Summer is Colorado’s best-kept secret, with adventures that go well beyond hiking and biking. With over 2,000 lakes and reservoirs, Colorado is the supreme playground for stand-up paddle boarding, also known as SUP. The season begins mid-May and runs through September.
At Colorado-based Timbers Resorts, Kaylie Finnis is the resident expert on stand-up paddle boarding. She took a break from her duties on the marketing team to give us insider tips on SUP adventures in Colorado.
Steamboat Springs, CO: home of One Steamboat Place
Ahh…picture yourself surrounded by nature, instead of walls, as you flow through a vinyasa, listening to the water lap alongside your board during savasana. That is the beauty of SUP yoga. Many of my first-time students haven’t tried yoga or SUP before and think it would be too challenging for them, but quickly learn that it’s not only possible, but it’s incredible!
A session typically begins with 15-30 minutes of basic safety, balance and paddle techniques, followed by a blissful, floating yoga class. If you fall, you just land in the water, so you can try poses you may not have tried on land. Fletcher Pond and Lake Catamount are two of my favorite places to SUP in Steamboat Springs. Group and private SUP Yoga and SUP Lessons are available through various outfitters in and around Steamboat.
SUP Rentals and beginner to advanced lessons are easy to find around Aspen/Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley. Stillwater, Twin Lakes and Ruedi Reservoir are three stunning mountainside options to tour on your board. Sunrise sessions of SUP Yoga and SUP Lessons are also available on Kodiak Ski Lake, 30 minutes outside of Aspen. For the more adventurous, you can take a guided tour down the Colorado River.
During the first weekend of August, Lake Dillon holds the highest altitude SUP races just 50 minutes from Vail.
While the SUP Sprint and SUP Cross may lean towards the extreme side of the sport, being a spectator during the annual GoPro Mountain Games will be blast for you and your family and friends. For the SUP Sprint, paddlers race down Gore Creek through class 2 & 3 whitewater to the finish line in the heart of Vail Village. This is followed by SUP Cross, where 5 athletes compete through a whitewater obstacle course. Next year’s events are June 9-12, 2016.
In addition to these race events, there are several beautiful flat-water options in the Vail-Eagle area as well as many outfitters who offer SUP Yoga as well as private and group SUP lessons.
Fun Colorado SUP Facts:
- Peter Hall is the inflatable SUP designer and owner of Hala Gear, which is based in Steamboat Springs.
- Charlie Macarthur, a resident of Aspen, co-designed/tested the first whitewater SUP for C4 Waterman.
- Shaboomee, a SUP design/rental company that is all about family fun, is located near Aspen/Snowmass. They just unveiled their new patent-pending SUP Yoga platform, called the SUP Nelumbo, at the Steamboat Movement Festival in July.
Colorado’s abundance of bluebird days are reflected in clear waterways surrounded by aspen and pine trees. With boards and lessons at your fingertips, where would you choose to stay and SUP with your family and friends?
Kaylie Finnis is the Director of Database Marketing for Timbers Resorts, she is also a PSUPA Flatwater certified instructor as well as a certified yoga/SUP yoga instructor. Kaylie taught SUP Yoga at the Steamboat Movement Festival in July, races at the Dillon High-Altitude SUP Challenge, and has also competed in the GoPro Mountain Games Downriver SUP Sprint. In her free time, she shares her passion for stand-up paddle boarding with others through lessons, or sunrise/sunset SUP sessions with friends.