Sage started running class 3 rivers in her own boat when she was 7 years old, including the Chili Bar section of the South Fork of the American and 144 out of 226 miles of the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River, up to class 7. By age 8, she was stepping up to class 4 river’s including The Numbers section of the Arkansas River in Colorado and The Pitt River in California where her 20 ft. slide photo made the month of March in the 2010 American Whitewater calendar. At age 9, Sage continues to step up her river running with impressive runs on the Lobin and Cresta sections of the North Fork of the Feather River, the Gateway section of the Kaweah River and the Chamberlain Falls section of the North Fork of the American River in California, the Staircase section and the Canyon section of the South Fork of the Payette River, and Brush Creek and Pauley Creek in California.
Sage Donnelly has been a whitewater kayaker since she was 2 years old. As a small child, she could be seen on many class 2 rivers sitting in the front cockpit of an old Topoduo with her Dad in the back hole and her Mom in a separate kayak paddling alongside, squealing with delight as she was splashed in the face by waves or smiling and quietly pointing as she watched deer, bear and even turtles in their natural habitat. When not in the Topo, she spent many days and nights on raft trips on her family’s 14 foot raft, creating lifetime memories of fun and relaxation on rivers such as the Grand Rhonde, San Juan, Green and Colorado. As she grew from wobbly toddler to inquisitive child, her desire for her own independence and the creation of the Jackson Fun1 led her parents to purchase her first boat and a kayaker was born. She quickly learned to eddy and ferry and loved riding “roller coasters” on the river, always led by her Dad, and followed by her Mom who both took extreme pleasure in being on the river with their little “duckling”. As her experience grew, so did her desire for variety in rapids, rivers and travel, and her family set out to explore neighboring states in their silver Sportsmobile van. By the age of 5, Sage had traveled to California, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Colorado, all in search of river experiences.
When Sage turned 6, her river passion took on a new form of paddling, competing in river festivals. She started out doing down river races, boater cross and slalom races on the Truckee River, and by the age of 7, she was traveling to neighboring states to compete in their river festivals in slalom and freestyle rodeo. By the age of 8, she was placing and winning in cadet and junior classes throughout the west. Also at the age of 7, Sage had the opportunity to kayak the Grand Canyon on a 16 day private trip. Not only did she kayak 144 miles of it in her own boat, up to class 7, but she was able to submerse herself in the incredible solitude that only the Colorado River has to offer and learned to truly appreciate the need for recreational activities for friends and families to participate in and experience.
When not on the river, Sage can be found pursuing one of her other interests include alpine skiing where she skied her first double diamond at the age of 5, The Wall at Kirkwood, Ca, and competed on their JETS team where she placed in many races, and rock climbing where she has successfully climbed up to 5.10c and several multi pitch routes including the 8 pitch 5.7 route Snake Dike on Half Dome in Yosemite, Ca. She also loves animals and travels in her van with her 4 large dogs (3 Rhodesian ridgebacks and a wolf dog) and her cat (aka the van cat) and has several pet snakes and fish at home.
At the age of 3, Sage was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and at age 8, celiac disease, a condition where she can not eat wheat, rye, barley and oats. She has been homeschooled since kindergarten and is currently in 4th grade. This summer she shot a kids TV pilot as their whitewater expert and introduced a group of kids to whitewater kayaking.. Sage is hoping to introduce more kids to the excitement and thrills she experiences in kayaking, the sport she loves.