It is 55 miles from downtown Denver to Loveland Ski Area Loveland Ski Area :: Colorado Ski Snowboarding Resort, Skiing Season Pass, Ski School
, a little farther (over a pass) to A-Basin. That drive "should" only take you an hour.... however, if you time it wrong during ski season it can take much, much longer.
The snow this season has been poor, to put it kindly.... but it is improving, and this is the time of year when we can get BIG dumps. The snowpack has been gaining on the average for the last couple weeks and there are at least a couple more storms in the pipeline. If we have a wet spring it could continue to snow off and on into late April/early May.
As far as good runs for a cataraft near Denver.... that's a little tougher. For class II-III your probably looking at the Upper Colorado near Kremling or the Arkansas near Buena Vista and Salida. Clear Creek and the South Platte are the closest rivers to you, but they aren't particularly cataraft friendly..... sure CC gets commercially rafted, but it's narrow and tight.