Thursday, April 14, 2011

Runoff is on its way!

With near record snowpack across the West from Colorado to California, kayaking season is about to go off! Every spring the same ritual ensues: talking big about what new drops we’ll run, what style will be laid down, and what incredible places the next mission will lead. This year is no different, but the anticipation is even higher than normal with the mountains “holding” big time.

So to start it off, I can’t wait to spend some time in the red desert canyon that Escalante Creek calls home. Things are looking good with northern and western Colorado mountain ranges reporting well above average snowpack. Here are a few shots from last year that get me fired up:



While the creeks are calling, this year I am excited to test out the latest playboat technology. I’ve always found that spending time at the local play spot early in the season pays off later in the year when you find yourself doing unintendos in a sticky hole in the middle of a hard rapid. To make sure I can learn to get some hang time on my loops this season, I’ve got the new Wavesport Project X in my sights. As for testing grounds, the Glenwood wave is sure to go off this year.

Of course, there aren't many places better than Buena Vista and Salida when you are looking for some down river playboating, park-and-play, and camping. Along with some runs down the numbers at high water for some on-the-fly action, I look forward to taking a spin on the features at the Ark valley’s expertly crafted play parks during Paddlefest on Memorial Day weekend. Following the lead of the hard-charging, fun-loving locals, I also hope to finally try out some river SUP'ing at Paddlefest as well.

From there, a trip over the Sawatch mountain range to Crested Butte is surely in order. Who can resist Oh Be Joyful? Especially when this amazing creek starts getting some juice!

To tide me over between missions this season, I’ll be looking forward to the final issues of Lunch Video Magazine, finishing with the upcoming Issue 37. If you have been sitting on some sick footage that you want a chance to memorialize on LVM, now’s the time to send it in!

As the season progresses, I have no doubt that my thoughts will turn to the Front Range’s crown jewell, the Big South. While winter in bustling front range metropolises has passed with dry, windy and warm days, Cameron pass – the headwaters of the Poudre river and the Big South – patiently has been gathering obscene amounts of snow. To give you an idea of what we are working with, here’s a snowpack graphic comparing this year to last and some other notable years. Looks good.



As for the kayaking, I’ll let some photos of this gem illustrate my stoke:







While hitting the classics and your local runs can’t be missed, I am eager to do some exploring. There are still plenty of Western rivers and creeks on my ticklist, and sometimes the unknown, exploratory runs turn out to be high points of your season…



Last but certainly not least, I am looking forward to sharing eddies with my friends on the rivers, meeting new ones, sharing war stories at the fire, and introducing at least a couple people to kayaking for their first time this year. For anyone reading this that is looking to find a new river-worthy craft to carry them down the runoff this year or teach them new tricks, my good friend and CKS Squad member Nick Wigston is hosting a CKS kayak swap in Boulder on May 7, 2011 and you can find all the details here.



Looking forward to meeting the entire CKS Squad in short order and seeing you all on the river soon!

Alex

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