Those weren’t funny looking swim trunks.
Members of the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club enjoyed some placid conditions as they paddled in the Canada Games Centre’s pool on Friday in preparation for the warmer seasons.
With massive sheets of ice still covering the Yukon River in some sections, the pool gave paddlers a chance to get in some practice with no chance of a chilly dip.
“Our concern is for safe boating,” said John Quinsey, president of the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club. “The last two summers we’ve done on-the-river workshops. We had different stations from the (Yukon Energy) dam down to the intake—I think four different stations—to demonstrate river-rescue scenarios.
“It raises people’s awareness of the dangers of the river … With the right knowledge and skills you can safely play on it.”
This Friday, members of the Yukon club’s youth program, the River Raiders, will be easing into paddling season with some in-pool kayaking.
“Basically we teach them kayaking skills and take them on river trips if possible,” said River Raiders director Sean Stark. “Starting in June we practise kayaking skills, show them how to do eddy turns, show them how to roll their boats, get them into play-waving and stuff like that.
“(The program) is already full unfortunately.”
Although many of the details have yet to be finalized, the Canoe and Kayak Club plans to repeat many of last summer’s events, including safety lessons, a regatta on Chadburn Lake, a Whitewater Rodeo and numerous trips.
“We’re hoping to get more trips planned this summer … down the Takhini River and things like that,” said Quinsey. “We do trips on the Wheaton River as well. Hopefully we’ll get a few sea kayak trips this summer.
“We don’t like to formally lead trips, because of liability issues, so we kind of look at it that we function to be a meeting place for people to do their own outings.”
Adventure travel outfitter, Up North Adventures, also has a full paddling season ahead with instructional classes and tours.
“It’s been a long winter—we’ve been cross-country skiing since October and the weather this week is supposed to be stellar,” said Kalin Pallett, general manager of Up North Adventures. “We’ve already been out on the water, paddling on the Yukon River, so I think we’re looking at a beautiful spring.
“We’ve got lots of stock and we’re ready to go.”
At the end of May, Up North Adventures will begin an ongoing series of kayaking classes that includes an introductory kayaking class followed by an introduction to kayak rescue and an advanced kayak-rescue class.
For the second year, Up North will also conduct introductory courses on kayak fishing starting in mid-June.
“Kayak fishing is a hot new sport that is really starting to take off,” said Pallett.
Guided kayak tours ranging from a half-day up to more than a week, navigating such rivers as the Teslin and Yukon, are also available.
For those just wanting to try out new items in stock, product demonstration days are being held on June 6 and 7.
Boats and paddles aside, Up North also offers fishing, ATV, mountain biking and hiking trips.
More information can be found at www.upnorthadventures.com.
Contact Tom Patrick at