From snow depth to river flow: How high will the Eagle run? | VailDaily.com

From snow depth to river flow: How high will the Eagle run?

Eagle River Watershed Council hosts peak flow contest this spring

The Eagle River is just starting to pick up volume, but as this photo shows, the hillsides that feed the river are still covered with snow. This spring the Eagle River Watershed Council is sponsoring a contest to predict the peak flow on the Eagle at the USGS gauge at Gypsum.
Pam Boyd/pboyd@vaildaily.com

Eagle River Peak Flow Prediction Contest Prizes

  • Grand prize: The Cloud Nine from Rocky Mountain Rafts is a sporty and fast 9-foot by 5-foot boat, allowing riders to catch micro eddies that other rafts would miss. Perfect for steep creeks and low-flow rivers. The small size is easy to manage on and off the river. Valued at $1,349. 
  • Second place: Three-day Canoe Adventure for two with Centennial Canoe Outfitters. Learn more about the history of western rivers while navigating a 26-mile trek on the Colorado River, through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons. Valued at $788. 
  • Third place: A $500 dining certificate to any Vail Resorts restaurant. 
  • Fourth place: A Safe Passage 800 Day Pack from Orvis. This is an ideal pack for a day hike. Valued at $129. 
  • Fifth place: Three Sea to Summit stopper dry bags in varying sizes. These fully-welded, waterproof dry bags have a nice clean profile and oval base for easy packing, the Stopper™ dry bags are perfect for canoeing, kayaking, rafting, general boating, SUP boarding and any activity where water shedding and abrasion resistance is paramount. Valued at $105.85. 
  • Sixth place: Two REI Co-op Flash 18 Pack in pastel lilac and warm granite. Handy in town, on trails and for short hikes away from basecamp, these packs cleverly convert into stuff sacks when you turn them inside out and are hydration system compatible. Valued at $79.90.

EAGLE COUNTY — As Vail and Beaver Creek wrap up the season, local recreationists turn their attention from watching the snow report to eyeing local river water levels.

The Eagle River Watershed Council shares that avid interest. This spring the group is offering locals a chance to weigh in with water flow projections and win prizes for their predictive prowess.

“No one knows if it’s going to be a high-water year or an average year or a low year,” said Eagle River Watershed Council Executive Director Holly Loff. “Even though we have had this great snow year, if it gets hot quickly, we might not have the flows that people are expecting.”

That makes predicting the upcoming peak runoff date a competitive opportunity. Patterned on the popular Lake Dillon ice melt contest, the Eagle River Peak Flow Prediction Contest will give entrants the chance to guess the date and time of the peak Eagle River flow at the USGS gauge at Gypsum. If needed, the tiebreaker will be the rate of water flow at peak runoff.

Contest entries are $15 each or three guesses for $40.

“Every time we talk about the contest, people get really excited about the prizes,” Loff said. “The prizes are amazing. We have gotten some great support from local companies.”

Topping the prize list (see attached) is a small raft, perfect for navigating Colorado high country rivers.

Entries in the peak flow contest must be submitted by midnight on Tuesday, April 30.

“We anticipate the contest will be done by June 15, unless the river clearly hasn’t peaked yet,” said Loff.

The Eagle River Watershed Council will reach out to winners directly and announce the winning entries on its Facebook page. To learn more, visit http://www.erwc.org or go directly to https://eagleriver.secure.force.com/GuessPeakFlowPage1 to make a prediction.