ALL WINTER IN Big Sky, powder hounds talk about the epic face shots of Cold Smoke pow on Lone Peak.
But in summer, there’s a different kind of face shot in Big Sky – face shots of cold water from the rapids on the Gallatin River for whitewater Kayakers.
And while most of the time those exhilarating kayaking face shots are reserved for the seasoned river rat after hours of training and practicing rolls in a pool, I recently found my novice self snuggly sealed in a dry suit and spray skirt, face-to-face with the legendary Mad Mile of rapids.
I was on one of the first of Geyser Whitewater’s new guided tandem kayaking trips down the Gallatin. It gives novices a unique chance to experience whitewater Kayaking with a personal guide, and pro Matt Larson was giving me the rundown on what to do should our boat flip – a distinct possibility on the raging rapids of the Mad Mile.
“Are you ready? On three I’m going to flip us.” Per Matt’s instructions, I threw away my paddle, held my breath, and tucked, suddenly upside down, immersed in the cold water. In another instant, I was gulping air again– Matt had righted our boat.
Both exhilarated and shaking with fear, I was (sort of) ready to head for the rapids. “Paddle!” Matt yelled, and we launched forward into the first section.
Rapid after rapid our boat crashed into the water, sometimes with a force that threw my torso back, engulfing me in a wave of the ice cold river. It was cool and invigorating, and my veins coursed with adrenaline. Like the perfect powder day on Lone Peak, I was getting river face shot after face shot.
Geyser Whitewater is located in Big Sky just off of highway 191 and leads whitewater rafting and kayaking trips on the Gallatin River. New this year, you can also book a Zip and Dip tour, including whitewater rafting and Ziplining at Big Sky Resort.