2011 reportedly a banner year for whitewater rafting

Experts say that 2011 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for whitewater rafting and kayaking in the western United States, thanks to some of the heaviest snowfall totals in decades. As the warmer weather spreads out across the region, all of that snow is starting to runoff, creating high rivers, raging rapids, and some of the best paddling opportunities in years.

Rafting companies in states like Colorado, Idaho, and California are gearing up to take advantage of this bountiful season for water on their rivers. A number of major waterways out west are already 150% above their 30-year average and some are even approaching a 200% increases. But even at this late stage in the year, snow continues to fall at higher altitudes, which means the great whitewater is now expected to last well into July – a time when the adrenaline pumping waters have usually dissipated for the year.

Of course, all this high water brings other concerns as well. Inexperienced paddlers can quickly find themselves overwhelmed in rushing waters, which means there could potentially be more rescues and accidents throughout the 2011 rafting season. The expected high waters have also brought about closures to some sections of notoriously difficult rivers as well. For instance, there are already plans to close some portions of the Arkansas River in June, as they’ll likely be just too high to run.

But the upside to all of this spring and summer snow melt is that whitewater rafting and kayaking opportunities should abound throughout the summer months. So whether you’re an expert paddler or you’ve simply always wanted to try, it seems that this will be a great year to hit the water.

[Photo credit: Redmarkviolinist via WikiMedia]