Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Brierlies Rapids, AB - Canada

Dirty water helps clean blunt practice - Scott Feindel messin' at the Brierlies.

The North Saskatchewan river is well known to Alberta paddlers as a quality foothill canoe trip that gently flows from the Rocky Mountains and eventually changes into a large flat expanse running through places like Edmonton. Fortunatley for the playboating crowd, the river does hold a quality hidden surprise. The Brierlies, located near the town of Rocky Mountain House is as series of small waves that culminates into a uniform sandstone ledge notorious for flipping many-a canoe, tossing the drunken summer-tubers, tweaking a few shoulders and of course shaping the skills of many new paddlers. I first began coming to the Brierlies in the Autumn of 1996 where I experienced my first windowshade and left with a new determination to improve the freestyle skills of my Dagger Crossfire. It was not long after when I met the likes of Brock Wilson, Darrell Weibe, Jordie MacKenzie and others who were beginning to huck ends with a fury in their X-boats. Since those days, cartwheels have taken a backseat to new freestyle beginnings and the waves of the Kananaskis have become a closer training ground for Calgary keeners, myself included. Credit is due however for those who still jump in their car to make the 2.5 hour trek from either Edmonton or Calgary for the prairie park and play.

Nowadays you'll find that the Brierlies is as good as ever thanks to some changes from the June floods and a full Lake Abraham resevoir which keeps the flows going at a steady rate. After a quality creeking mission with Trip Jennings and crew, Scott Feindel and I headed to Brierlies for some good ol' schoolin only to find that abnormally high September flows where still creating a slick blunt shoulder off the main shore.

Scott would've nailed the Tricky-Whu if he wasn't thinking about eating chicken pot-pie.

As a bonus these days, there is a wave just upstream of the hole that piles up quite large and has a good eddy along the island. Flows - The Brierlies is in at all water levels for playing, however here are some details:
100-160cms (low ledge hole but good upper wave)
160-250cms (good flow for both features)
High=250cms (Brierlies gets wave-like on the shoulder and trashy)
Very High=350+cms (Brierlies is a sweet wave)