PaddleFest on tap in Silverthorne |

PaddleFest on tap in Silverthorne

SILVERTHORNE – With Colorado snowpacks approaching 100 percent of average, paddlers can hardly wait to get on the water.

This weekend’s PaddleFest will only heighten the anticipation.

More than 20 kayaking companies have stocked the Silverthorne Pavilion with the latest boats and accessories in preparation for today’s 3 p.m. start to PaddleFest. The second-year event – a combination sale and expo – is hosted by Colorado Kayak Supply and Summit Kayak School.

“Everybody is very excited about the potential water in all the rivers,” said Colorado Kayak owner Cheryl Richmond. “There’s quite a buzz right now about this year and having a season.”

For many paddlers in the region, last year barely happened. Breckenridge’s new kayak park was unusable most of the summer, and the Arkansas-River-based rafting industry struggled.

“It was a bad season for morale,” Richmond said. “There wasn’t any water. It was just hot and sunny every day. It was tough. We hope there’s a pent-up excitement. It’s kind of like we skipped a year.”

Organizers expect close to 2,000 people over the three-day event. Doors will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. today. On Saturday, doors open at 9 a.m. In addition to the normal expo and sale – every item will be discounted at least 10 percent – there will be a pool demo at the nearby Silverthorne Recreation Center from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday. There, paddlers can test the latest boats in the rec center pool. After the expo shuts down for the day, the kayak film “No Big Names” will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Pavilion.

Sunday’s hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free all weekend.

“All companies will be showcasing all of the 2003 products,” Richmond said. “Everything is on sale. It’s unusual in early season for the brand new stuff to be on sale.”

Colorado Kayak Supply has a shop in Nathrop and in Silverthorne. The Silverthorne shop will open May 1. A gear swap is scheduled for May 10.

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