WAVE TRAIN KAYAK TEAM

The Gallatin River flows through the Big Sky and Bozeman areas to the Missouri River, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities along the way.

This year’s Gallatin Whitewater Festival seeks to highlight our area’s whitewater resources June 25 with a series of events designed to challenge whitewater kayakers, canoers and rafters, as well as provide avenues for non-paddlers to participate.

The festival has a long history in the Bozeman whitewater community, with a variety of organizers hosting the event since the original Gallatin get-together in June 1978.

Competitors attempt to paddle through a gate during the festival’s 2015 Community Raft Slalom.

Competitors attempt to paddle through a gate during the festival’s 2015 Community Raft Slalom.

After a hiatus of several years, Wave Train Kayak Team in partnership with the Gallatin National Forest brought the festival back in 2013. Enthusiasm for the rebooted event is growing quickly with competitor and participant attendance doubling since 2013—more than 100 whitewater enthusiasts competed in both the 2014 and 2015 festivals.

Wave Train Kayak Team was founded 15 years ago and has been a big part of promoting the Gallatin Valley river community. This year, Wave Train is teaming up with a number of local businesses to host the festival as a fundraiser for its non-profit youth whitewater kayaking program. Wave Train strives to offer an affordable and safe pathway to rivers for kids between the ages of 10 and 18.

During this year’s Community Raft Slalom, teams and their professional guides will power their boats through a series of gates on their way downriver, competing for glory, trophies and prizes donated by local and national vendors.

This event provides an avenue for river enthusiasts with little to no whitewater paddling experience to join the festival in more than a spectator capacity.

Other races will provide some great whitewater action with some of the area’s top whitewater boaters vying for bragging rights and a boatload of great prizes.

Registration and events will be based at the Gallatin River Trailhead, in the large pullout across the river from the Lava Lake Trail, just upstream from the 35 mph Bridge.

Contact Dave Zinn with Wave Train Kayak Team at davezinnkayaks@gmail.com or visit gallatinwhitewaterfestival.com for more information.

2016 Gallatin Whitewater Festival schedule of events

9-10 a.m. – Registration

The Community Raft Slalom allows participants with limited paddling experience to form a team and compete with a professional guide.

The Community Raft Slalom allows participants with limited paddling experience to form a team and compete with a professional guide.

10 a.m. – Mandatory competitor meeting for all events except the Community Raft Slalom10:30 a.m. – Gallatin River Downriver Race: a timed two-mile downriver race that takes competitors through the Mad Mile

12:30 p.m. – House Rock Boatercross: a mass start sprint race from the Gallatin River Trailhead through House Rock Rapids

1 p.m. – Community Raft Slalom check-in (pre-registration required)

2 p.m. – Community Raft Slalom: an event in which local river guides lend a hand and a raft to pre-registered teams of five or six

2:30 p.m. – 35 mph Slalom: a race that requires competitors to navigate gates on their way downstream from the Gallatin River Trailhead access above the 35 mph Bridge

5 p.m. – Awards at the Gallatin River Trailhead