Angels Camp, California –April 2, 2008 – OARS (Outdoor Adventure River Specialists), standard-setter in the whitewater rafting and adventure travel industry, announced today the official start of what is sure to be their best U.S. whitewater rafting season in years.

“With all the discussion surrounding drought in the Western U.S., we are grateful to be looking at such a stellar snow pack across the board this year.  It has been a long time since we had at or near 100% of average snowpack in every region that we operate, so we’re anticipating a big year and some big whitewater!” said George Wendt, Founder and President of OARS.

James Rodger, OARS California/Oregon Regional Manager, agreed with Wendt stating, “I think the snow level this year in the Sierra bodes well for an outstanding and lengthy California whitewater rafting season – well into September.”

The eco-conscious, Angels Camp-based organization offers trips on nine California rivers including the North Fork of the Stanislaus, Merced, Tuolumne, South Fork American, North Fork American, Middle Fork American, the California Salmon, as well as the Upper Klamath and Lower Klamath rivers.  Additionally, they offer trips throughout the U.S. West, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, as well as in Canada, Mexico, Latin America and Fiji.  Their trips range from rollicking adventures for thrill-seekers to gentle floats suitable for five-year-olds.

According to the Department of Water Resources, measurements taken near the Sierra-at-Tahoe resort in the Sierra Nevada at the end of March found the snowpack is holding almost twice as much water as last year.  Electronic sensor readings posted on the California Data Exchange Center’s Web site show Northern Sierra snow water equivalents at 105% of normal for this date, Central Sierra at 89%, and Southern Sierra at 103%.  Statewide, the percentage of normal is at 97%.  (Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) is a snowpack measurement and is the amount of water contained within the snowpack.  It is an important indicator of how much water is being stored naturally for summer stream flows and reservoir storage.)

OARS. Idaho Operations Manager, Curt Chang, recently stated, “The outlook for great summer water conditions down the rivers we run in Idaho, the Main Salmon, Middle Fork Salmon, Lower Salmon, Hells Canyon of the Snake and the Owhyee in southeastern Oregon, is much better than anytime in the last four years.  The Central Idaho snowpack is holding at the 116% of normal levels throughout the Salmon, Snake and Owyhee River drainages.”

Oregon’s heavy winter has left the southern part of the state with a generous snowpack.  The snow-water content in the Rogue River Basin is at 149% of normal.

According to April research by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Colorado snow water equivalent statewide is at 121% of normal levels, with the Yampa River basin at 113% of normal, the Colorado and San Juan River basins at 126%.  In Utah, the Green River basin is at 111% of normal.

Lannie Yeager, a long-time OARS manager, added, “We expect ‘big water’ in Cataract Canyon this year, which means a great ride with huge waves and big drops.”  Although this section of the Colorado River isn’t as well known, there are times when its rapids make even the Grand Canyon’s most famous rapids, Lava and Crystal, seem tame.


Since 1969 OARS has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport vacations, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines of the world.  OARS caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries worldwide, including one-day and weekend escapes.  For more information on OARS eco-friendly adventures, including a free 84-page color catalog, call OARS at 1-800-346-6277, email the company at info@oars.com or visit www.oars.com.