Vail Valley Bizwatch: SAGE Outdoor Adventures
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail Business name: SAGE Outdoor Adventures.
Open since: May of this year.
Owners: Cole Bangert, Autumn Eggleston (Bangert), Darryl Bangert.
Contact info: Call Darryl or Cole, 476-3700.
What goods or services do you provide? Outdoor recreation on rafts and Segways. We run four different river systems: The Eagle River, the Colorado in the State Bridge area, the Arkansas in the Numbers and Browns Canyon areas, and Clear Creek.
Whats new and exciting at your place? We have river bases on all our rivers. This is the Southwest Airlines of the river world – you are now free to move about your rivers! The bases are perfect because we can cut costs for our guests and increase the quality of trip.
Most summer visitors have cars, and they like to drive them. So… drive anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours and you can get to one of our bases on all four river systems. That’s more than 15 different launch times on eight different runs.
Freedom of timing is very important to vacationers, so we provide that!
What philosophy do you follow in your business? Our customers expect us to be the professionals in whitewater. We assume that role by being completely honest with advice on which river, at what time, with what guide suits them best. If we do not do the run they should be on when they can go, then we refer them to a company that can do it.
If they like their trip, they will call us again. Everyone in the rafting industry needs to support each other and continue to grow the client base.
Also, what’s the number-one reason people don’t do another raft trip? Because they got cold. We provide all the gear you need to stay warm as part of our trips. If we can put men on the moon – or at least in Area 51 – then we should be able to stay warm here.
Tell us a little bit about your background and education. Darryl, the dad in this partnership, was the first raft guide in Vail in 1976, doing daily runs on the Colorado and Arkansas rivers for the newly-formed day trip business, Timberline Tours.
Once Robin and Darryl became pregnant with Autumn they decided being raft guides alone would not feed the family, so we started Eagle River Whitewater and began our first commercial trips in 1983. This company became the largest Vail rafting company by 1988. We merged with Timberline in 1989 and marketed jointly under the Timberline name.
In 1992 we sold our interest in the company and traveled. In 1995 we started Lakota Guides to set new standards of customer service. We sold this in 2005 and traveled again. So, here we are again, only this time the kids will want to run this business until forever or later.
Darryl has degree in Environmental studies, Robin in Horticulture, Autumn in photography and Cole in Professional Mountain Biking.
What’s the most humorous thing that’s happened at your business since you opened?
We paid for both kids’ births by doing trade-outs with the hospital for raft trips. We actually got money back after Cole’s birth.
Dr Freedman delivered both kids, and since we paddled kayaks together I asked him to do a home delivery. His reply: “Pizzas are for home delivery.”
Dr. Freedman was a great supporter and actually he and Dr.P etrie and wives were our first clients in 1983 on the Upper Eagle River. They brought a bottle of champagne and christened our one leaky rafts to start our business.
The Vail Valley’s real estate market has long been an unusual one, with very expensive sales accounting for a large share of the market’s dollar volume. That means a few sales can have a large impact on volume.