Mountain snow good for rafting, bad for hiking

Posted at 7:44 PM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 21:45:30-04

As CDOT prepares for winter storm, local rafting businesses rejoice, while hikers groan.

With the next couple of days slated for feet of snow in the mountains, plows are already waiting on Colorado thoroughfares. Rafting businesses may benefit from the snow, Clear Creek just reached the height where visitors can traverse the white waters.

"Clear Creek is 100 percent natural in that there's no dams releasing water at a certain time of day or anything like that," said Ron Raudelunas, owner of Whitewater Rocky Mountain Rafting. "So, we're dependent on mother nature to provide for us throughout the season."

Snow melting in the mountain raises the water levels and makes white water rafting more exciting. 

However, extra snow also means a later starting season for high-altitude hikers.

According to Reid Armstrong, spokesperson for the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest, CDOT usually has roads to the high hikes plowed by Memorial Day weekend. However, it doesn't look like that will happen this year.

Even though the plows have been working the road to the top of Mount Evans for six weeks, they've only plowed six miles. Every time it snows, that makes new challenges for the plows, Armstrong said.

"We warn visitors who come in from out of the area and even on the front range that even though it might be a nice day down in Denver, there's often still up to two feet of snow, knee-deep snow, on the trails up to 10,000 feet through the middle of June," Armstrong said.

Armstrong advises to be prepared for quickly changing weather by packing jackets and boots for any mountain trip.