News watersports archive

THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015

The Grande Ronde River in extreme northeast Oregon is a great place to escape modern civilization for a few days.

Wild and Scenic Grande Ronde a respite

The Grande Ronde River slices through the landscape of northeastern Oregon. Its headwaters lie in the Blue Mountains, southwest of La Grande, Oregon, and it flows northeast until joining the Snake River upstream of Lewiston. At 182 miles long, the Grande Ronde is speckled with put-in and take-out spots that afford a wealth of paddling opportunities. Boaters looking for a multi-day, wilderness trip usually opt for the Minam-to-Powwatka Bridge section. (Note: The first 10 miles of this section are on the Wallowa River, until its confluence with the Grande Ronde.)

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THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015

SUNDAY, APRIL 26, 2015

Low runoff boon to spring recreation on reservoirs

Forecasts for below-normal spring runoff are prompting an early start to the boating and camping season behind the region’s big dams. Reservoir drawdowns are less severe this year because hydro-power managers don’t need to make room for huge amounts of snowmelt pouring out of the mountains.

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Water spills over the Nine Mile Dam operated by Avista. (File)

Nine Mile Reservoir drawdown set for May

Changes underway at Nine Mile Dam are creating better access for paddlers and a temporary reason for caution to boaters and anglers. The water level of Nine Mile Reservoir will be lowered about 6 feet starting in May to accommodate work on a barge landing at the dam.

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SUNDAY, NOV. 23, 2014

SUNDAY, SEPT. 21, 2014

THURSDAY, SEPT. 11, 2014

THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014

THURSDAY, AUG. 21, 2014

Brad Harrison of Spokane knows what it takes to safely pull off some cliff diving acrobatics on Tubbs Hill. He easily clears the 12 feet of protruding rocks. (Jesse Tinsley)

Flight of passage: popular pastime at CdA’s Tubbs Hill entices thrill seekers

Brad Harrison anxiously stares downward some 25 feet to the shallow lake water below, catching his breath and gathering the courage and focus necessary to make his next jump a success. And even though he’s made this leap of faith many, many times, he never rushes it. He knows that one slip, one brief lapse in concentration, will lead to disaster – or worse yet, death.

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Tubbs Hill main trail getting an upgrade this fall

Tony A. Tubbs, an immigrant from Germany, came to North Idaho in 1882 and filed a claim that included a large portion of what is now Tubbs Hill. The hill consists of 135 acres of publicly owned land. Tubbs Hill was obtained through four separate purchases that spanned a period of over 40 years. The first 33 acres were purchased in 1936 for $19,000. It was not until 1969 that the second purchase was made for 34 additional acres. At that time, Tubbs Hill was dedicated to the people forever. In 1974, 34 more acres were purchased and yet another 34 acres were added in 1977.

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THURSDAY, AUG. 14, 2014

Slalom skiing requires precise balance, because if a competitor misses a buoy or crashes, he or she is eliminated from the event. (Jesse Tinsley)

Kienbaum family of Liberty Lake knows how to carve up the glassy water

Genevieve Kienbaum, 10, glided through the slalom course with an easy grace that would make most grownups envious. She’s the youngest of Liberty Lake’s waterskiing Kienbaums, a family that competes on a national level. The kids were getting in some practice shortly after returning from the 2014 U.S. Western Regional Waterski Championships July 24-26 in Winsor, Colorado. Nearly every Kienbaum brought back hardware from the tournament except for the patriarch. Paul, 52, wore a walking boot after tearing ankle ligaments in a crash at an event in Seattle earlier this summer. He oversees a stable of athletes including his wife Juli, 50, and five of their six children (the oldest is busy with motherhood and nursing school). Together they travel the country, pursuing the art of whipping around buoys at highway speeds clutching the end of a rope.

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Wakeboarding pro Ricky Krieger is frequently asked for design input for boats and boards from sponsors such as Ski Nautique and Hyperlite. (Dan Pelle)

Over the top: Fierce acrobatics of wakeboarding 

The boat has a price tag bigger than most houses. It’s handmade, computerized and powered by a 550-horse Corvette engine that launches the 25-foot hull, loaded with 3,000 pounds of ballast, from a dead stop to the ideal, preprogrammed speed in just a few seconds. That’s one of the perks enjoyed by Ricky Krieger, a professional wakeboarder who honed his flying feats of derring-do growing up on the shores of Long Lake. Going for a ride with Krieger is like having a front-row seat at an outrageous aerial circus. The boat leaves an exaggerated wake that forms a huge kicker, sending him high in the air. Krieger defies gravity with eye-popping spins, twists, corks and inverted grabs. Somehow, the tricks end with a flawless landing and a megawatt smile on his face.

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SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014

Out & About: Fairchild helicopters fly like angels to the rescue

OUTRESPOND – The benefits of living near an Air Force base with skilled helicopter rescue pilots and medics have paid off for Inland Northwest travelers and recreationists many times in all four seasons. Most recently, the airmen from the 36th Rescue Flight, answered two calls in a one-weekend blitz to help a hiker as well as a Spokane Valley rafter.

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Glacier high road to open

Postponed by a late storm and flooding, the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is expected to be open to vehicle travel by this weekend, allowing access to Logan Pass. While most snow removal efforts are being completed and snow above the road is being monitored and removed, road crews continue to sweep debris from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, install removable guard rails and road signage, and prepare the Logan Pass Visitor Center area for opening. 

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Outdoors briefs: Two grizzly bears released in Cabinets

Two female grizzly bears have been transplanted from the Whitefish Range to the Spar Lake area of the Cabinet Mountains as part of an ongoing effort to boost the struggling Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear population. The 2-year-old siblings were captured in the Deadhorse Creek drainage on the Flathead National Forest, fitted with GPS collars and moved Friday to the West Cabinets and a drainage with a hiking trail to Spar Lake near the Montana-Idaho border.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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