On April 15, 2011, Deep Creek Lake was selected as the host for the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, marking the 25th year anniversary of the 1989 World Championships that were held in Garrett County. This is only the second time in history this event has been held in the United States.
What exactly is Canoe Slalom? Canoe Slalom is one of the most exciting sports in water. Paddlers have to make their way down a 300 meter white water rapid and race through a series of gates. These gates are made up of red and green poles and determine the direction that the paddlers must past through. Not only must the teams race through these gates, but also battle the white water rapids of waves to finish in the quickest time. There are five categories that Canoe Slalom paddlers compete in. Both men and women race in Kayak single and the Canoe single event, men can also race in Canoe double event.
Garrett County has been working tirelessly to make sure the World Championships go as smooth as possible. When asked about the preparation that goes into hosting such an event, Executive Director of Deep Creek 2014, Todd Copley, said, “The event production company began in December 2012 and we’ve been working non-stop since then. We have 41 separate sub-committees made up of volunteers organizing all the functional areas from sanitation to hospitality to race course to construction to athlete services. We work with the ICF and provide them progress reports on the planning that is being done.”
If you are curious on how all these international teams will get here the ICF has already steps ahead of you. Copley explained that, “All the teams are responsible for funding their teams. Like in the Olympics some countries are able to allocate more or less funding. The National Federations will arrange all their travel and lodging plans. Deep Creek 2014 facilities are working with our lodging sponsors and providing as much information as possible to the Federations to make this easy.”
“Deep Creek made a formal bid for the event in 2011. Beating out other candidate cities like Krakow Poland and Vienna Austria to win the bid,” Copley said. The official venue, Adventure Sports Center International, was started as a non-for-profit corporation in 1998. ASCI oversees the commercial operation of the whitewater course and management of the Fork Run Recreation Area. “Adventure Sports Center International is a start of the art facility and one of only two in the U.S. that could host this event.” Over 55,000 people have traveled down this mountaintop river and continue to grow year after year bringing in families, beginners and professionals to celebrate in this adrenaline filled sport.
With canoeing and kayaking in America, Copley is optimistic about the popularity of the sport, “Our national federation is USACK, United States Canoe & Kayak, and they are playing a major role in promoting the sport and the other paddle sport. Canoe Slalom is an Olympic sport that draws a lot of attention especially in Europe. We are hoping we can do the same.”