In the dead of winter, when most of the water is frozen in the Midwest, what is a skier to do? Featured above is a shot of what my lake tends to look like in the winter; what a drag.
Last weekend, to get my fill of water-related activities, I headed to the Chicago Boat, RV, and Strictly Sail show at McCormick Place (and somehow got away with free parking!). For those of you that don’t know me, I love the boat show. However, this year, I was slightly disappointed. I counted two ski boats at the entire show: a MasterCraft Pro Star and the Malibu Response TXI.
I remember seeing several ski boats when I went as a kid! Being a Nautique girl, I was surprised to see that Nautique only had their wakeboard boats at the show. Now, I understand that the Chicago show is likely geared towards larger boats that can handle our largest body of water: Lake Michigan, but what about the rest of us? There are lots of lakes within driving distance of Chicago, and some are tiny 3-event lakes. I know there are plenty in the area – the photo of my lake is proof!
I overheard two things at the show that particularly caught my attention:
- “Malibu…I’ve never even heard of that boat.”
- Walking past the HO Sports equipment – “I’ve never been a fan of water sports.” (P.S. – I think you’re at the wrong show)
This all got me thinking about collegiate skiers. How do collegiate skiers stay involved with the sport after college? I personally haven’t competed in a tournament since my senior year of college. I would love to, but I don’t have the opportunity to practice as much as I would like. My lake is a 1.5 – 3 hour drive from where I live (thanks Chicago traffic!), but I digress. I am lucky, because I can ski most weekends in the summer, and on a lake with both a slalom course and a ramp. Let’s face it, 3-event skiing is an expensive sport with several barriers to access, including boats, equipment, and vicinity to a ski-able body of water.
Ideas to “just keep skiing”
- Join a ski club. Check out USA Water Ski for affiliated club listings. This eliminates the cost of owning a boat, and you can choose a club near where you live
- Hang out with family. Does your family ski? Time to start spending some quality time with them.
- Sign up for the Alumni Regional tournaments. They are like collegiate tournaments, but for old balls!
- Sign up for summer tournaments. Potentially meet new ski buddies and bring old ski buddies with you!
- Mooch off of your friends with boats. Bring a can of gas or a case of beer, most people will give you a pull.
Call to Action
Skiers and alumni: Have you continued skiing after graduation? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experience!
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