5:01am

Mon May 6, 2013
Water

Spring Snowstorms Good News For Colorado Rafters

It's beginning to look like a promising season for whitewater rafting in Northern Colorado.

Last year at this time, Northern Colorado's snowpack was only at 23 percent of average. Poudre River commissioner Mark Simpson says this year is a different story.

"We measured snow right at the end of April," Simpson says. "We came up with a 94 percent average for the basin of the Poudre – and that was right before this last storm hit. So I think we’re pretty close to average, which is phenomenal compared to last year."

With water levels so bad in 2012 rafting outfitters had a bad season. One Poudre Canyon operator, Mountain Whitewater Descents, cited a 60 percent drop in business.

Simpson says there's much more optimism this year, although he cautions that excessive rain and runoff could result in ash from last year's wildfires clogging the Poudre.

Rafting season kicks off this week – although some guides on the Arkansas River began their season nearly three weeks ago, using smaller boats until spring runoff brings more water to the river.