GORE FEST 2015 ~ A Preview of What to Expect. by Hattie Johnson

Looking downstream from Gore Rapid 2013 race day (image courtesy of Rapid Image Photography)
The Gore Canyon Race has been around since before I even knew what whitewater was, so I won’t try to talk about the history of the event. I’ll just talk about this year, and this year is going to be awesome.
After throwing together an unofficial race on the Slaughterhouse section of the Roaring Fork River with some good friends, we learned that no one was really motivated to plan the Gore race this year. The fantastic folks over at The Adventure Company on the Ark had thankfully applied for the needed permits and were willing to get the event insurance. And so it began.
Gore is a canyon of the Colorado River through the impressive Gore Range Mountains. It is a beautiful canyon with a Union Pacific railroad track following the right bank. This makes for some nice sharp blast rocks and shrapnel from what must have been gnarly railroad wrecks. When run-off is over and the Colorado boaters have to start thinking of powder days, Gore Canyon runs at levels most of us beaters are comfortable paddling. It’s one of my favorite places to be in August.
Racers getting deep at Tunnel Rapid (image courtesy of Rapid Image Photography)
This past winter, I did a lot of construction oversight of the new whitewater park being built at Pumphouse, the Gore take-out, for the company I work for. The whitewater park had been in the works at that point for about 7 years, with representatives from 3 counties, American Whitewater, and many other Upper Colorado stakeholders working hard to push it through. This feature, like 27 others across Colorado, claims water for a Recreational In-Channel Diversion water right applied and granted to Grand County. What this means is that not only is the wave a blast to play on, but the structure creating it actually protects up to as much as 2500 cfs in the Colorado River against future diversion projects. Water in the river!
SUP racers at Eye of the Needle rapid on the Upper Colorado (image courtesy of Rapid Image Photography)
Kids enjoying the family float on the Upper Colorado (image courtesy of Rapid Image Photography)
For GoreFest, this means we have an event for anyone and everyone. The park bridges the gap between the upstream Class IV/V canyon gnar and the downstream II/III family/kid/dog/Wal-Mart raft float. The Gore Canyon Downriver Race will still be the centerpiece of the weekend, but now a family float, SUP race and cross, freestyle rodeo, live music, and all kinds of good times make up this festival weekend. (See attached image for schedule of events).

The festival events take place at the Launch 3 camping area at the BLM Pumphouse Rec Area near Kremmling, CO. All pre-race meetings will be held at the pavilion down by Launch 3. The movie, music, slideshow and bonfire will be up the hill at Group site B (you can’t miss it). If you’re going to make it out please be sure to pay your camping and car fees for the days you are there so we don’t have to!

American Whitewater has been an amazing partner in this event. They have been on weekly calls to confirm good flows for race day (they have been shooting for 1200cfs an ideal and still friendly level). They have also provided a big cash donation and a new boat to raffle off. Your raffle ticket comes with a $25 membership to American Whitewater so you can’t lose!
We are excited to have Dirt Bag Paddlers represent with a booth and Admin/MAG correspondent Caleb Chicoine staffing that up and reporting for DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE when he isn’t out on the water. Find him and make your way into the short clip he will be recording covering GoreFest! Look for the DBP Banner. Other tents will include Leave No Trace, Upper Colorado River Private Boaters Association, Hala Boards, American Whitewater, and anybody else who shows up! No vending is allowed on site so everybody is just there to have fun and enjoy this awesome community.

We have had amazing support from local businesses and landowners who are excited to have this event to bring boaters to their community. Big thanks to American Whitewater, Blue Valley Ranch, Everist Materials, Colorado River Cattle Ranch, Part’s City, and Tayben Transportation.
Our gear sponsors include Alpine Quest Sports, 4Corners River Sports, Tenmile Kayaks, Hala Boards, and Stand Up Paddle Colorado.
We would all be going hungry if it were from huge donations from the Middle Park Meat Company and Peak Provisions.
There have been so many amazing people helping out so I want to be sure to shout out to the US Rafting Association, Adventures in Whitewater, ACA, Rapid Image Photography, RiverRestoration, Wavemonkey Scoring,  Downstream Adventures, Kremmling Chamber of Commerce, Sun Imprints, Ute Trail Motel, Croft Bodywork, Backcountry Brownies, and Nature’s Bakery.

Can’t wait to see everyone out there this weekend!
Stay safe!!
Details on GoreFest-
Wallacing from GoreFest 2013
A look at the new whitewater park

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