Kayak races flood area
The water levels in area rivers are beginning to rise along with the temperatures, which should make for ideal conditions for the 39th Annual Crystal River Kayak Races slated for this weekend.
And, as an added bonus for area paddlers, organizers have added in the inaugural Shoshone Shiver, which beefs up the competition with events taking place on the Colorado River.
“I figured it would be a bigger draw and it will raise some money for whitewater park developments,” said Colorado Rocky Mountain School kayak coach Peter Benedict.
Benedict said 70 percent of the proceeds from the Crystal River and Shoshone Shiver races would go toward the proposed parks in the Glenwood and Carbondale areas.
The races are the first in the Colorado High School series, but the events are open to everyone.
While somewhat depleted by injuries, the CRMS team should have a solid contingent in the field.
Benedict expects around 80 paddlers in all, with most of the high school competitors coming from CRMS and Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, as well as some kayakers from other area schools.
“I think we’ll do pretty well in the freestyle and we’ll definitely have the homecourt advantage on the downriver,” Benedict said. “Our strongest guys are Dylan Ferry, Spencer Schacter and Mia Gaw.”
CRMS student and national junior team member Hannah Farrar, the reigning state champion, is questionable for this weekend due to a shoulder injury. Fellow CRMS and junior team member Ali Wade is also questionable due to injury.
The other two members national team, former CRMS student Celeste Powers and Salida’s Brooke Bevan, are expected to compete. The four kayakers will represent the U.S. in the Whitewater Freestyle Kayak World Championships in Austria in May.
The festivities begin this afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. with coaching sessions at the competition sights. Benedict will be on the Colorado at the Shoshone section to give tips to competitors for the freestyle portion of the competition. Former world champion and Olympian Scott Shipley will be at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers to give tips on the slalom event.
Competitors can register for events tonight at 7 p.m. at Carbondale’s Dos Gringos restaurant and enjoy the Lunch Video Magazine release party.
Saturday’s races start in earnest at 9:30 a.m. with the wildwater event at Shoshone.
That race is followed by freestyle preliminaries at 11 a.m. at Lower Moe’s Diner rapid. At 2:30 p.m. are the freestyle finals at All Day Wave. The awards ceremony and prize giveaway is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Saturday’s action concludes with the Roaring Fork Paddling Film Festival at 8 p.m. at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School Barn, admission is $7.
The final events are Sunday at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers. Boaters register at Colorado Rocky Mountain School at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 9:30 a.m. slalom racers’ meeting. The slalom race starts at 10 a.m., followed by the final awards ceremony and prize giveaway at 2 p.m.
“It can all be pretty exciting,” Benedict said. “My guess is that, for the general public, the wildwater through the rapids will be exciting and the slalom race on Sunday will be a nice scene – hanging out, music, all that stuff.”
The Shoshone section of the Colorado River is approximately 13 miles east of Glenwood Springs, along I-70 between the Shoshone and Grizzly Creek exits.
There is limited parking at the Shoshone exit, so, to limit congestion it is encouraged to carpool or park at Grizzly and take the shuttle provided to Shoshone.
The confluence of the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers lies just west of the intersection of Highways 82 and 133, just downstream of the Pink Bridge. Coming from Glenwood Springs on Highway 82, take the first right after Aspen Glen and follow the signs. Coming from Aspen or Carbondale, head toward Glenwood Springs on Highway 82, make a U-turn at Aspen Glen, and then take the first right and follow the signs.
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