Summer Tour hits Vail Colorado with Alpine Quest Sports


After a long and breathtaking drive from Crested Butte through the Kebler Pass to Glenwood Springs and Vail, we touched base with the friendly folks of Alpine Quest Sports. They recommended the rivers we should take out ladies on for our clinic and we then drove to States Bridges and Rancho Del Rio where we scouted the Upper Colorado and found it to be a nice spot for our ladies. We saw big waves, eddies and a great spot to put in and go over stroke technique before heading into the current.

We met our group of 5 at Alpine Quest Sports in Edwards, CO and then loaded up in cars to go to the put in at Rancho Del Rio. After setting shuttle we got to know each other a bit better by each sharing our names and goals for the day. We loosened up with some yoga stretches before getting into our boats. (So important!! Especially when you have been in your boat or sitting in a car for the majority of the last month.)

After sliding off shore into the 9000 cfs of snow melt, called the Upper Colorado, I taught the stroke segment to the group, making sure they all followed the rules of the straight arm tests. The women all already had great skills but all seemed to improve after that. Almost all of them nailed a roll to cool off in the hot sun before heading downstream to another eddy to work on more skills. We worked on eddy turns and peal outs and then headed on down to our first rapid, which was a wide downstream v into a huge bouncing wave train. The women nailed it and we all cheered at the end. We then stopped and ate some lunch, luna bars and knocked back some tasty Emergen-Cs.

From then on we attacked the big water wave trains with joy, like bouncing ducks in a row. The women all rocked it, and we had so much fun! At the take out of States Bridge we all gathered again and Em and I handed out some awesome First Ascent gift bags containing a tee-shirt, collapsible water bottle, plastic camping spork, sticker, temporary tattoo and First Ascent catalog. The ladies checked out our DVDs, tee-shirts and talked about boat styles at our car before some had to head on home and some visited the Reggae festival for a beer.

Thanks ladies of the Edwards/Vail area for joining us and Alpine Quest Sports for hosting us. And of course thanks to our amazing and generous sponsors who make so much of this possible!

Hope to see you on the water soon!
Mary Frances

Join us for one of our on-water adventures in North Carolina or Mexico! And if you’re looking for instruction off the water check out our line of Instructional DVDs. DVD’s are a great way to progress your paddling during the off-season months.