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View Full Version : Lake Martin, Alabama - Slalom Courses


markismm
11-01-2009, 10:43 PM
My brother and I live in Columbus, Georgia and have grown up skiing on Lake Harding (part of the Chattahoochee River for those who aren't from around here). Lake Harding had a slalom course at one time, however, buoys were cut over time and no one ever kept it up. You know, the usual story of public lake ski courses. However, over the past 4-5 years we have been visiting Lake Martin in Alabama (part of the Tallapoosa River for those not from around the area). Lake Martin is about 10-15 miles from Auburn, Alabama. It is a huge lake. Actually it was the largest man made lake in the world when it was first dammed back in the 1920's. To this day, it is one of the cleanest man made lakes in the U.S. and absolutely beautiful.

In any event, we started skiing the lake and have now found three slalom course on the lake through talking with folks and simply exploring. It is such a big lake that unless you know someone who has been around it for awhile, it is tough to find a good ski course. For those of you who plan on going to Lake Martin and want to run a slalom course take a look at the map and photos below.

Slalom Course #1 is on the southwest end of the lake just northwest of Kowaliga's restaurant and marina. It is by far the best of the course we have skiied on the lake. Very protected from the main channel and wind. Also, it has a killer beach area on which to drop off the wives, dogs, and any other folks who might be spectating. If you obtain an official Lake Marting map, it shows an old road named Ski Club Road running down to the cove with the slalom course in it. I have been told that up until the mid eighties, competitions were held in this cove and there used to be a jump as well. Now all that remains is the remnants of a couple of old docks (which still work for allowing the wives and other ladies to lay out and catch some sun).

Slalom Course #2 lies on the far east end of Sandy Creek which is about half way up the main channel. It actually lies right across from a public boat lauch of which I forget the name. I will supplement this thread with the name when I get a chance. If you are on the lake, you can sometimes see a fire watch tower off in the distance on top of a hill. It is in Sandy Creek and is a good point of reference when driving in the area. The fire tower is also labeled on the official map of Lake Martin. This, in my opinion is the second best course we have skiied on the lake. It is open to a larger body of water and more wind than course #1. However, it is well put together and very near a public boat launch.

Slalom Course #3 lies just west of Bay Piunes Marina in the second of two coves as you are traveling north off to the west bank across from Bay Pines. Anyhow, it is the worst of the three courses by virtue of the fact that it is not maintained as well and is very open to rollers from the main channel as compared to the other two. If you are on the north end of the lake, however, this is the closest course of which I am aware. Many of the buoys have been replaced by milk jugs and so forth. I do not suggest this course if you have the time to go to one of the other two. I have included photos of the three courses below.

If someone is aware of other courses, please let me know. I have been told that there are at least 6 course on the lake, but have not seen the others if they exist. Most people are down on public courses, but course #1 and #2 (especially #1) are both excellent and I believe are almost as good as any private lake course.

Anyone who runs these course should be sure to say hey to us if we are out there, and should be sure to fix anything on the course that you break. Look for us in our 1984 Mastercraft Stars and Stripes - you'll probably see my brother hanging an ear in the water behind it as he tears up the course. Enjoy the water everyone.

MAP---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/MartinMapandCourses.gif

Course #1---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09017.jpg

Course #2---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09030.jpg

Course #3---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09023.jpg

markismm
11-01-2009, 10:44 PM
My brother laying it down---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09046.jpg

markismm
11-01-2009, 11:20 PM
84 S&S at the beach between sets---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09344.jpg

Mastercraft doing what it was built to do---
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u280/mandymaholick/skiinglakemartin09100-1.jpg

shepherd
11-01-2009, 11:26 PM
A little bit of a drive from me, but great thread anyways. Thanks!

jipster43
11-02-2009, 12:18 AM
Are there a lot of snakes out there? Water Moccasins freak me out.

JP :)

justinglow
11-02-2009, 01:07 AM
Great thread and a great looking Stars and Stripes you have there!

CantRepeat
11-02-2009, 07:31 AM
Boat looks great as always and thanks for the map.

We went to Martin only once last summer and it was a blast.

markismm
11-02-2009, 10:27 AM
Didn't see any snakes out there. Sure there are some, but they decided to stay way away from us. Probably the loud music and other noise we were making. Anyway, look forward to seeing folks out on the lake this upcoming season. Please let me know if anyone else is aware of other courses on the lake other than the ones I have pointed out.

causewayskiier
11-02-2009, 03:34 PM
Does anyone know if there are boat rentals(of any sort) on Lake Martin? Do they stay open in the off season, such as Thanksgiving week?

fatthmjr
11-02-2009, 09:38 PM
Markismm, I live on harding and am looking for someone to help set up a course. I have two areas in mind...the first would be at the back of Halawaka under the second bridge and the second spot would be in Osinnippa...though I don't know if the second would be large enough. I have one other person willing to help set one up, he and I just haven't dove into the project. Let me know if you'd like to help and I am sure we could get something going. But yes you are correct, there are not any courses set up here on harding.

georgea0731
11-02-2009, 10:12 PM
Its nice to see someone is maintaining the Ski club course again. I maintain #2 across from Smith's Landing Ramp. Mr. Schouten owns #3. His grand daughter skies for Auburn. He's 80 and still competes. So does his lovely wife. They are excellent people.
There is a course east of Pleasure Point in a large inlet, turn north/left. At the end of the summer, it only had one or 2 buoys on it. No one seems to keep it up. It belonged to a guy named Robert, who skied with Mr. Schouten for years. There was a church camp that use to have one, but has since taken it out. I think it was just north of Pleasure Point Marina on the west side. It seems as if the camp does mostly wakeboarding now.
I just ordered some more magnetics, and have buoys on my Christmas list. So #2 should be up and running again next year. We'll look for you.. We have the 03 S&S with the Old English Sheepdog. We usually swim by the course throughout the day.

markismm
11-03-2009, 09:57 PM
fatthmgr - I would love to get together with some folks and get a course set up. Where you are talking about setting one up at the back a Halawaka creek is where the only course I have ever known on Harding used to be set up about 5 years ago. Several guys I
know tried to help set it up/maintain it. However, in a matter of about 1 year jet skis and other folks had ruined the course. The only problem with the area at the back of Halawaka creek that you are talking about is that it is only about 7 feet deep. This is good for wake disapation (sp), but can present problems if the water is let down in the slightest. I do think that this is the best spot on the lake for a course though. Let me know if you and some folks plan on getting together to try to set something up.

georgea0731 - We will certainly look for you and your sheep dog. I think your course (#2) is the best I have seen as far as how well the course itself is set up, but I still think Course #1 over by the old Ski Club road is still the best as far as location goes because the water is always as calm as the weather allows for. The only thing making wakes back there is typically boats skiing the course. I was speaking with a guy who used to ski Course #1 about 15 years ago and he said that there used to be buoys and a sign or something indicating that all boats needed to slow down when entering the area to keep the wake down for the folks skiing back there. Wish they still had the signage.

It blows my mind how many folks do not have any respect or consideration for those of us trying to ski a course. Also some people think that their large platform boats are made to run a course. While we were taking a break in between sets earlier this year, a 24-25 foot platform boat whose bow pushed the guide buoys out of the way came through with a skiier trying to run the course. Of course the skier fell and the platform boat back over several buoys, fortunately not cutting any of them. Sure all of us are going to cut a buoy from time to time, but you should have better sense than to try to run a course in a boat not meant to pull a skiier. Or what is even worse is the jetskiier who thinks the course is to test out his jet skis maneuverability by running figure eights around the buoys.

Just needed to vent a little. Maybe I am just overeacting a bit, but being raised on the water, you are taught the old school way of thinking regaridng respecting other folks property and being considerate of others. Sorry for the rant.

Jesus_Freak
11-04-2009, 07:04 AM
...It blows my mind how many folks do not have any respect or consideration for those of us trying to ski a course. Also some people think that their large platform boats are made to run a course. While we were taking a break in between sets earlier this year, a 24-25 foot platform boat whose bow pushed the guide buoys out of the way came through with a skiier trying to run the course. Of course the skier fell and the platform boat back over several buoys, fortunately not cutting any of them. Sure all of us are going to cut a buoy from time to time, but you should have better sense than to try to run a course in a boat not meant to pull a skiier. Or what is even worse is the jetskiier who thinks the course is to test out his jet skis maneuverability by running figure eights around the buoys.

Just needed to vent a little. Maybe I am just overeacting a bit, but being raised on the water, you are taught the old school way of thinking regaridng respecting other folks property and being considerate of others. Sorry for the rant.

Your rant is appreciated. This forum has seen its fair share of public lake course maintenance rants. Mentally prepare yourself for the long haul. It will really never get any better.:D There are those that dont understand the issues that course skiers face (drivers slowing down when they are near the course, producing rollers) and those that simply don't care (backing over buoys, driving over boat guides, etc.). All you can do is smile and wave. If you make enemies, two things can happen: 1) course permit gets revoked and 2) buoys/hardware get cut when you aren't around. There is no real easy way to do this.

98Prostar205
04-23-2013, 10:51 AM
I see this thread is several years old. Can anyone confirm that these ski courses are still in existence at these locations? I am heading down to lake martin next weekend and I'm looking forward to visiting at least one of these three courses......if they still exist.

47Driver
04-25-2013, 09:55 AM
They are still there.

CC2MC
04-25-2013, 10:08 AM
There is usually an event with some slalom pros teaching those that would like to learn, I believe put on by Russell Marine. They had a Pontoon boat on the entrance with a large sign saying IDLE SPEED ONLY! The Ski Club location is called Porter's Branch. I checked it out last year and was impressed at a few kids that I saw skiing the course. Below is the link to the event from last year. I also found the link for the dates for this year as well. It looks like they will have a couple of wakeboard and surf clinics for those interested.

Mark, they are still there for sure. It should be nice too as the water level is near full pool.

http://www.russellmarine.net/Page.aspx/pageId/107491/Lake-Martin-Slalom-Championships.aspx

http://www.russelllandsonlakemartin.com/events/

CantRepeat
04-25-2013, 03:31 PM
Well if the the weather would get in gear before say June, we'll be up there!!

CC2MC
04-26-2013, 12:35 AM
Well if the the weather would get in gear before say June, we'll be up there!!

I am with you there. Let me know if and when you come. I always like meeting new people.

georgea0731
04-28-2013, 09:58 PM
Bob Schouten, the Clinic organizer, and Doug, North Bridge Marine Manager for Russell are putting it together. They had an in water boat show this past weekend and the local teen expert, Payton, was there too. Bob was taking about re-rising the old slalom course across from Pleasure Point, I believe its in a small west opening and then slightly south. I haven't seen it in a couple of years. I assume it's on the bottom.
Don has a course up past Wind Creek state park too.
I have not been over to see #2 this year since my boat hasn't started yet. Long story, but I'll check it out May 4th and should have it up and running for all. I broke 3 ribs last July hope to be ready.

markismm
04-29-2013, 06:12 PM
Yep...pond is at full pool and am looking forward to getting out on the courses. That will be happening in two weeks. Any word on this years slalom clinic/tournament. I love the event and will be skiing in it every year they have it (or should I say coming in last place in it every year). Still enjoy it and each session with the pros give me more insight into my terrible mechanics.

georgea0731
04-29-2013, 09:49 PM
Slalom Clinic and Water Ski Tournament
Friday June 21 - Clinic
Saturday June 22 - Tournament
at Kowaliga Marina
clinic by U.S. Team Coach Alabama State Record Holder: Bob Schouten
State Champion and Nationally Ranked Competitors: Payton Phillips, Jay Estes and Joseph Schouten
Roxanne Kelly at roxlake@gmail.com

There's 2 junior ski clinics planned, but I can't find the dates.

markismm
04-30-2013, 02:15 PM
Thanks George. Hope to see you out on the water this year. Talk to you soon.