Return of commercial tubing means new season just around the corner
Steamboat Springs — Today, small groups of tubers made their way down the Yampa River, marking the start of a new season Steamboat Springs.
Peter Van De Carr, owner of Backdoor Sports, rented a few tubes on his first official day of the season in the tube rental business. He admits that he and the owners of the other two tube rental outlets in Steamboat found themselves a little unprepared this week after the stream flow dropped from nearly 1,000 cfs Sunday to 450 cfs by Wednesday.
“It definitely caught us off-guard,” Van De Carr said. “It plummeted.”
Van De Carr said once the river drops below 700 cfs, he will start renting tubes; however, there is still a process to make sure the river is as safe as possible and that there are no hiccups that tube rental companies should be aware of. That includes setting age limits until the river drops to a comfortable level.
On Wednesday, Van De Carr said he would only rent to tubers who were older than 18. He said most 18-years-olds are bigger and stronger and can deal with the river flow at this point of the season. He said the age limits will progressively drop as the weekend approaches, and the river flow continues to decline.
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“We don’t want a lot of people on the first day,” Van De Carr said. “We want to send a few people out and see how it goes. Tomorrow we will probably drop the age to 16, and watch how things go.”
John Kole, just down the road at One Stop Ski Shop, said business was slow on Wednesday, explaining that he had to send a few people away because of the age limits that were in place. He said it was disappointing, but most of his customers understood, and the last thing he wants to do is rent a tube and put a customer at risk.
“The age limit will go down as the river goes down, so more people will be able to go … and there are going to be a lot of people here this weekend,” Kole said.
Jarrett Duty, owner of Bucking Rainbow, said his store will consider renting tubes by the weekend.
“In a normal year, we like to start renting tubes by July Fourth or maybe a few days after,” Duty said. “This is a pretty normal year.”
“I don’t have any problems turning people away from the river,” Van De Carr explained. “I don’t want to rent them a tube if they are not going to have fun. I don’t want them to get out on the river and have a bad time.”
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