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Kayak season heats up this weekend

Special to the Post Independent

CARBONDALE – Kayakers from far and wide are paddling madly in anticipation of this weekend’s 40th annual Crystal River Kayak Races, a valley tradition and great springtime spectator event organized by Colorado Rocky Mountain School.



CRMS was the first independent school in the country to offer a kayaking program, and has consistently produced top whitewater paddlers. In 1999, coaches at the school helped institute the state’s first (and now ongoing) high school kayaking championship series. Two former instructors are on Paddler magazine’s “Top 100 Kayakers of the Century” list.

On the CRMS team this year are three of the four junior women who represented the U.S. at the 2003 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships in Graz, Austria (Ali Wade, Hanna Farrar and Celeste Powers; Wade and Farrar placed second and third, respectively, at that event). In January 2004, Wade competed in Penrith, Australia, at the Pre World’s Freestyle Kayaking Championships, where she placed first in the world among junior women.



Of these noted junior women, Hanna Farrar and possibly Ali Wade are expected to compete at the Crystal River races. If Wade is able to return to Colorado from her independent senior apprenticeship, says coach Peter Benedict, she will compete in Sunday’s freestyle event.

Friday is the downriver race on the Roaring Fork River. Race registration is at 4 p.m. at Mountain View Baptist Church next to Buffalo Valley restaurant.

The race starts at 4:30 p.m., and concludes with a barbecue at Veltus Park in Glenwood Springs. In a first for the Crystal River races, rafts are welcome in this event.

Also Friday is a fund-raiser for the Glenwood whitewater park, from 7 p.m. to midnight at Buffalo Valley. All ages are welcome to watch kayaking videos and hear bands, for $10. The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park task force is also sponsoring this fund-raiser. All proceeds will go toward building a whitewater park in Glenwood Springs.

Saturday is the slalom race, from the bridge next to CRMS on the Crystal River. Race registration is from 8:30 to 9 a.m., followed by a racers’ meeting at 9:30. The race is from 9:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday is the freestyle (rodeo) competition, at the Log Hole on the Crystal River. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. at CRMS. Because parking in the vicinity of the Log Hole is limited, a free shuttle to the site leaves from the campus at 9 a.m., and the competition begins at 10 a.m. All are welcome to park on the CRMS campus.

The entry fee for each of the three competitive events is $15, or $25 for all three events. Spectators are welcome to watch all three kayak/canoe events at no charge.

The Crystal River Kayak Races is the second of three events in this year’s Colorado High School Whitewater Cup. The first event was held May 1-2 in Durango and the final series of competitions will be May 21-23 in Golden.The Crystal River Kayak Races is the second of three events in this year’s Colorado High School Whitewater Cup. The first event was held May 1-2 in Durango and the final series of competitions will be May 21-23 in Golden.


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