Spring Storms, Deep Sierra Snowpack Ensure Exciting California Rafting Season

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Early spring storms have resulted in a deeply layered Sierra snowpack, promising an extended spring river runoff and perhaps what may be the longest season of whitewater rafting California has seen in a decade.

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This isn’t a little blanket either—it’s like five blankets

It doesn't happen often to the Sierra snowpack, but when it does, you can be sure the rafting season will be one for the record books. The phenomenon California rafting outfitters are so excited about is the recent flurry of early spring storms—storms which guaranteed California’s snowpack will result in raftable river flows well into the 2005 summer rafting season.

Though it's been an above average wet season in general, California rafting outfitters always hold their breath through the month of March. They know an early spring can melt precious snow too early for rafters to take advantage. This year however, recent late storms have thrown an insulating blanket on an already heavy California snowpack.

"This isn’t a little blanket either—it’s like five blankets," says Gregg Armstrong, co-owner of All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting. "So when the weather gets warm, that’s the layer that melts first, not the deep snowpack underneath. That’s how you get an extended rafting season and exciting flows in May, June, and July."

A late-melting snowpack means a lot to California whitewater rafters. When there's an ample Sierra snowpack and it melts slowly, un-dammed rivers like the Kaweah, Merced, North Stanislaus, and the North Fork American have longer seasons. This year's snowpack also means higher water levels on dammed rivers like the South Fork of the American River.

The California Department of Water Resources says this winter's storms produced the heaviest Sierra Nevada snowpack in ten years. However, for whitewater rafters the only numbers that matter are the snowpack water content totals. This year, they have reason to rejoice—as of April 1st, statewide snow water content is 137% of normal. Compare that with last year’s average of 80% on the same date. It seems that anyone who had the pleasure of skiing on the California snowpack this winter will also have the satisfaction of riding its waves well into the summer months.

About All-Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting

One of California's leading outfitters, with a "family" of more than 175 trained and dedicated guides, offers trips for beginning, intermediate, and expert rafters on ten of California's best rivers.

Contact Information:

Gregg Armstrong

All-Outdoor California Whitewater Rafting

1-800-24-RAFTS, ext.103


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