Kayak races return to Carbondale | AspenTimes.com

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Kayak races return to Carbondale

A competitor navigates a gate in last year's slalom at the Crystal River Kayak Races in Carbondale. (Post Independent file)

CARBONDALE ” Some 70 boaters are expected to hit the rising Crystal River this weekend for the 44th annual Crystal River Kayak Races hosted by Colorado Rocky Mountain School.

One of Colorado’s oldest kayak competitions returns to Carbondale on Sunday, April 20. The bridge over the Crystal, next to the school campus, will serve as epicenter for the action ” and a prime spot from which to watch.

The races include two disciplines ” slalom and boatercross ” and high school paddlers from around the state will compete, as the event is part of the High School Whitewater Cup race series. Community members of all ages and skill levels are also encouraged to register in race. A few canoeists typically join the kayakers in the contests.

Races begin at noon with the slalom race. Boatercross races will follow immediately afterward, and the races should conclude by mid-afternoon. In slalom, racers navigate between widely spread gates. In boatercross, multiple boaters race simultaneously and maneuver for position. Last year, the event included a downriver race as a third discipline, but it will not be held this year.

CRMS ” the first prep school in America with a kayaking team ” has a venerated history in the sport and has produced nationally renowned kayakers, including Hanna Farrar, a 2005 graduate who is currently a member of the U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team.

The school’s 2008 team boasts strong boaters, including some with prospects to become nationally competitive kayakers, namely juniors Fred Norquist and Jake Sakson.

Thirty of the college-prep school’s 150 students participate in kayaking, at least recreationally.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday and all racers should be present for an 11:30 a.m. racer’s meeting. The entry fee is $15 for individual races or $20 for both. Spectating is free.

To get to the race site, take Highway 133 in Carbondale to the 7-Eleven traffic light, turn right and go one mile west to the Crystal River bridge.