A message to our whitewater athletes and fans

A message to our whitewater athletes and fans

Posted by: Tom Boyd

When June comes to Colorado, kayakers come to Colorado. So do paddleboarders and rafters and so many of the world’s whitewater enthusiasts, all of whom know that the June runoff in the Rocky Mountains is something special to behold, and to take part in, each year.

In June the GoPro Mountain Games have been the focal point for the annual whitewater migration. No matter where in the world you’re from, if you’re a whitewater athlete or fan, Vail Colorado is the place to be two weeks after Memorial Day.

Even before the GoPro Mountain Games first year (in 2002), Vail and the surrounding rivers were on the migratory path. The annual International Whitewater Festival, which preceded the GoPro Mountain Games, was one of many local, regional, national and international whitewater competitions that provided the roots from which the GoPro Mountain Games still benefit and flourish. Whitewater folks are a core part of our event – truly they are the glue that binds our event together. Many of our best friends are found in the whitewater community, and many of us at the Vail Valley Foundation are kayakers, rafters, paddleboarders and river lovers as well.

This year, as most of you know, the GoPro Mountain Games have been postponed to Aug. 20-23. We at the Vail Valley Foundation will be evaluating this plan and deciding by June if we can still host the event in August.

Whitewater competitions cancelled

There is still great whitewater in Colorado in August, like Gore Canyon above. Even though we will not be able to host whitewater events at the GoPro Mountain Games in 2020 due to low water, we encourage paddlers of all levels to come to Colorado and take part in other aspects of the GoPro Mountain Games and paddle surrounding rivers. Photo courtesy Paddling Life.

The fact is, August is not a time for big water in Vail’s Gore Creek or nearby Homestake Creek, our traditional whitewater venues. Our hard-working whitewater officials and athlete ambassadors have spent the past few weeks contemplating all the creative solutions to hosting a whitewater event in Vail in August, but the reality is that we simply won’t have enough water during that time of year to have a safe event within our footprint.

Therefore, all whitewater events for the 2020 GoPro Mountain Games have been cancelled.

Whitewater paddlers are still encouraged to attend the event (if it is greenlighted). We will need your enthusiasm, energy, and one-of-a-kind river spirit to help lift us up in this challenging year! This also might be the year to finally check out one of our non-whitewater events.

If you have already registered you can reapply your registration to another event. Learn more about how we are handling registration for 2020 HERE.

Join us anyway, and bring your paddles!

Whitewater abounds in Colorado in August. If public health guidance allows us to gather by August, please come paddle Gore Canyon, Barrel Springs, Shoshone and Grizzly Creek on the Colorado River all within about an hour or two, and all great runs ranging from Class V to Class II. A few surf waves may still be going strong in nearby Eagle and Glenwood Springs, as well.

This year, more than ever, if our event is greenlighted we will we want you to come out, get some time on the water, and be a part of our event in August.


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