High flow, low dough for Glenwood rafting companies | AspenTimes.com

High flow, low dough for Glenwood rafting companies

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post Independent Commercial rafts float on the Colorado River through Glenwood Springs on a recent morning. Despite higher than average water levels this spring, many local rafting companies have seen a slight slump in business so far this season.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Peak flows do not equate peak profits.

Some Glenwood Springs rafting companies are reporting that for the first two months of the rafting season ” May and June ” have them feeling a bit of an economic pinch.

That comes at a time when the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River were flowing at levels not seen in recent years. However, rafting com­panies are looking forward to July and August ” months they think will be a robust time for people looking to hit the water.

Geoffrey Olson, owner of Blue Sky Adventures, said his business was down for May and June because of a number of factors including the high water and cold weather, as well as soaring fuel prices.

“I think the price of gas [also is] affecting some people’s decision ­making,” Olson said of the seeming decline in his company’s numbers.

However, Olson said he expects to see a quick turnaround in business as people come to the area for the rest of the summer. For Blue Sky, July and August are the months the company sees the largest surge in busi­ness.

“We are looking good now,” Olson said of his company’s prospects for the next two months. “It will be great water because of all the snow we got.”

Susi Larson, co-owner of Whitewater Rafting LLC, said river condi­tions are very good, but that the business is seeing “more economical travelers” who seem to be spending less.”I think gas prices are a big part of it,” she said.”We have had a good season still.”

Larson also said the company is looking forward to July and August and that reservations look “great.”

The rafting industry in Glenwood Springs accounts for between $6 million and $7 million each year, according to Glenwood Springs Resort Chamber Association estimates. The city of Glenwood takes in an esti­mated $17 million in indirect expenditures from those who come to town and spend money on other things like lodging, shopping, dining out or rafting.

Gary Hansen, owner of Glenwood Canyon Rafting, said business is up compared with last year. He noted that other companies seem to be “down a little bit” and that the challenges he faces are different because his business is smaller than the others in the area.

“Our business here has been good,” Hansen said.”We are doing fine.”


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