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ASCI To Host U.S. National Canoe & Kayak Championships Sept. 8 and 9

Aug. 9, 2012
The Republican News

The Deep Creek Open and U.S. National Canoe & Kayak Championships will be held the weekend of Sept. 8 and 9, at the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI). It is expected to once again draw the world’s best paddlers to western Maryland to compete at the unique mountain-top course in the ultimate event of slalom whitewater competition.

“A challenging course will be set on the world’s only mountaintop, self-contained, artificial whitewater channel that draws the senior international teams, including many of the competitors from the London Olympics, as well as the entire U.S. Olympic Team and the current U.S. national and junior teams,” said a spokesperson.

Competitors for both competitions will traverse the same course set-up but will be separated for judging. U.S. paddlers will have the opportunity to place in both the Deep Creek Open and Nationals.

“Combining both these events is sure to create an exceptional pool of talent for the competition,” said Joe Jacobi, CEO of USA Canoe Kayak and Olympic gold medalist in the sport. “ASCI’s facilities will provide both a challenging race environment for competitors, as well as a great experience for spectators. It is a critical opportunity for our athletes to compete on the channel that will be used for the ICF World Championships in 2014.”

The competition will welcome all spectators to the riverside, pedestrian pathways, and/or bridge overlooking the top of the course to watch whitewater racing with family and friends.

“I am really looking forward to returning to ASCI,” said Casey Eichfeld, a 2008 and 2012 Olympian and former ASCI guide and instructor. “It is going to be a good race and great to see everyone again. Plus it will be nice to have the home court advantage in competing against the international paddlers who will be here.”

Canoe slalom is a competitive sport in which either individuals or teams of two navigate a decked canoe or kayak through a course of hanging gates in the fastest time possible. Canoers kneel in their boats and use a single blade paddle, while kayakers sit and use a double bladed paddle. It is one of the two kayaking and canoeing disciplines at the Summer Olympics, with the other being canoe sprint (which is held on flatwater). The color of the gates indicates which direction they must be navigated, upstream or downstream. Time penalties are added for touching gates or failing to navigate gates correctly.

ASCI has successfully hosted many notable whitewater races, from the U.S. Rafting Nationals in 2009 to the ACA’s Open Canoe Slalom Nationals and the North American Canoe Kayak Championships in 2010. ASCI will also have the honor of hosting the esteemed International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) Canoe Slalom World Championships in 2014.

“ASCI is honored to have been selected to host Worlds in 2014,” said Suzanne Nicolas, the Deep Creek 2014 events coordinator. “Hosting such a large scale event will give ASCI the opportunity to show the world all that [the facility] and Garrett County have to offer.”

This is only the second time in history that the Worlds have been held in the United States. The first time was in 1989, also in Garrett County on the Savage River.

ASCI is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that operates both a 15-acre site on top of Marsh Mountain, home to ASCI’s headquarters and the whitewater course, and a 550-acre nature preserve called Fork Run, home to many climbing routes on natural faces and over 10 miles of mountain bike trails. ASCI’s core programs include guided rafting adventures down the whitewater course, guided climbing trips at Fork Run rocks, and instructional courses in kayaking, river boarding, and climbing. ASCI also offers winter programming that includes cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

To learn more about the competitions, persons may contact Nicolas at 301-387-3250 or via e-mail at snicolas@deepcreek2014.com.

Those interested in serving a crucial role as a volunteer for the event can visit www.adventuresportscenter.com to complete a volunteer form.

More here.

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