Could rising river cancel events?
FLOWS ON GORE CREEK
At the mouth in Dowd Junction
Wednesday, June 1, 4:15 p.m.
Wednesday, June 8, 4:15 p.m.
VAIL — The river is raging, and with all the snow remaining above 10,000 feet, water levels could get even higher for the Mountain Games this weekend.
Event organizers have been watching the flows on an hourly basis; as of Wednesday all events are still planned as scheduled.
“Everything’s a go as of right now,” Tom Boyd, with the Vail Valley Foundation, said on Wednesday. “But there have been times in the history of this event where the morning of the race, the call will be made to cancel due to high water.”
A glance up at Vail and Beaver Creek mountains reveals there’s plenty of snow left to melt. On Wednesday, flows on Gore Creek at the mouth in Dowd Junction reached measurements of higher than 1,000 cubic feet per second, more than double what the gauge was showing at the same time one week ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
“There’s so many factors — the temperature at river level, the temperature at high elevations and the strength of the sun,” Boyd said. “One year a lot of dust blew over from a big sand storm in Moab, and sand particles landing on the snow made it melt faster.”
The first event to go due to high water would be the stand-up paddleboard downriver sprint.
“Particularly with downriver, we have to have clearance under the bridges,” Boyd said. “There has been times where the water will be pushing up against those bridges, where you can’t run a kayak or a SUP. On the downriver, that’s the main consideration.”
Homestake Creek near Red Cliff, where today’s Steep Creek Challenge is scheduled to take place starting at 10 a.m., doesn’t have the same limitations with regards to bridges.
With high water levels on Homestake Creek, competition is unlikely to get canceled, however, “you gotta feel confident and comfortable getting into that water,” Boyd said. “Competitors need to look at that river, look at themselves and make the right decision about competing in the event. We don’t want anybody to be pushing their limits.”
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