Lots of Snow Means Big Rapids!
The river is a great place for summer memories to be created with both family and friends. The more water we have, the longer our rafting season and more intense rapids we have. The rivers we raft on and many located throughout Colorado are natural, meaning they are not controlled by a dam. As a result, this natural environment is all dependent on water levels. Well where does the water come from if not a dam? From all the snow we ski on during the winter!
When the winter season comes to an end and the snow starts to melt, it comes rushing down the mountains into high alpine lakes that get funneled into various rivers. Eventually, that water gets to us on the Arkansas, Colorado, and Clear Creek Rivers. The more snow we receive through the winter allows for a dense snowpack. The dense the snowpack the longer it takes to melt, meaning there is a greater supply for water later on in the season.
The 2014 rafting season was by far one of the best Colorado has seen in a while! The 2013-2014 winter ski season brought 399 inches! Definitely a winter to thank Ullr (the Norse god of Snow) for. However, thus far this season we have only received 206 inches. This time last year we were looking at 329 inches!
The more snow allowed for a higher snowmelt in 2014, meaning more water and bigger rapids for us! In fact, last year we experienced so much snowmelt at the beginning of May that water levels were too high for us to raft commercially on some of our more advanced trips for a while. Additionally, last year we rafted all the way up until Labor Day! However, with the much lesser snowpack this year, it is hard to say when we will be able to raft until. Also, this current snowpack could mean that we won’t experience increased water levels as much, so chances are we will be able to raft the advanced sections without any issue in the early season.
As of right now we may not has strong of a snowpack as we did last year, but you never know, this winter could be a late one where we experience the majority of our snowfall in March. If that is the case you can be sure we are in for another wild rafting season. On the other hand, if the snowpack stays the same with minimal snowfall through the rest of the season, we will be in for a solid rafting season for that will provide a steady feed of snowmelt for the rivers. All of us here at AVA are anxiously awaiting the rafting season and we are certainly hoping for more snow this season!