obstacles right after one another. If your rebound is too slow, your shock will not recover to full length before the next hit. This causes the suspension to “pack up” and operate on the bottom of the stroke, which is not a good feeling.

Good suspension is a must for any semi serious to serious snowmobile rider. It changes the game, changes how and where you will ride. It’s a major confidence booster, and confidence is everything in a rider.

For more information on snowmobile rides and the other adventures we offer near Vail, Colorado, please explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com or call us at 970-476-3700.