Deals kick off Aspen rafting season

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” It’s spring, when locals get soaked ” in a good way.

Local rivers are rising and so anticipation of a memorable whitewater season, given the bountiful snowpack still locked in the high country. And with summer’s return of the tourists still at least a month away, Roaring Fork Valley residents pretty much have the fun to themselves.

Aspen Whitewater Rafting and Snowmass Village-based Blazing Adventures are once again offering their locals’ specials to run heart-pumping sections of the Roaring Fork. The price is $39 per person with both rafting companies; the offer ends June 17 with Blazing Adventures and on June 20 with Aspen Whitewater.

“Locals should definitely get out there,” said Jim Ingram, owner of Aspen Whitewater.

The snowpack at the headwaters of the Roaring Fork, east of Aspen at the 10,600-foot elevation, is at 95 percent above average for this time of year, according to measurements by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. That will either translate into huge water at some point this spring or ” ideally, from a commercial rafting perspective ” a lengthy season of bountiful water.

“The Independence Pass, Roaring Fork Valley and the headwaters of the Arkansas have really been the sweet spot for snow all winter. We’re the bull’s eye; nobody else has as much water as we do,” said Blazing Adventures owner Bob Harris in a press release touting the company’s locals’ special.

The Roaring Fork was still running low over Slaughterhouse Falls below Aspen early this week, but it’s a Class IV rapid when it starts to crank. With any luck, the water could be up to runable levels as soon as this weekend, Ingram said.

Companies offer trips on the Slaughterhouse section, ending at Woody Creek, and the Class III Toothache section of the Roaring Fork, from Woody Creek to Basalt. Toothache is raftable now, Ingram said Wednesday.

New this year, Blazing Adventures will offer a locals whitewater rafting/kayaking clinic on June 6-8. The weekend clinic will cover river access points, safety practices, rigging, maneuvering, river hazards, reading currents, rescue whitewater swimming and medical awareness. Space is limited.


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