The 47th Annual Bigfork Whitewater Festival will be happening this Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, 2022. Whether you are a competitor or a spectator, you are invited to have a wonderful holiday weekend in Downtown Bigfork, Montana.
The Bigfork Whitewater Festival is celebrating 47 years of extreme whitewater action and community-oriented fun! This is the longest running event in Bigfork and is one that the entire Flathead Valley looks forward to each year. Participants come from around the world to race. Spectators are also a huge part of this festival and come to enjoy the races and other events held in town. ~ Website
Bigfork Whitewater Festival Details
$20 Entry Fee for Lower Slalom ONLY
Type of Boat: Kayaks, Canoes, SUP Boards. This race is held on class 2-3 whitewater with 8-10 gates . It is a timed race. If a racer hits a gate they will receive a 5 second penalty. If a racer misses a gate they will receive a 50 second penalty. Competitors will get two runs, with the better time used for their score. This is a great opportunity for advanced beginner to intermediate whitewater kayakers and canoers to try paddling gates. This race will start by the power plant and end at the bridge on Electric Avenue in downtown Bigfork.
Upper/Lower Slalom, Down River, Giant Slalom
$50 Entry Fee
Type of Boat: Kayaks and Decked Canoes. NO GLASS OR COMPOSITE BOATS This is an International Canoe Federation style slalom race with 15-20 gates set over 250 yards of continuous class IV whitewater. It is a timed race. If a racer hits a gate they will receive a 5 second penalty. If a racer misses a gate they will receive a 50 second penalty. Competitors will get two runs, the fastest run will count toward overall time. The Upper Slalom begins below the dam on river right and ends at the last gate in “Staircase” rapid.
Type of Boat: Kayaks, Decked Canoes. The downriver race is held on a mile of continuous class IV whitewater known as the Wild Mile. This is an all-out sprint, there are no penalties, fastest time wins. This race will be the time trial for the Giant Slalom Race. Paddlers will start 1 at a time in 2 minute intervals on river left below the dam and paddle to the finish line, the bridge on Electric Avenue in downtown Bigfork.
Type of Boat: Kayaks, Decked Canoes. The Giant Slalom is judged exactly as the Upper Slalom Race with 5 second hit and 50 second miss penalties. The GS has 10-15 gates set over the same stretch of class IV water as the downriver race. Racers start on river right below the dam in 2 minute intervals. The finish line is the downtown Bigfork bridge. Competitors will get one run, fastest time wins.
45 & Older/18 & Under Categories:
We have added two divisions this year to accommodate boaters that would like to compete in the upper slalom, downriver and giant slalom. These boaters will be timed as normal, but will not be in the running for the grand prize money. There will be separate prizes for these athletes. Age is determined by date of festival.
Whitewater Festival Champion & Overall Scores:
The Event Champion will be the individual with the fastest combined time from the Upper Slalom, Down River and Giant Slalom races. Times are recorded by Competitive Timing Inc. *Athletes competing for Event Champion MUST USE THE SAME BOAT for all races – NO GLASS OR COMPOSITE BOATS. Standings from this race will be entered as part of the Western Point Series and the Western Whitewater Championship Series.
STAND UP PADDLEBOARD FLAT WATER RACE
Presented by Base Camp Bigfork, we are excited to announce the fourth annual Bigfork Bay Paddleboard Race!
This year the race will offer three divisions with coordinating courses – beginner – intermediate – advanced
All racers must supply their own SUP and PFD. $20 entry fee.
Cash prizes for first place in each division! Every paddler is entered to win from the raffle.
Registration 8:30-10:00 a.m. Downtown Bigfork
Safety Meeting 10:30 a.m. Bigfork Bay Public Dock
Races Start 11:00 a.m. Bigfork Bay Public Dock
WHITEWATER RAFTING RACES
Boats consisting of 4-man teams will compete in two events: down river race which will serve as the seeding for the head-to-head. Heats will be determined by number of entrants. $150 per team, 4 members + 1 alternate. Payout is dependent upon number of entries. All registration money goes directly to pot.
Five people maximum per team with only four persons on the raft during races. No fixed oar rafts. Racers must launch from designated launch area or team will be disqualified. Official IRF rules for the competition can be found HERE. Not open to amateur levels.
Bigfork, Montana is located on the north end of Flathead Lake, where the Swan River spills into Bigfork Bay. The last mile of the Swan River, known as the “Wild Mile”, is a class IV section of whitewater. It is the perfect whitewater venue with a scenic nature trail paralleling the north side, giving spectators front row seats for some of the best whitewater action in the area. The Wild Mile also flows through downtown Bigfork, which offers an eclectic variety of restaurants, shops and galleries. Please check out the Bigfork Chamber website for more visitor information!
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