Glenwood to test the whitewater |

Glenwood to test the whitewater

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentWater from the Colorado River cascades over rocks as a kayaker rides a wave at the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park Thursday. The park will host a competition next month, in advance of next year's U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” It didn’t take long for Chris Vogt, owner of Glenwood Canyon Kayak, to go from elation, upon hearing the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park has been selected to host the 2009 U.S. Kayak Freestyle Team Trials, to realizing how much work it would take to make it happen.

“When I realized that the team trials were going to be here, my first thought was that this is a major event, not only for us, but for the whole kayaking community,” Vogt said.

The U.S. Team Trials could potentially draw thousands of competitors and spectators to the three-day competition next spring. The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park Committee, of which Vogt is member, were thinking about how, logistically, they were going to pull off an event of that magnitude. The only logical answer was to hold an event this fall to see how it would work, according to Vogt.

That’s how the Throw Down Show Down freestyle kayak competition was born.

“It’s crucial for the whole valley that Glenwood put on the best event anyone can imagine,” Vogt said. “If we pull this off with aces, if we can put on an awesome face and show the kayak world that Glenwood can pull this together and put on a world-class event, others would be beating down our door for events.”

The Throw Down Show Down competition is scheduled to be a one-day event, on Sept. 21, for anyone who wants to compete. Categories will include men, women, open, junior and cadet classes. The event’s main purpose is to test out the logistics of the whitewater park and to determine what potential problems could arise ” and how to deal with them ” before the team trials.

“It’s good for us, a dry run so to speak,” Vogt said. “It will let us plug the holes and critique, ‘What are some of the problems we didn’t expect,’ and ‘How big are some of the other problems that we did see coming.'”

Vogt said organizers are looking at potential challenges, such as parking and traffic, and figuring out how to best structure a competition.

“The best way to see how something is going to work is to have done it once before,” Vogt said.

The Throw Down Show Down will be held on a Sunday, according to Vogt, in order to accommodate other businesses on Devereux Road.

“We think it will be the least impact for the businesses there if we do it on Sunday,” Vogt said. “We are trying to be really considerate of those guys.”

With water levels dropping from the high runoff seen in the spring, the whitewater park will still be in good shape for the September competition, according to Vogt. And the cooler fall temperatures won’t scare off any competitors.

“Kayakers aren’t going to be put off with the cooler temperatures,” Vogt said. “They will be fine. I would say we are really good through October, almost.”

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