Truckee’s Julie Munger leads US women at World Rafting Championships |

Truckee’s Julie Munger leads US women at World Rafting Championships

The US Women’s Masters team trains before competing in the world championships in Argentina.
Courtesy photo

Truckee local and rafting legend Julie Munger is in Argentina this weekend, leading the US Women’s Masters team at the International Rafting Federation World Rafting Championship.

Munger, 56, and fellow Californians Sue Norman (61), Beth Rypins (56) and Juliet Starrett (45) were part of the US Women’s world championship whitewater rafting teams that dominated the sport between 1985 and 2000, and have reunited to compete in this year’s masters division against teams from Norway, Slovakia and The Netherlands.

“I believe our team’s strength lies is the fact that we have known each other for 30 years, are still best friends, and have all maintained active lifestyles and connection to the river,” said team captain Munger in a statement. “I love being an auntie to my teammates kids, and now sharing the experience of being on the river with them too. The intensity of our experiences together on the river has created our strong bonds, and to reunite and paddle for the USA again is an incredible opportunity.”

Munger is a member of the International Whitewater Hall of Fame, has led the US women for nearly two decades, and has taken part in several first descents around the globe. She was team captain for the US squad that won the world championship every year from 1989-2001.

Local Abigail Polsby is also traveling as the team’s alternate paddler, and owns Sierra Rescue International alongside Munger. Sierra Rescue provides swiftwater rescue, wilderness first aid, and technical rescue instruction worldwide.

The group has now put in two rounds of competition on the challenging whitewater of the Alumine River in Argentina, taking second in both the sprint and head-to-head races. Norway’s team won both races to lead the overall standings against the US, 300-264.

After a day of slalom training, the teams will head to the Ruca Choroy River for tomorrow’s slalom race. The world championships conclude on Saturday, Nov. 10 with the down river race.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at

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