Once thought to be a somewhat out-of-the-way spot for winter ski trips and summer getaways from the scorching heat, Deep Creek Lake and the adjacent Wisp Resort could become "the No. 1 — bar none — adventure sports destination spot in the world" if Todd Copley has anything to do with it.
Toward that goal, Copley's Deep Creek 2014 LLC will be helping run next weekend's USA Canoe Kayak Slalom Team Trials there, as well as the sport's world championships in 2014, marking the first time the championships will be held in Maryland since Garrett County hosted on the Savage River in 1989.
There are other adventure sports competitions scheduled for the area throughout the coming year.
The USA Canoe Kayak Team Trials will be held Friday through Sunday, with a still to be determined number of finishers qualifying for spots on the 2013 World Cup team for the men's Canoe 1 and 2, men's Kayak 1 and 2 and the women's Canoe 1 and 2. (The number designates how many competitors are in the canoe or kayak.)
Copley said eight of the 53 competitors expected were on last year's U.S. Olympic team, plus Fabian Lefevre, a silver medalist for France last summer in London in Kayak 1 who has dual citizenship.
Next weekend's event will be intimate compared to the 1,500 competitors from more than 40 countries coming in September of 2014.
These two events will be the signature competitons being brought to the man-made canoe and kayak course at Deep Creek, which opened in 2007 and Copley said is the "solely recirculating mountaintop whitewater course" in the the country.
"It's an amazing facility," Copley said.
Along with the Canoe and Kayak competitions, Copley's company will be holding an open house and a few events geared to families and children throughtout the weekend as part of a lead up to the world championship, which he said will be the biggest "inbound sporting event in the U.S. next year."
To help prepare for the world championship, the first phase of a $2.3 million capital improvement plan was recently completed, with the addition of bridges above the course and other renovations and additions to the facility.
While the "No. 1 goal is to produce the world championship", Copley said part of the future he envisions for Deep Creek Lake and the Wisp Resort is to attract adventure-sports enthusiasts from around the world.
Among the other upcoming events will be a U.S. Pro Cycling Mountain Bike Challenge, a national stand-up paddling championship and a 120-mile footrace.