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.