The 40th Big Fork Festival

After spending the first two weeks of the month of May in Canada with the rest of the Adidas Sick-line Freestyle crew shooting around BC and Quebec I got back home really sore and tired. We paddled pretty much everyday and had forgotten how exhausting freestyle actually is! A couple days home to unpack and repack and off to the next stop, Montana! We left early on Friday and drove all day until we got to Big Fork, a small town at the mouth of the Black Swan river. Northern Montana is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. At the base of Glacier Park everything is green surrounded by white caped peaks and emerald lakes, it’s really awesome!

The Big Fork Festival was celebrating their 40th edition and it was a great one indeed. It’s definitely one of the oldest kayaking festivals in the US and still attracts a lot of competitors from all over the North West. The organization does a great job setting up the slalom course and and taking care of the competitors providing free camping next to the river, dinner, prizes and great hospitality. 

Even though the water was a little bit lower than last year the slalom course was still challenging and the whole run is still great. On Saturday we did the slalom race on the Staircase rapid. We did two runs through 18 gates that made for some pretty fun moves and did another lap in the afternoon to paddle the whole section which was really fun. On Sunday we did the downriver and the giant slalom down the whole ‘Wild Mile’ section. The name says it all, one mile of good rapids all the way to the take out right in downtown Big Fork. The downriver took around 7 minutes an a bit longer for the GS that included 6 gates throughout the whole run.

After all the races we did another lap to say goodbye to the Black Swan and headed to the awards. I was stoked to take first place and retain my title from last year (going for three next year!) and even more happy to see Ali do the same and win the women’s class!! It was a really fun weekend for both of us and even better after the awards. 

Thank you to the organizers, specially Mike for designing and setting up the course, Jonny Meyers for being the man, Coral, Beth and everyone else for putting their time into the event making it one of the best in the US! Thanks safety team, gate keepers, time people and volunteers, it was an amazing weekend! See you al next year!!

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