Heavy snowpack should make for excellent whitewater rafting season
April 29, 2008
The heavy snowfall Grand County received this winter didn’t only make for a good ski season, it also will contribute to a great rafting season, says Helena Powell, director of marketing for Adventures In Whitewater.
Locals should book their trips now to receive half off the rafting costs in June, she said.
“The water’s going to be phenomenal with all of our snowpack,” she said. “It will fill up the reservoirs. It will be very, very fun and exciting.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that all of this snow is going to melt and make for a great water year.”
People have already started booking trips for the “high water” season.
“We find more people are coming,” Powell said. “More water, more waves.”
The Adventures in Whitewater staff are setting up shops in Winter Park, Kremmling and near Idaho Springs, and booking callers’ reservations.
The first trips start in mid-May, and the company gets busy near Memorial Day. The busiest part of the season is near the Fourth of July.
Powell recommends that big groups book their trips as soon as possible.
The company will sponsor the Middle Park High School Outdoor Adventure Education rafting trips. Sophomores will take on the Colorado River, while juniors paddle the Green River.
“I think it’s really important for the kids,” Powell said. “Living in this area and being able to do some hands-on learning … is amazingly beneficial.”
Adventures in Whitewater stresses safety because, like any mountain sport, it can be dangerous. Powell says they tell people to stay within their limits, especially with the potential high water season.
Everyone is required to wear life jackets, and those boating on Clear Creek must wear helmets. The company also provides paddles.
The staff suggests new rafters accompany professionals on their first whitewater rafting trips. The head guide gives the group a safety talk before the trip begins.
“I’m an advocate for guided trips,” Powell added.
She said most people participate in the guided tips because they don’t own boats. Not many businesses rent rafts, she said.
“More people probably have mountain bikes than rafts,” Powell said. “We’ll have locals that will come out on guided trips with us.”
The company owns more than 20 rafts, ranging in size from 11 feet to 16 feet. It also owns several inflatable kayaks. People can take kayaks out on the Colorado River.
“(It’s) For people who already know what’s going on or want to do something more exciting on the family trip,” Powell said.
People ages 3-80 raft on the Colorado River, and even people who can’t paddle can participate.
People enjoy “beautiful” scenery on the trips. A guide also tells the group what’s going on during the trip and helps with steering.
All rafters paddle on Clear Creek, Powell said. People must be at least 13-years-old to raft there. The ride involves more of a “thrill,” hard paddling, big drops and large waves.
The creek’s water is all mountain runoff. While Clear Creek still too low for rafting, Powell said the Colorado River is at a good level.