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Climate Changing Your Outdoor Recreation

Lack of snow pack affects river activities

MESA COUNTY, Colo. - The lack of snow pack from this winter has left our Colorado River low. KREX 5 News spoke with some outdoor recreation experts to find out how that will impact some of our favorite summer activities.

Powderhorn Mountain Resort did not get much snow this winter. "Undoubtedly, the worst winter I've ever seen in the state of Colorado," said Sam Williams, the general manager of Powderhorn Mountain Resort.

The mountain opened a week later than scheduled, but that was not really the problem. "We never got fully open to 100%. We ended up getting to about 70-80% after a couple decent storms that we did get... We had a good product, we just didn't have very much of it," said Williams.

However, Williams and the rest of the mountain have some plans for the summer. "Building out the downhill mountain bike park, we've got a vibrant wedding business that's happening, special events in the summertime," said Williams.

The lack of snow on the Grand Mesa resulted in the Colorado River being quite low this summer. "The river it gets smaller, it gets shallower and it gets narrower... Sometime in July this year that we're going to be down to just doing trips on paddleboards and inflatable kayaks," said Rondo Buecheler, the co-owner of Rapid Creek Cycles & Paddleboards and the owner of Palisade River Trips.

People in the Grand Valley can still get out and enjoy the Colorado river this summer. "We'll still be in business all summer, you'll still be able to float the river, it's just going to be more channelized," said Buecheler.

Sarah McCarthy of Conservation Colorado said the drought Colorado is experiencing is directly related to climate change. McCarthy had some tips for residents to try and combat climate change. "People can reassess their modes of transportation... Reduce their energy usage... climate change solutions happen at a policy level, both locally, statewide, and federally. And it's up to us to vote for the people who are making those decisions," said McCarthy, a west slope field manager for Conservation Colorado.

Powderhorn offers several summer events, like mountain biking.

Buecheler also mentioned the calm water is great for learning how to paddleboard, and his business offers classes.

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