Colorado has some of the best whitewater kayaking in the country. But before you head out to a river, it is a good idea to learn and practice basic kayaking techniques in calm, flat water. Learning to kayak can be a bit daunting, but taking a kayak class from an experienced instructor will give you the tools you need to be successful on the river. The Vail Valley, Denver and Boulder areas of Colorado all offer introductory kayak classes in a lake setting.
Vail Valley Classes
Alpine Quest Sports has been teaching kayaking classes since 1989 in the Vail, Colorado area. Alpine Kayak is one of the largest kayak schools in Colorado and has a variety of courses for beginning to more advanced paddlers.
For a great introduction to the sport, Alpine Kayak offers a fun and informative Lake Class. The course is 3 to 4 hours long, includes all equipment rentals and lessons in basic skills. The class can be combined with a 1-Day Intensive Beginner Class, which allows you to get right out on the river after successfully mastering some basic skills on the lake. The cost of the Lake Class is only $59 in 2009. If combined with the river course it is $169.
Renaissance Adventure Guides offers a variety of kayak courses in the Denver area. Test the waters with an Introduction to River Kayaking course designed specifically for those who have never been in a kayak. The class includes a full day of basic paddling skills and an introduction to the Eskimo roll. Courses are offered at several reservoirs and lakes in the Denver area. The fee for the Introduction to River Kayaking course is $120 in 2009.
Renaissance Guides also offers sea-kayaking lessons for those who would rather learn the skills needed for open water. Take a full-day lesson and learn basic paddling and navigation techniques or simply get an introduction to the sport with a three-hour tour.
Boulder Outdoor Center
The Boulder Outdoor Center runs a Novice Lake Clinic for those with very little or no paddling experience. The Novice Lake Clinic includes 6 hours of instruction in paddling skills, rescue techniques and an introduction to the Eskimo roll. Class fees cover all of your kayaking gear, including wetsuits and a paddle jacket. The fee for the one-day course in 2009 is $120.