Excellent whitewater rafting season expected in Colorado

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IDAHO SPRINGS — Thanks to Colorado’s healthy snowpack levels, local rafting guides are predicting a longer than normal whitewater rafting season this year.

Last year, conditions weren’t as stellar in certain parts of the state due in part to drought.

The whitewater rafting season usually starts in mid-May and runs until mid-August. This year, guides are suggesting the season could start a little earlier and end later.

“Our Arkansas River office for example, we’ll definitely be running trips through Labor Day and we definitely plan on having really great levels there all the way through Labor Day,” said Dale Drake, General Manager at Clear Creek Rafting Company.

Along with healthier snowpack levels, rafting guides say the Spring storms we’ve experienced the last two months will also contribute to a great season.

“So anytime we have these spring storms and this cooler weather, that helps maintain the snowpack up in the mountains where we want it to be,” Drake explained.

Drake added: anytime you can prevent an early melt, it helps save more water for later in the season.

“When we hit mid-June, those are like powder days for us,” Drake said.

Last season, some rafting businesses in Clear Creek County had to halt operations two weeks early due to weak snowpack levels.

“The biggest difference between this year and last year is that last year we just didn’t see normal peak flows,” Drake said.

This year, Drake and other guides are certain they’ll see those normal peak flows, which create high water levels.

Rafting guides predict the best whitewater rafting in Colorado this season will take place in the southern and central Rockies, where snowpack levels are at their highest.

The length of a rafting season depends on how and when the snow melts.

“We have enough snowpack this year that we’re ready to go as soon as we get those warm days and the snow starts to melt,” Drake said.

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