Low Water Winter

This winter started off with a bang, but has now wound down to minimal rain extending this biblical drought we've been suffering through in Alabama for the past few years.

However, I have been fortunate enough to get on low water Little River Canyon a lot. The canyon takes on a different character at these low levels and is way more technical and dangerous in most places, than at normal flows. Here's some pics of low water lines from the suicide section of the canyon...

Me entering Terminal Eddy. This rapid gets really dangerous at low water because of sieve on river left. pic by-Lauren Smith

Low water line at Avalanche. I don't feel safe on this one without my WRSI face bar- pic by Lauren Smith.
Cruise Quenille on the same rapid-pic by Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith catching air on Mushroom Boof-pic by Charlie Mix

Lauren Smith running the first drop of Cable Falls-pic by Crusie Quenille

Getting old school on the bottom drop of Cable-pic by Cruise Quenille

Me again on the last drop on Alabama's classic Pinball-pic by Kenny

Until Next Time,

-Charlie Mix


Jay Panther

Hello everyone,

Yesterday was the singles event at the Calgary Nor Am and it went great.  First and foremost I was able to ski my competition runs...with the aid of 17 ibuprofen and a tightly wrapped 
ace bandage.  My qualifying run was not only the first time I skied the course and hit the airs, but the first time I skied since I hurt myself in A-Basin a week ago.  I skied a great run, all things considered, and qualified 10th.  In finals I skied another great run and once again had the fastest time of the day.  The judging was a little suspect to say the least, as I ended up 13th, but yesterday really wasn't about the result.  Yesterday was about exploring my mental and physical toughness, and really finding out what kind of competitor I am capable of being.  

We had today off, tomorrow is a day of training (another 
day of rest for me), and we compete in duals on Sunday.  My ribs are still in a lot of pain so there is no guarantee, but I have every intention of competing Sunday and taking it one run at a time.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and positive thoughts, they worked!  I will let you know how Sunday goes.

Jay Panther


Ducky Anyone?

Ah yes. We've all done it, seen it done, laughed at it: the famous ducky. And I do not know about you, but I have gotten totally munched trying to control the darn thing on a rapid. So, why not take it down a thirty foot waterfall? Um...what? Somehow New River Academy students got their hands on a three person ducky (inflatable kayak) and decided to take it down Los Leones Falls in Chile. Los Leones is a 25-30 foot waterfall on the Rio Fuy, and is pretty much clean. Maybe this seems like nothing to you guys, and it's true that I have seen raft guides take groups down a 20 footer in New Zealand (no thank you!), but I was a little um...uncertain. It sounded...uncomfortable.

Stephen Forester at the top of Los Leones Falls on Rio Fuy in Chile

Lots of cheering and laughter later, New River Academy junior, Stephen Forester, paddles the large ducky off the falls. Turns out it was perfectly safe, similar to jumping off a high ledge into water (except harder to mess up). But oh man, Stephen's face! It is definitely a different way to experience a waterfall! He looked like the guy from Scary Movie 2...what was his name? Scream? Or was the the first Scary Movie. Whatever, those gave me nightmares. Yes, I realize they are comedies. I don't want to talk about it.

Can you see Stephen Forester's face? 

Anyway, Los Leones falls is a sweet drop to practice tucking, boofing, and stomping. You can even just "park and huck", although the trail can be tricky to find...or maybe I am just completely obtuse (there was a big sign, but in my defense, it was sorta off to the side...and I did not go too far past it!). I would not recommend trying any freewheels or anything because there is a kind of shallow rock shelf, but other then that, it is a good practice spot for any skill level. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want.

Head of New River Academy, David Hughes, tries a different
technique off of the falls. Jump Dave, Jump!

I have decided to take the Ducky down the Trancura run here in Chile. It should not be so hard, but I am so wearing nose plugs. I'll let you know how it goes. Am I the only one who is kind of scared of Duckies? Is that weird? 

-Tracy d'Arbeloff


Rio Fuy!

Estoy al Rio Fuy en Chile con New River Academy! Although pouring rain for the past two days, the area is still unbelievable. We are nestled in a little hostel in the middle of the tiny town of Choshuenco. Everyone here is so nice and welcoming! Even the stray puppies living under the hostel are really friendly and happy. Despite the language barrier, I can tell that this is a small town where they take care of their own. It is intere
sting that even in such a closed community, they treat outsiders like they belong!

The Fuy River itself is beautiful. The water is this turquoise blue, and warm! Apparently because the river comes from a lake, it is solar heated? Point is, no dry tops!!! With the rain, it is not quite skin to wind weather, but I am sure once the sun shows itself, I'll get a snazzy lifejacket tan. The upper and middle Fuy are class 4-5 runs that include tons of drops, ranging from a few feet high to over 50! The lower is a stunning class 2-3+ run. It is super chill, and worth doing at least once. 

Unfortunately, the water level is super low right now, and petons are numerous. It can make for an uncomfortable ride in some of the shallower rapids! But! With all this rain, who knows! Hopefully the level will come up!

Chile is a whitewater haven. And in a week, I'll be at the Futaleufu!

-Tracy d'Arbeloff