Thursday, March 25, 2010

US Whitewater Open Preview

This weekend, paddlers from around the world will sprint through the slalom gates on the Nantahala River, when NOC and Nantahala Racing Club (NRC) hosts the 2010 Bank of America US Whitewater Open. The weekend features two days of high-intensity slalom racing at a spectator friendly course at Nantahala Falls.

Giles Morris wrote this article in today's Smoky Mountain News, it's a great primer for the event. (Click to read more.)

"No matter how you look at it, the U.S. Open is one of the classic showcases in the sport of whitewater racing, and the event will bring some of the world’s best racers in both slalom and wildwater classifications to Western North Carolina to show off their skills."

If you've never watched a slalom race, here's what you can look forward to. In slalom competition competitors get two runs of the course, which is typically paddled in less than two minutes. The paddlers negotiate 20 gates-14 downstream gates and six upstream gates-incurring two-second penalties for any touch of a gate, and an insurmountable 50-second penalty for displacing a gate by more than 45 degrees, proceeding in the wrong order or passing through upside-down. The competitors' two times are added together, with the fastest combined time winning the race.

As always, NOC will offer free parking for the event, and River's End Restaurant will be open for racers and spectators can fuel up. The Outfitter's Store, cabin lodging and even Nantahala River rafting will all be open this weekend.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another WFR Concludes at SOLO Southeast, with High Praise from Participants

SOLO Southeast at NOC has just wrapped up another Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, with participants from an array of professional backgrounds receiving WFR certification. Here, one student shares his experience:

"I really enjoyed the WFR Class and believe that it is the most practical emergency first aid class I have ever taken. I wanted to give you a short email to say why I attended the class. I looked for an advanced medical class that would address the issue of working in remote locations as a part of my police department's Dive Team mission. Several classes were available but didn’t seem to fit the category of “Beyond the Golden Hour” issue. I researched wilderness medical classes offered by a number of companies but I kept coming back to SOLO. I decided to look further into SOLO and see what categories would best suit a Public Safety Dive Team. I decided to enroll into the Wilderness First Responder Course. I have no regrets about choosing SOLO nor have I regretted the WFR Course. The hands-on portions of the class really put the students into the situation as well as the class portions. I was surprised and pleased at the number of scenarios the WFR Course has for the students. The class, without a doubt, prepares the student for emergencies in the backcountry. The class and instructor are top notch and I highly recommend anyone working in rural or backcountry locations to seriously consider the WFR Course. I believe this course is well suited for Park Rangers, Conservation Officers, Game Wardens, SWAT, Public Safety Dive Teams and Search & Rescue Teams."
—Detective Dana Rowsey
Crime Scene Unit
Police Dive Team
Charleston, WV

Here's a shot of Dana at NOC last week.

SOLO Southeast instructors strive to provide the highest level of training, whether for the intensive WFR course or the two-day Wildernes First Aid. Whenever possible, special guests are invited and hands-on scenarios are employed. Thanks to Dana for sharing his feedback on his SOLO Southeast experience.

Another SOLO Southeast Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course begins Saturday, March 27. More details can be found at