A Driver’s Side Look at Our Side-By-Side ATV Tours

ATV tour near Vail, Colorado

Your summer adventure isn’t complete until you experience a side-by-side ATV tour. This is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. When you feel the open air and the excitement of these 4×4 vehicles, riding on wild trails throughout our 6,000-acre private mountain, it will leave you speechless.

Tour a Private Mountain

Right here in the Vail Valley and close to Beaver Creek, we offer side-by-side ATV adventures on an area that’s larger than the Vail ski area – and it’s exclusively for Sage guests. We have the entire place to ourselves, to explore and to take in this wild, Colorado mountain experience.

Enjoy Custom-Built Side-by-Side Trails

Our side-by-side trails are custom-built, specifically for this purpose. Unlike some tours out there, these aren’t just old borrowed Forest Service trails. We’ve designed a trail system to maximize your experience on this epic mountain. We’ll cruise through open meadows full of wildflowers. We will twist and turn through aspen and spruce forests. And we’ll take in jaw-dropping views of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Side-by-side ATVs

Catch a Glimpse of the Wildlife

The mountain is home to elk, deer, and a variety of wildlife. From here we can enjoy views of seven different mountain ranges, including the continental divide. We can even hike out to the rim of the Eagle River Canyon, and look off into the 2,400-foot gorge. It’s a special place, and we can’t wait to share it with you!

If you’d like to learn more about our side-by-side ATV tours, please click here where you’ll find pricing and the ability to book online. If you’d like to speak with someone here at Sage, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 970-476-3700.

See you on the mountain this summer!

ATV Tours in Colorado

3 Things You Need For Every Colorado Summer Adventure

Colorado Summer Adventure

The summer season is flying by and we’re having a blast on rafting trips, horseback rides, side-by-side ATV rides and fly fishing trips with all of our guests. It has been a beautiful summer so far here in the Colorado high country.

As you prepare for your own summer adventures, here are three easy-to-overlook items that you’ll need for any Colorado summer adventure. Whether you’re on the water or on the trail, don’t forget to pack these critical items.

  1. 1. Sunblock

In the Colorado high country, the sun comes full-strength. If you appreciate your skin, don’t leave home, or your hotel room without it. We’ve seen plenty of folks put a damper on their trip by getting burned on the first day. Whether you’re out for a couple of hours of horseback riding or a full day of rafting, take the time to apply some sunblock, even if you don’t burn easily. Don’t underestimate the power of the summer sun here at altitude.

Summer Season

  1. 2. Sunglasses

Again, the sun at high elevations in the Rockies runs hot. It can be hard on your eyes if you’re not wearing UV protection. Glare from water and snow can be especially harmful. Be sure to pack a pair of sunglasses when you set out for a day of adventuring. If you’re headed for the river, don’t forget sunglass straps!

Colorado Summer Adventure

  1. 3. Water Bottle

The arid Colorado climate and the high altitude combine to cause quick dehydration. Headaches are the most common reaction to altitude. Fortunately, drinking plenty of water is usually the best prevention. And in an effort to limit the large amount of waste generated by plastic bottles, remember to bring your own reusable water bottle on each day’s adventure.

Finally, come with a flexible attitude and ready to have fun! Our crew will take care of the controllable factors – but on any mountain adventure, weather and conditions can vary. A smile and a sense of adventure will go a long way toward making any situation a fun one. If you have questions about summer trips with Sage Outdoor Adventures, give us a call at 970-476-3700. Explore the rest of our website for trip information, booking and more.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips

Ready For Summer? Experience a Side-by-Side ATV Adventure

ATV tour near Vail, Colorado

While rafting trips need no explanation and horseback riding is always a popular mountain activity, we often receive questions about our side-by-side ATV tours. You may be asking yourself: what makes these trips so special? Why take time to explore the Vail area in an ATV?

It’s a valid question. While many regular Vail and Beaver Creek vacationers can lay claim to at least one previous horseback ride or rafting trip, we get a lot of first-timers on our ATV trips. But after their first time, we can almost guarantee – it won’t be the last!

What’s so special about the Sage ATV Experience?

What makes these trips so special? First and probably most obviously, it’s the wind on your face and the fast-paced, driver’s seat view of Colorado’s spectacular mountain country. On our side-by-side ATV tours, you are the driver of your own adventure.

Next, we are fortunate to operate on a 6,000-acre private mountain base area. To put it in perspective, that’s larger than Vail ski area. Plus, we enjoy exploring an additional 14,000 acres of adjoining public land. We have a ton of country to explore, and it’s only accessible to Sage guests.

In addition to the exclusivity, what’s the biggest benefit of having access to this historic private mountain? We’re driving on trails that are specifically designed for side-by-side ATV adventures. These aren’t your average Forest Service roads. On private land, we custom design our ATV trails to be extremely entertaining. And that’s exactly what they are!

Finally, the Sage experience is special because we run new, top-of-the-line machines. Our Maverick’s offer outstanding handling and performance that makes the entire experience that much more fun!

For more information about our ATV tours here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, check out our Side-by-Side ATV Page. For booking and availability contact us or call us now at 970-476-3700.

Side-by-side ATVs overlooking Vail, Colorado's Mountain Range

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

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!