So Much Fun Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours!

Going white water rafting has been on the bucket list and this summer we crossed it off our list while vacationing in Keystone, Colorado.  We had the most amazing experience with Performance Tours! They offer several trips in different areas, all within an hour or two of Keystone Resort.  The closest rafting trip was the Blue River half day, but we wanted a full day trip, so we looked at the Royal Gorge Full Day and The Brown’s Canyon Full Day trips.  The Royal Gorge is a little further away from Keystone and the rafting is a little more challenging than Brown’s Canyon. Since it was our first time rafting, we decided on the Brown’s Canyon Full Day.  It costs $98 for a child and $108 for an adult, but as SummitCove guests, we got a special discount for everyone in our group!

 

We met our guide at the Performance Tours Boat House in Buena Vista, at 10:00 am and then we shuttled to the put in at Fisherman’s Bridge.  Everyone was chatting about it being a perfect blue sky Colorado day and the views of the Collegiate Peaks were astounding. It was amazing how many companies and people were all there at the put in and yet how quickly we still got out on the river.  Our guide gave us a safety talk and told us she had been guiding this part of the Arkansas River as well as the Royal Gorge for 5 years. I felt confident in her abilities and she was super friendly and had vast knowledge of the river.  

 

The river was fast moving and our guide was shouting paddle commands at us and we were following her directions with wide eyes!  Our guide had complete control of the raft. It would look like we were going to hit a rock and then at the last second she would turn the boat and we would skim past the rock and catch the current, it was so exciting!  This stretch of river has several class 3+ rapids and I was launched out of the boat in the rapid called Pinball. I was paddling and the next thing I knew I was in the river, completely under water. Before I had a chance to freak out I looked up through the water and I was right next to the boat.  I could see our guide. Before my head was above water I reached my hand up and our guide grabbed my life jacket and before I knew it she pulled me back in the boat. I was in and out of the river so quick, it was like it never even happened. I had an incredible rush of adrenaline and I am grateful for the quick response of our raft guide.  She was awesome and saved me from a nasty swim!  

Brown's Canyon Rafting Whitewater Rapids

 

We stopped for lunch, on a sandy beach, on the side of the river and had make our own sandwiches, with all the fixings.  I don’t know if it was the swim I had or the mountain air but that was the best sandwich I ever ate. After lunch we continued on and hit more rapids, with the last rapid being Seidel’s Suckhole.  Our guide said it is named that because years ago a guy named Seidel got sucked into the hole and he is still down there! We nailed that hole and fortunately everyone stayed in the boat and noone got to meet Seidel.

 

The joke became that the swimmers had to buy beer at the end of the trip and I was the only swimmer that day, so it looked like the beer was on me.  We shuttle back to Performance Tours Boat House and I ran and got some beers and we sat out on the deck with the guides and the other paddlers on our trip, recapped our awesome day and looked at our pictures from the trip.

 

Thanks to Performance Tours white water rafting is crossed off our bucket list but it left us wanting more.  So we added rafting the Royal Gorge to our bucket list. We will be back to do the Full Day Royal Gorge Trip with Performance Tours.  They take safety and having fun seriously. We have an amazing story to tell and an adventure we will never forget! Thanks Performance Tours, for the thrill of a lifetime!

 

Vacation Kickoff With A Trip Down Clear Creek

Whitewater rafting is an adventure of a life time.  I grew up on the rivers and riding the rapids. This year on our summer family trip to Keystone I wanted our teenage children to experience this adventure.  Our flight got into DIA early around 8am and check in time at our condo wasn’t till 4:00 so we thought, perfect time to go whitewater rafting! Clear Creek is on right on the way to Keystone, about 45 minutes from the airport.  There are several rafting companies in Idaho Springs, so I did some research because I wanted to go with a very experienced company. The water is very high right now and I wanted to make sure my family and myself were in expert hands.  I found Clear Creek Rafting, the oldest company on the river, with the most years of experience.  

Colorado Whitewater Rafting with Clear Creek

 

We arrived at their office on a sunny, blue sky day to do the Beginner Trip.  My kids are teenagers and they wanted to do the Intermediate Trip but with the water levels so high we choose the Beginner Trip and we were not disappointed!  First, we got wet suits and helmets and then our guide, Rasta Rob, gave us the safety talk. This river is no joke and I could see my kid’s eyes get big as Rasta talked about paddle strokes, flipping, high sides and how to pull someone back in the boat, if they fall out.  My kids wanted to paddle up front so my husband and I took the back and we were off on a fast moving, raging river!

 

We went through at least 10 rapids with Rasta yelling paddle commands to us.  This is a tight river and our guide was as smooth as butter. I would start to think, we are going to hit a rock and then our guide would turn our boat and slide by rock.  The kids in the front got hit with wave after wave of whitewater and loved every minute of it! No one fell out of the raft and that is because we had an expert guide. We paddled our butts off and had the time of our lives!  We all want more and we will be back to do the Intermediate Trip in a few days! This was an awesome experience! Thanks Clear Creek Rafting! Thanks Rasta!

A Day in Brown’s Canyon with Performance Tours Rafting

Yesterday, SummitCove employees were able to escape for a fun team-building excursion on the Arkansas River with a group rafting trip down Brown’s Canyon with Performance Tours Rafting!

Browns Canyon Rafting
Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours at Beautiful Brown’s Canyon in July 2019

Rafting is certainly a team sport, as every member in your boat is responsible for paddling their hearts out!  Your trusty guide tells you exactly what needs to be done… LEFT TWO or BACK ONE!  Just follow along and push your paddle hard into the water.  The team pushes the raft forward where it needs to go, whether it’s around a rock or straight on over a rapid! Teamwork really does make the dream work!

Rafting Boat Heading through Colorado Whitewater
Getting Splashed As We Paddle Through One of the Rapids on the Trip!

Yesterday was no different and with the high water levels this season, there was no shortage of paddling and super-fun rapids!  We love working with Performance Tours because they have some of the best guides in the country!  We always feel well-informed and safe during our journey and most importantly, we always have a ton of fun.  If you are lucky, you’ll get a guide that tells you jokes the whole way down like ours did! We joined a half day trip on Brown’s Canyon National Monument.  This trip is considered Class 3 and features tons of great rapids, like Pinball, Zoom flume, Bigdrop, Staircase, Punchbowl and many more.  The scenery is incredible, with picture perfect rock formations and those Colorado bluebird skies.  We loved every minute of this fun trip and the weather was perfect!  We have been recommending Performance Tours to our guests for many years and highly recommend that everyone looking for a fun, family-friendly activity on their Keystone vacation give one of their rafting trips a try.  They offer a variety of trips, from full to half to multi-day trips along an assortment of different rivers throughout Colorado.  They can even arrange transportation from your vacation rental if you need it!  All SummitCove guests receive a special discounted rate on rafting with PT, too!

Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours
Big Water Equals Tons of Fun Out On the River!

High waters mean that the rafting season should be nice and long this summer, so there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy the river! We highly recommend whitewater rafting on your Keystone vacation!  Call or book your trip online with Performance Tours today! 

A Whitewater Rafting Adventure with Performance Tours at Brown’s Canyon

Each year, the SummitCove Lodging team is lucky enough to go on a group rafting trip with our rafting partner, Performance Tours.  Typically we go at the beginning of the summer, in early June when the snow-melt is strong and the waters are fast and huge.  This year, our trip was scheduled for July 13, which is later in the season and we weren’t sure what to expect.  We were booked for a half day at Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River, near Buena Vista, Colorado which is about an hour and a half from Keystone Resort.

 

 

We had been receiving alot of rain the week before our trip and that made the water levels rise and made for an excellent rafting trip!  Some of our team choose to camp out in Buena Vista the night before the trip and we all arrived at the Performance Tours Outpost, just South of downtown Buena Vista around 9:30 am for the 10 am half-day trip.  We were greeted by friendly faces in the parking lot as we received directions on where to change and given the waiver forms we needed to sign.  We were then outfitted with life jackets, helmets, and paddles and offered the options of wet suits, splash jackets and booties.  The weather was warm since it was later in the season, so I opted for just the splash jacket and I was comfortable the whole trip.  We soon boarded the bus and were on our way! During the short bus ride, we were given a thorough safety briefing and we all felt a tiny bit nervous but mostly excited for the upcoming trip!

 

The bus pulled in and we all hopped off and helped load the rafts down the ramp into the water. After a quick stop at the restrooms, we all split up into our separate boats, met our guides and got ready to paddle! Our guide’s name was Koreen and she was awesome!  She was a very experienced rafter, with years on the river and we felt totally safe in her hands.  She told us stories as we floated along, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and the warm sunshine with a few easy paddles here and there.  Koreen pointed out rock formations that have been named over the years, such as ‘Full Moon Rock’ and ‘Sleeping Lion’ for their uncanny similarities to humans and animals.  After we coasted awhile through the calm waters, pointing out our ‘river dream homes’, she let us know we were approaching the first rapids and that they would come quicker and faster from here on out! She also explained before each rapid where the best place to swim and find safety would be in case we did happen to go overboard.

 

 

Our team worked together to paddle in unison to point our raft in the right direction, carefully working the rapids to our advantage, weaving in and out of rocks and eddies and twists and turns throughout the river. Sitting in the front seat is definately the best – yes, you do get wet, but boy is it fun!  You’ve got front row seats to the biggest splashes, the best action and an adrenaline rush to the max! We paddled hard, laughed and smiled through some of the best rapids in the US!  Brown’s Canyon was the perfect mixture of classic Colorado beauty and fun, fast rapids with some down time to enjoy the views!

 

When we came to the ‘Zume Flume’ rapid we were warned that this could be the one that might sink us! We accepted the challenge and were able to make it through, thanks to our experienced guide. Some of our other team members on different boats weren’t so lucky and went for a dip! Our boat was soon the rescue boat and we quickly paddled to reach one of the swimmers and pulled her in. What a blast! Further down the river we regrouped and then reached another calm section and were offered the chance to swim (by choice!).

 

 

Before we knew it, we were heading through the last rapids group of rapids, called ‘7 stairs’, which are a series of 7 rapids stretching down towards the tail end of this trip.  We were all sad to have to get off the boats!  Fortunately, we are just a little over an hour away from these great whitewater rapids and hopefully will be able to get back on the river again soon. The bus took us back to the outpost and we got to look at our pictures!

 

Performance Tours is one of the best rafting outfitters in the area, with a superb safety record and a wonderful staff that makes you feel like you are part of their family.  All SummitCove Lodging guests receive 10% off their rafting trips with Performance Tours. There is also an option to have them pick you up from your Keystone accommodations so you don’t have to have a rental car or worry about driving! It is a ‘must-do’ for any Colorado Mountain vacation. There are lots of different trip options available in addition to Brown’s Canyon, some with even more rapids and whitewater and others that stick to the ‘float-trip’ style which is great for older folks or groups with young kids. What are you waiting for? Visit Keystone this summer and enjoy a whitewater rafting trip with Performance Tours!

 

Cool Off By Getting Wet in the Water in the High Country This Summer!

One of the first things that probably comes to mind when you think of the perfect summer mountain vacation is whitewater rafting. Although it’s a total blast, it’s certainly  not the only way to get wet in the high country. From stand up paddle boarding to sailing to kayaking and fishing, there are plenty of ways to get wet!

Kayaking

Whitewater kayaking is a ton of fun, along with being a great upper body workout. Try it out yourself at the Breckenridge kayak park, located on the Blue River in downtown Breckenridge. At 1,800 feet, it’s the longest in the state and includes 15 water features that challenge all levels of boaters. Access is free, and equipment rentals and instruction are available at local outfitters.

Looking for something more mellow with less rapids? Why not rent a sea kayak and head to Lake Dillon (officially named Dillon Reservoir), conveniently located in the center of Summit County. Kayak Lake Dillon is Summit County’s only kayaking outfitter and can arrange family and other sea kayak trips on the scenic lake.

Lake Dillon Boating

Lake Dillon is more than just Denver’s Water Source! In addition to kayaking (see above), you can  sail, stand up paddleboard, rent a pontoon boat and more.  Both the Dillon and Frisco Marinas rent out boats.  Check out the Lake Dillon Water Taxi for a short ride along with a history lesson- its a great way to get out on the water inexpensively and see the spectacular views.  SummitCove guests receive a coupon for a discount on the Taxi’s round trip ride in our Key to Keystone Coupon Book.

Fly Fishing

A person could devote a lifetime to mastering the minute details of fly fishing: which flies to choose, how to cast, where to look for fish, when to lure them in. Or that person could hire a guide and head to one of the many trout-full rivers in the high country.  Summit Fly Fishing on Keystone Lake offers equipments rentals, guided trips and lessons. The Snake River is a great place to learn! Looking for a property that is close to the river?  Red Hawk Townhomes #2352 backs up right to the river- just step out the back door and grab your fishin’ pole- you can start as the sun comes up!

Whitewater Rafting

KODI Rafting is based out of Frisco, Colorado and offers all kinds of rafting trips.   Rafting is fun for everyone and even Dad is sure to grab a thrill from getting soaked with cold mountain runoff as you paddle through the river’s rapids.  KODI offers a variety of trips spanning across 4 rivers, running everything from an easy float trip for kids to an extreme whitewater adventure!  They also do duckie trips for  those looking to steer their own boat and they are perfect for later season trips when the water is tamer.  Remember- all SummitCove guests receive a 10% discount on all KODI trips!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

This sport seems to be all the new rage this summer  and it’s becoming more and more popular up here in the high country.  KODI has also started Stand Up Paddle Board trips this summer, that include a full day with training, the morning session just practice on a local pond, followed by taking it to the river in the afternoon.  Keystone visitors also have the opportunity to rent a board right on Keystone Lake!  The Keystone Adventure Center on Keystone Lake also offers kayak and paddle boat rentals.

Swimming/ Pool Party

Keystone has some spectacular outdoor pools at various condo buildings, perfect for the kids to play or to lay out and indulge yourself in a great book and the warm sunshine.  Book a condo at The Springs in River Run and enjoy beautiful landscaping, a waterslide, 2 hot tubs, waterfalls and 2 huge common grills… can we say pool party!? Soda Springs, Dakota Lodge, and Tennis Townhomes are some of our other summer time pool favorites.


Want to Cool Off in the High Country?

SummitCove has just extended our Escape the Heat Sale, offering 35% Off Summer Stays of 3 Nights or More.  It’s the perfect reason to get out of Denver and into the high country to try out some of our fun water sports and beat the heat!