Rowing at Altitude: Frisco Rowing Center in Summit County, Colorado

lake dillon rowing

Lake Dillon offers a pristine setting for members of the Frisco Rowing Center in Summit County, Colorado.

I haven’t been this excited in a long time. Well, let’s qualify that. I haven’t been this excited about a sport in a long time. Sport in question? Rowing.

As a fat-kid-turned-individual-sports-enthusiast, I entered the world of team sports my sophomore year in college. Assuming later that I was targeted for my large stature, I remember getting sidelined on my way to class by someone standing next to a boat. All I really recall after that is some 60 girls, including myself, showing up for the first day of crew “tryouts;” when those two weeks were over, there were nine of us still willing to return for regular practices. And so our novice eight, complete with alternate, was born.

Despite the four-something a.m. — and sometimes snowy — bicycle rides to the boathouse; seeing, during practice, the occasional prostitute wrapping up her last job of the evening; and missing out on the schedule of fun set in my freshman year of school; something about being on the water at sunrise made Philly just perfect. I said if I ever found myself old and rich and living on the east coast, I’d get back into rowing. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for something that will never be. At least not the rich part or the east coast part.

Frisco Rowing Center

Operating out of the Frisco Marina in Summit County, Colorado, the Frisco Rowing Center is nonprofit organization that offers lessons, boat use/storage and much more. Their mission includes educating and providing the opportunity for people to experience the sport of rowing.

While it seems there have been private boaters involved with rowing on Lake Dillon for quite some time, the 2009 organization of what’s now the Frisco Rowing Center has truly opened doors for anyone interested in rowing.

Frisco Rowing Center Membership and Lessons

Much like Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area offer lesson programs that create loyal skiers and riders – both ski areas offer free season passes for first-timers who take repeat lessons – the Frisco Rowing Center allows first-timers taking/paying for the four-lesson series to pay the $5 difference to upgrade to full membership.

Membership allows for use of club boats and facilities, participation in club events/regattas and coaching on specified days. The best part? Membership costs just $250, or $255 if you opt to take four lessons and then join as a member.

It’s cheaper than buying a bicycle, it’s about the same as a monthly gym membership (who needs a summer gym membership in Summit County?) and I’m guessing it’s the cheapest rowing opportunity you’ll ever encounter. Even better for me, I don’t need to add any more gear to our already-overcrowded condo.

On the Water at the Frisco Rowing Center

During the recent open house at the Frisco Rowing Center, I got to sit in a rowing shell for the first time in some 10 years. While I struggled getting off the dock, and didn’t go but 150 meters from shore, I did get in a few solid (to me, at least) strokes. And now I can’t wait to get lessons and two oars under my belt.

There’s just something about being on the water that I can’t quite explain. I think it’s the same thing that’s recently made me long for my former raft guide life. Except now, I’ll soon be on the water regularly and I won’t be living out my truck.

And a word about supporting your community rowing center …

It’s cheap to sponsor the Lake Dillon Challenge, the regatta produced by the Frisco Rowing Center. Just $25-$100 makes a difference. Scroll to the bottom of this link and learn more about sponsoring the Lake Dillon Challenge

Frisco Rowing Center