Whitewater season arrives in Colorado with rafting in Browns Canyon, Upper Colorado River | SummitDaily.com

Whitewater season arrives in Colorado with rafting in Browns Canyon, Upper Colorado River

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

SUMMIT COUNTY — You'd better believe it's whitewater season. And the best is still yet to come.

Over the weekend, local company Performance Tours Rafting and several other outfitters started running tours on the Arkansas River and perpetually popular Browns Canyon route, found in the Buena Vista area about an hour south of Summit County. Flows there are 311 cfs (cubic feet per second), which is about 200 cfs down from the early-May average of 522 cfs. But, warming temperatures and plenty of runoff are expected to bring new conditions almost daily.

Local waterways aren't quite ready for rafting or kayaking — the water levels are still too low, and the water still too miserably cold — but that will all change by Memorial Day Weekend, when every local outfitter will begin taking groups to the lower Blue River (north of Silverthorne), Tenmile Creek (Frisco area) and the Upper Colorado River. Half day, full day or multiple days — the local guides have it all and more.

Pricing for trips varies wildly, but, in general, day trips on local waterways tend to cost less than excursions outside of the county, while high-adventure trips (Class III and above) cost more than low-key scenic tours. Most half-day trips this May are in the $60 to $100 range per person, and most full-day trips run $150 and more.

KODI rafting changes hands

For the first time in nearly 15 years, KODI Rafting of Frisco is under new management. Former owners Christian "Campy" Campton and Christy Campton have passed the torch to Dave and Amy McGrath, the new owners for the 2016 season.

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The company has been through several owners since it was founded in 1986. The Camptons operated the family-oriented rafting business since 2001 and are delighted to hand over the paddles to Dave and Amy after a 15 year tenure.

"It is our intention to maintain the KODI family values and work ethic that Christy and Campy have worked so hard to achieve over the past 15 years," Amy McGrath said. "We have big shoes to fill as we map out the future of KODI Rafting."

Performance celebrates 30 years

Performance Tours Rafting, Breckenridge's first rafting outfitter, began the season with a landmark: 30 years of making memories with guests on the river. In 1986, locals Kevin and Mary Jo Foley established the company in their hometown of Breckenridge, and the two have enjoyed owning and operating the locally for the last three decades

"We love living and raising our family in Summit County and are proud to have been a part of the business community for the last 30 years," said Kevin Foley, president of Performance Tours Rafting, "We've watched Breckenridge grow into a name brand in the tourism industry, and we like to think we've done our part to contribute to that."

Given their track record, the Foleys have put together one of the most qualified rafting outfitters in the county. The professionally-trained guides are qualified in the business and dedicated to making each river trip experience the best it can be, according to a release from the company. Since 1986, Performance Tours has taken nearly a half-million guests out for tours on the Blue River, Arkansas River, Colorado River and more.

The guides, staff and owners at Performance Tours Rafting have a passion for running different rivers throughout Colorado and the world, and are enthusiastic about sharing that river magic with the thousands of guests that visit each season, the release continued. The company is known for multiple routes, seasoned guides, extensive outfitting knowledge, state-of-the-art equipment and years of combined experience.

"Professionally guided river trips are what we do," Kevin Foley said. "We feel confident that our guests will be completely satisfied with the high-quality product and excellent guest service that we have developed and perfected over the past 30 years."

Rafting the Rockies

Itching to get on the water this season? Summit County is home to a slew of guide companies with options for half-day, full-day and even beginner-friendly trips of three hours. Here’s a look at trips and pricing for the local outfitters. For more info, see the website or call the shop directly.

Performance Tours Rafting, Breck and Frisco

Season: May 1 to September

Trips: Arkansas River (begins May 1), Browns Canyon (begins early May), Blue River, Colorado River, Clear Creek, Royal Gorge, Bighorn Canyon

Contact: http://www.performancetours.com or 970-453-0661

KODI Rafting, Frisco

Season: Mid-May to September

Trips: Arkansas River (begins mid-May), Blue River, Tenmile Creek, Clear Creek, Colorado River, Dolores River

Contact: http://www.whitewatercolorado.com or 970-668-1548

The Adventure Company, Breck

Season: May to August

Trips: Arkansas River (begins mid-May), Blue River, Colorado River, Clear Creek

Contact: http://www.theadventurecompany.com or 719-395-0107

Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting, Frisco

Season: May to September

Trips: Arkansas River, Blue River, Eagle River, Colorado River, Clear Creek

Contact: http://www.breckenridgewhitewater.com or 970-236-9402