Snow Conditions and Snowmobile Trail Update

Vail Area Snow Conditions

Early season Snow conditions in the Vail Valley have been incredible. The 2018/2019-winter season is shaping up to be the best we’ve seen in years.

Snowmobile Conditions

Ski areas have received record amounts of early season snowfall, and snowmobiling conditions on our ranch are outstanding. Currently, snowpack in the Colorado River basin is over 130% of normal. And it’s more than 200% above this time last year!

This is the year to experience a backcountry snowmobile adventure in Colorado. Our 6,000-acre private ranch nestled close to Vail and Beaver Creek has over 100 miles of custom-designed snowmobile trails. It’s an area larger than Vail ski area, and we have three grooming machines to keep trails in great shape.

With all the snow we’ve had so far this season, our grommers have been busy, and trails are in excellent condition. The ranch here is looking beautiful. Guests are enjoying rides through beautiful snow-covered aspen groves and stands of old-growth timber. The wide-open meadows are perfect for testing the throttle on our lineup of new SkiDoo snowmobiles. And views from the ranch overlooking the Vail Valley and the Eagle River Canyon don’t get any more spectacular.

Our fleet of Snowmobiles from SkiDoo features new 4-stroke technology. These machines are very quiet and incredibly fuel-efficient. We like to brag about providing a much smaller carbon footprint than skiing. An experience here is a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the ski slopes. There may be no better way to experience the peacefulness of the mountains in winter.

This historic private ranch is only open to guests of Sage Outdoor Adventures. There’s never any crowding here. Escape the lift lines and come spend a day in the Colorado backcountry on an unforgettable snowmobile experience!

To schedule your snowmobile tour, call us at 970-476-3700 or connect with us online.

 

Technology and the Modern Snowmobile Experience

These aren’t your father’s snowmobiles. When arriving for a snowmobile tour, many of our guests are surprised at the change in snowmobiles since they last rode as a kid. Machines used to be noisy, and emit a strong smell of gas exhaust. But the modern snowmobile experience is something completely different.

You might be surprised to learn that snowmobiles have an incredibly small carbon footprint, particularly compared to the amount of energy required to operate ski lifts. On an average snowmobile tour, your sled will use less than a gallon of gas. In the modern era of sled technology, snowmobile tours are an environmentally responsible and memorable way to experience the beautiful Colorado backcountry.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, our guests get the very best in snowmobile technology. We are proud to have a lineup of 90 Ski-Doo Grand Touring Sport sleds. These snowmobiles feature 4 stroke engines, which are incredibly quiet, clean and very fuel-efficient. They are lightweight, comfortable and fun to ride!

You can always count on Sage to have the best possible machines available. That’s because we are a Ski-Doo direct dealer, getting sleds direct from the factory and having factory-trained mechanics. Our snowmobiles are on a two-year rotation, guaranteeing our guests the newest and best technology available.

When you embark on that snowmobile tour, you can expect an outstanding Colorado mountain experience. Many of our guests have the opportunity to see wildlife that winters on the ranch. You’ll enjoy catching speed through some of our freshly groomed meadows, and winding peacefully through stands of aspen and spruce trees. And you’ll have to catch your breath as you see the incredible views over the Eagle River Canyon and the whole Vail Valley.

Snowmobile technology has certainly changed dramatically over the past 15 years. If you haven’t experienced it, it’s time to hop on and take a ride! Be sure to check out our Snowmobiling Page.

If you have questions about tours or availability, please call us at 970-476-3700. You can also contact us online for information.

The Best Snowmobile Experience in the Vail Valley

It’s a bold statement. But we will gladly make it. We truly believe that we offer the very best snowmobile experience in the Vail Valley, period.

Make no bones about it; this high country snowmobile tour is not like any other.  What’s the difference maker? It’s that we operate on a beautiful and historic private ranch, an area larger than Vail Ski area.

But boasting about ‘a private ranch’ may not mean anything at first glance. So what does that mean in reality? First, most snowmobile operations are based on Forest Service land, where they aren’t permitted to build permanent structures. That means you’ve got a port-o-potty on the side of a logging road.

Here at Sage, we are blessed with a comfortable base of operations. Our guests arrive to a cozy lodge. You’ll be able to suit up in your snowmobile duds in comfort. And yes, we have real restrooms!

But the benefits of a private ranch experience don’t end there. We’ve got a lineup of serious grooming equipment and more than 100 miles of professionally groomed trails! Operations on Forest Service land are forced into existing designated trails and don’t have the ability to customize rides for snowmobile tours.

Our many varied trails were designed and are maintained for snowmobiling. They aren’t just old logging roads. You’ll experience open sage flats, giant stands of aspen, winding turns through spruce forests, and jaw-dropping views from the edge of the Eagle River canyon, tumbling more than 2,400 feet below you.

We also groom and maintain 10 sprawling meadows, specifically for playing on snowmobiles! With 6,000 acres to explore and backcountry views of six different mountain ranges, it doesn’t take long to realize why this really is the very best snowmobile experience in the Vail valley.

Snowmobile Tour

For options and pricing, please check out our Snowmobiling Page. You can also call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Something Completely Different: Horseback Rides With Sage

When was your last horseback ride? Was it a nose-to-tail, hardly thrilling experience? Well, you can forget it. We’ll show you a horseback riding experience the way it was meant to be.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we explore big, wide-open spaces. We ride through open meadows, aspen groves, stands of old-growth spruce forest, and along mountain lakes. Our horses are trained to ride side-by-side rather than in single-file formation.

Where most outfitters are limited to single-track Forest Service trails, we offer something completely different. Operating on a historic ranch near Vail, Colorado, we get to explore 6,000 acres of private, spectacular scenery. The Ranch is the size of Vail Ski area, and it’s exclusive to our guests. Not only will you be able to break formation, you’ll have the place to yourself!

Our base of operations on this incredible ranch provides the perfect summer home for our horses. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a beautiful new place on horseback, and our excellent wranglers will help make sure you feel comfortable and ready to enjoy it. We can accommodate riders of any ability level.

Perched above the Vail Valley and overlooking the Eagle River Canyon, this ranch is a quick drive from Vail and Beaver Creek. We offer free hotel pickup and two-hour rides that will have you back in time to enjoy the rest of your day.

Take a look at this video that highlights our horseback riding experience:

To learn more about horseback rides with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. For availability and reservations, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Early Summer Rafting and Runoff Explained

By Cole Bangert

Undammed rivers have a unique quality when the weather warms up and the snow melts. We get to watch the delayed reaction on an hourly basis from our office on the bank of the Eagle River.

Snow accumulates throughout the winter at elevations between 8,000 and 14,000 feet. In the spring, the lowest snow melts first. Waterways become murky and levels are boosted, but not to floatable levels. On cold days, the water level goes down. On warm days is rises, but this fluctuation is minor, since the amount of snow melting at lower elevations is not very substantial early in the spring.

As spring progresses, the deeper snowpack at higher elevations begins to warm and melt. This is the time period when you will see the rivers start to have dramatic changes. The water will be muddy, cold, and fast.

In the Vail Valley, we watch the Eagle River fluctuate on a 12-hour cycle. For example, the river will be at its highest flows at about 2:00 a.m. Just 12 hours prior, that snow was quickly melting during the hottest part the day, around 2:00PM.

As days warm or cool, we can almost always predict what the river levels will do the next day. For example, if the river has been steadily rising for five days, and then we get a cold rain storm, we can predict a drop in river levels the next day.

This often seems backwards to many visitors. Rain should equal higher river levels, right? But here’s what happens: that rain is actually snow up at high elevations. Instead of the snowpack melting and raising the river, the storm actually re-freezes the snow and the water levels will drop the next day.

So, what happens when the weather is the opposite? When we get an absolute scorcher of a day, we expect to see a massive jump in water flows the very next day. The hot weather heats and quickly melts the snowpack. We have seen the river go up by over 30% overnight.

The peak flow is different every year. It is totally dependent on how much snow fell over the winter. After the peak, the water will slowly diminish in volume. The river will drop in level much slower and more gradually than when it rises with snowmelt on its way up to the peak.

As we get into July, the only snowpack remaining is on the highest peaks. At this time of year, our fluctuations mellow out. Summer temperatures are more stable and warm, so a consistent melt rate occurs. Eventually, all the snow melts, and the water you see in the river is a result of ground water seeping out of the earth and running down the riverbed.

Moderate snow levels and moderate river levels are actually ideal for our summer rafting guests. When the rivers are “cranking” with tons of snowmelt, river access can be tricky. Flood levels can even close some stretches of river. The low height of bridges or the severity of rapids can make some areas impassable.

The winter of 2017-2018 was below average for snowpack in the Vail area. But that does not equal sub-par rafting. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. We expect this summer to be one of the best rafting seasons ever!