gore canyon festival
A kayaker in Gore Canyon; (photo/Shutterstock)

Insurance Kerfuffle Cancels Classic Colorado Class V Kayak Race

Those looking forward to whitewater thrills from Colorado’s Gore Race will face disappointment this weekend — ’cause it just got canceled.

Organizers canceled one of Colorado’s classic kayaking events today after losing their event insurance.

Paddlers should have dropped into the Class V race at the 2022 Gore Canyon Festival this weekend. Event organizer American Whitewater purchased race insurance in May, but just last week were informed by the insurance company that it no longer provides insurance for Class IV and Class V whitewater events. With little time left before the event, organizers opted to cancel the race.

“Though we’ve tried incredibly hard, the information about the lack of coverage was shared too late for American Whitewater to vet and find alternative coverage for the race this weekend,” the group said in an official statement.

Gore Canyon Festival Will Continue

Despite losing the thrill of watching kayakers face Class V rapids, the show will go on at the weekend festival. The downriver SUP race and freestyle events will continue, insured under the current policy.

The SUP race will take place this Saturday, Aug. 27, and the freestyle event happens Sunday. Both events start near Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, located at the Pumphouse Recreation Site.

“The Gore Canyon Festival is not only a chance to gather with boaters from across Colorado and neighboring states but also to celebrate a river core to the stewardship work of the Southern Rockies program,” wrote Hattie Johnson, the Southern Rockies Stewardship Director for American Whitewater.

Organizers Ask for Support; Refund Details

Those who already paid to participate in the Gore Race will receive refunds. However, the event also serves as a major fundraiser for American Whitewater. For example, race registration includes an American Whitewater membership. Those still interested in joining can ask for a partial refund that will pay back all but $25 of the registration fee, which is the cost of membership.

Organizers also asked guests to consider supporting the organization in other ways.

“The silent auction is still live online and provides another opportunity to continue to help us fill the funding gap that this cancellation will leave,” the group said.

Items purchased through the auction will be available for pick up at the Pumphouse this weekend, organizers said. The Pumphouse Recreation Site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

For those still attending, the BLM also provided a welcome guide to help find camping and pay the required fees, organizers said.

“If you choose to enter Gore Canyon, please note that there will not be a safety team in place and you are doing so at your own risk,” American Whitewater said. “We deeply appreciate your understanding of these unfortunate circumstances and hope that we will still see you on the river this weekend.”

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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.