Western Paddler Wins Crazy Slide on Snow

For the second year in a row, a paddler from the Western Whitewater Club took first place in the annual insanity the folks at Monarch Mountain call Kayaks on the Snow.

Josh Stupka accepts his bicycle first prize in Kayaks on the Snow
Josh Stupka won socks and a bicycle in the event that signals the end of ski season. In second, was Sean Spiller from Littleton. Josh Pecaric of Roanoke, Va., came in third, and Nick Blake of Buena Vista was fourth.
Josh Stupka leads competitors to finish in Kayaks on the Snow

The ski area constructed a snaking flume of snow for the racers. Sitting in their kayaks, roped together, they rode up the hill behind a snow cat. Then they rode down, in their boats, four or five at a time, bracing paddles to try controlling the nearly uncontrollable, some spinning and flipping, before hitting a 100-foot makeshift pool, lined with spectators. The winner of each heat, had to regain control of his or her boat well enough to out-paddle competitors for the length of the pool. Some kayaks skipped like a stone across the water. Others bounced and sank. A few careened toward the spectators.

But after surviving a series of heats, Stupka was on top, and soon perched on a new bicycle, which will no doubt take him on some crazy downhill adventures.

It was the second year in a row that a Western paddler won the event. Sam Makman took first place at the 2013 Kayaks on the Snow.

Story and photographs by Greg Smith, Western Marketing and Media Relations.Josh Stupka and his kayak skip across the water and toward the crowd

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Saturday, April 5, 2014 - 4:15pm