The Widowmaker is a white water play area on the lower Kananaskis River,(“Kan”). Throughout the summer, the area attracts , paddlers, rafters, playboaters, slalom boaters, and river surfers. It tends to be a busy river because of its proximity to the Calgary, Canmore and Banff. This part of the river has fast water and is not recommended for the novice, but a great place to visit if you like action.
The first rapid on the Kananaskis is the Widow Maker, which is a class III pool drop that is notoriously tippy. It is easy to put in below the Widow Maker if the fun seeker is looking to avoid the feature. The first play play station is a small hole on river left called Hollywood.
The river then winds down with man-made eddies on either side of the river to the second feature called point-break, which is considered the river’s best hole for playboating.
Downstream is the river’s largest wave, called Santa Claus, with an aggressive hole 30 yards below it.
The section finishes off with Canoe Meadows Campground on the right hand shore, with a large “V” wave popular with river surfers, a second wave called the Green Tongue, and a very developed slalom course.
Nearly every rapid on this stretch of river was either created or manipulated by man-made boulder placements.
The river is dam-controlled with releases all year, once the ice bergs are washed down stream it can even be paddled in the winter.
The water is mountain cold, and can be a little intimidating to a paddler, as he feels that steady push of the current threatening to sweep him downstream.
“The Daily Planet” TV Show visits the Kananaskis River and the Widowmaker.