NewsLocal News


Recent snow helps improve outlook for Colorado's rafting industry

Posted at 4:24 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 20:18:26-04

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — At Liquid Descent Rafting in Idaho Springs, it was a busy and exciting Friday morning following last week’s snowstorm.

"To get a 40-inch dump and to freeze the snowpack from melting, game changer, yeah, so we're celebrating," said owner Alan Blado.

He didn’t have much to celebrate only a few weeks ago as the rafting season, at least for Clear Creek, was predicted to end about a month earlier.

"It was looking like it might be in earlier seasons where we might be done on Clear Creek in mid to late July. But now, with all the storms and the cooler weather, we should be running into August," Blado said.

That’s some good news for an industry that saw record-breaking numbers in 2021.

"(That) was our biggest year in our history," he said. "We were busy. We couldn't keep up with demand."

That demand is expected to return to normal this year, as are the flows, according to the Colorado River Outfitters Association. People are eager to get out on the water, as Denver7 saw on Friday.

"I think it's just the thrill of it. It's just a fun thing to get out and do and be out in nature, and you get to see the sights," said rafter Megan Borges.

But getting sightseers to show up is dependent on fire conditions, Blado said. And with an above-average fire season predicted, this positive outlook could be derailed.

"When tourists hear that there's fires, they do not necessarily distinguish where exactly they are and they just decide not to come to Colorado," Blado said.

He said he hopes summer rain storms keep the rivers and creeks flowing and help dampen fire danger.