The inaugural SeasonFive Summit Games got off to a chilly start on Saturday. A breezy 40-degree morning welcomed participants in the games’ kickoff event: the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) race on Dillon Reservoir.
But the cold didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the roughly 15 eager competitors in the approximately 3 1/2-mile sprint.
While there were no roaring crowds in this first year, organizer Mike Fischer viewed it as a success, with a big upside.
“It’s a start,” he said. “Participant turnout is good so far.”
Events like these tend to start small. Fischer said it usually takes a year to catch on, and this year he had only about two months to put it together.
Pro stand-up paddleboarder and whitewater kayaker Dan Gavere, who won the morning SUP sprint, agreed about the events’ potential. He noted the rapid growth of paddleboarding, nationwide and more recently in Colorado.
“Most races will double or triple from year to year,” said Gavere, who is active in the industry both as a competitor and designer.
The sport is growing in Colorado, both on flatwater and whitewater.
“It’s going to be big,” says Gavere about paddleboarding.
He said he believes people will view the sport as he did a few years ago: something new to try. Paddleboarding has become a staple summer activity in places like Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Bend, Ore., in recent years. Gavere and others see that same potential in Colorado, with more of a whitewater focus.
As for the Summit Games, Fischer designed the event to be a multi-sport kickoff to summer. He said that with more time to organize next year, the Summit Games will garner more attention and sponsors. He and Frisco Bay Marina officials said they believe the games could eventually grow to be like the Vail Mountain Games, feature the town of Frisco and serve as a kickoff to summer.
As the temperature warmed up, more area residents and visitors arrived at the marina. A number of them showed a curiosity in paddleboarding and took advantage of a free demo. Gavere also taught a paddling clinic in the afternoon.
“We sold our first paddleboard,” said marina office manager Jen Shimp. She said it could be a sign of things to come on the reservoir.
Other events included a fat-tire mountain-bike race on a course built in the mud below the reservoir’s normal waterline. The event didn’t attract many participants, but today’s open-class race may draw more attention.
The paddleboarding clinic, a stand-up paddleboard yoga session and an afternoon social paddling session attracted most of the attention during the day.
Games organizer and SeasonFive apparel president Fischer invited renowned international yoga instructor Rachel Brathen to teach both an on-grass and an on-paddleboard yoga session. She will be teaching two more classes today.
In its first year, the Summit Games are far from the scope of the Vail Mountain Games, but the event appears to have the potential to grow substantially in years to come.
“We’re excited about it,” said marina manager Phil Hofer. “The crowd started picking up around lunch.”
“I want to see this every year,” Shimp said. “I think it can be big.”
With warmer weather, it’s possible the event will attract bigger crowds today. Today’s events include fly-casting competitions, an adventure shore run, an open-class mountain bike race and more SUP races. Both the run and mountain bike race will take place on mud courses set up near the reservoir shoreline.
There will be yoga sessions with Brathen, free paddleboard demos and another clinic with Gavere. Scheduled event times are subject to change. Event registration is still open and will continue until shortly before each event begins.
For more information see the accompanying schedule or visit www.thesummitgames.com.