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Pickleball Hits The Roaring Fork Valley

Sep 10, 2019

Pickleballers playing on a Saturday morning at the Darien Courts in Carbondale
Credit Ryer Gardenswartz / Aspen Public Radio

A game that combines badminton, ping pong, and tennis has put racquet sports in quite a pickle.


That’s pickleball, one of the fastest growing sports in the country.

It’s played on a miniature tennis court with oversized ping pong paddles and something kind of like a whiffle ball, and it's making an impact on the Roaring Fork Valley.

The president of the Roaring Fork Pickleball Association, or RFPA, Cilla Dickinson, first started playing in Key Largo, Florida, where she typically spends winters. She immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and people.

“It’s very social," said Dickinson. "You know, if you’re not laughing when you’re playing it, then you shouldn’t be playing.”  

She came back to the Roaring Fork Valley and introduced the game to her friends so she would have people to play with. 

Pickleball has become wildly popular in retirement communities because it allows people to stay active without putting much stress on their body. There has also been a recent push to get younger players involved. 

“I think growing it for the younger population is going to be up and coming for the Roaring Fork valley and in the country… it’s not just for old people anymore," said Dickinson.


The City of Carbondale approved a new pickleball venue this spring. The RFPA recently broke ground on the new courts and hopes to have them ready next spring. Through community support and fundraising, they are well on their way. The RFPA's ultimate goal with these new courts is to make Carbondale a pickleball mecca, with tournaments and more opportunities to play. 

The RFPA has morning drop-in sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday starting at 8 a.m., and on Wednesdays, they start at 5 p.m. These sessions are always at the Darien Courts in Carbondale and last until people are pickle-balled out. 

Credit Ryer Gardenswartz / Aspen Public Radio

You can learn more about the RFPA on their website