Montana Big Sky Country

Kayakers ride Wild Mile

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Posted: March 18th, 2013
Flows on the Wild Mile are always higher than expected, but that never stops the annual Bigfork Whitewater Festival.
“It’s high, but it’s going to be good,” said Niki Dezzani, who has coordinated the festival with her husband for the last several years.
The Wild Mile is below a dam on a stretch of the lower Swan River that flows through Bigfork.
There’s no telling how many kayakers will turn out for the two-day event that starts today, but it’s usually a strong field.
“Normally we get about 60 or 70 people,” Dezzani said. “The majority are local, but we usually have a handful of people from all over the country.”
A timed slalom race is held on the lower portion of the river starting at 11 a.m., followed by a slalom race on the upper river starting at 2 p.m.
Sunday at noon, the downriver race gets under way, with kayakers riding the Wild Mile from top to bottom. Boater-cross races start directly after, with heats of five or six kayakers racing simultaneously. The top finishers move on to a final head-to-head race.

Spectators can watch kayakers on the Wild Mile by parking in the Electric Avenue area and hiking on the Swan River nature trail on the north side of the river.

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