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View Full Version : Death of a ski course... ever heard of a retractable course?


Lance
08-23-2004, 06:53 PM
The lake I ski on in Virginia (Lake Anna) is a man made lake that was flooded in 1972 and like many man made lakes (maybe all) it had a lot of coves that are almost ideal for slalom courses and in fact many of them had courses at one time or another. I spent a lot of time on the lake and some time in the courses when I was in the Navy in late 80's and early 90's then didn't spend much time on the lake for awhile. Now that I am starting a family and have successfully convinced my wife of the importance of a "family activity" in our lives we have started going to the lake a lot more (although I haven't seen a slalom course in a few years) and in fact recently purchased a piece of waterfront property with the intent of someday building a second home there. Of course the lake has "grown up" a lot in the last 10-15 years with much more of the waterfront developed. As I was tooling around the lake this past weekend I found that the last ski course had been removed from the lake (it happened sometime in the last two weeks) as the land on both sides of the cove had been developed and sold.

Of course it is a little sad that the course has disappeared but everyone new that this would eventually happen. And I can't say I am heart broken as I never used it too much when I was in my "prime" (which by the way wasn't that impressive) and haven't been through it in years. Nevertheless, now that we are spending more time on the lake I would like to still try my hand at the course now and again.

So the question is... has anyone heard of or seen a course that "retracts" when not in use? I am aware of temporary courses on the market but my brother used to ski on a lake in Minnesota where one of the property owners had a course that he could raise and lower with the push of a switch. I believe it used some type of ballast tanks that he would fill with compressed air from his boat house (presumably through some type of tubing laying on the lake bottom) when he wanted it up and then would depressurize the tanks to let them fill with water and once again sink to the bottom. Of course my brother has subsequently left MN so can't even get more details about the setup.

This seems like a pretty cool setup and believe that the area in front of our new property would make a decent (not ideal) setting for a course. I know as a minimum this setup would require a permit from the controlling authorities but believe it is probably the only hope for a semi-permanent course. Even the temporary courses will probably need a permit.

Anyway, I have plenty of things on my "Lake Anna Wish List" so this probably won't go anywhere fast but thought I would see what you guys could come up with.

As I mentioned in another thread that I started, the portion of Lake Anna that I am on is not private but it doesn't have any public access so it is not too crowded.

Thanks in advance.
Lance

ski_king
08-23-2004, 07:05 PM
I know of ACCU-SINK, but I have never seen one in operation.

http://airdock.com/AS-%20BANNERFRAME.htm

I also saw an article in WATERSKI Magaizne a few years ago where someone set op an underwater cable from his boat house to the course and raised and lowered it with the use of a garage door opener installed under his dock.

Lance
08-23-2004, 07:12 PM
Powerslot82 this is exactly what I was looking for. Not sure why google didn't get it for me. Thanks again. Lance

stevo137
08-23-2004, 07:14 PM
A guy on our lake has one. He keeps a small compressor on board and keeps the fill tube tied to a marker buoy.
It works great. He lives on the lake and has a few buddies that he ski's with very early and then they sink it. One time I ask him if he would mind if I use it when he leaves it out and he said it was ok. That only happened about 3 times in four years and twice it was too rough. He rarely leaves up when not in use :( I don't blame him, any other course would not last very long on this lake. I would love to have one of my own but I don't live on the lake, I use my brother in laws cottage.
I am happy to see that people are still keeping the sport alive!

soacj
08-23-2004, 11:39 PM
Lance,

Not to hijack your post, but just wanted to say hello to another "Hot lakes" person...I've had access on and off through the years, but a couple months ago my in-laws purchased a waterfront house on lake 2.

Lake certainly has grown up in the last 15 years and you're spot-on regarding the lack of courses.

Somewhat back on topic, I haven't run a course in 10 years and in fact haven't slalomed regularly for a while (bit by the wakeboarding bug...) Yesterday, I dusted the Connelly HP off (remember those, kids?) and had a go--I'd forgotten the rush!

Anyhow, maybe we'll see you around (white/black '91 ProStar 190.)

Jay

Lance
08-24-2004, 07:39 AM
Jay,

Do you know which development your in-laws purchased property in? My wife and I have a water-access lot in Overton Fork and recently bought waterfront in The Waters which I guess are technically both part of lake 2 as well. Glad to hear your in-laws found a house, we really wanted to get into a house but at any given time there are only about 5-10 waterfront houses on the warm side available and only once did we find the right mix of size, features, lot layout (slope, view, etc.) that fit our specific needs and of course we couldn't come to an acceptable middle ground with the existing owner.

If you see us on the lake it will most likely be on our pontoon boat (beige w/ blue bimini Bennington) as that works best for the kids and all. When we have enough friends down that we can get 3 adults in the ski boat and still leave enough adults behind to chase the kids (which hasn't been too often this summer) you will see us in our gray and blue 87 Prostar with either a slalom skiier or possibly a barefoot boom. I haven't been on the water too much in the past 10 years so have somewhat missed the whole wakeboard thing although it looks like a lot of fun. A wakeboard is also on "Lance's Lake Anna Wish List" but I know I won't come up with one this year.

I love to see those older mastercrafts on the water. I'll be watching for you.

Lance

soacj
08-24-2004, 11:42 AM
They are located in the Village at Lake Anna development.

Homes and lots there both seem to be in real demand--They originally had their doubts about finding something suitable this summer.

I'm sure the kids definitely pull you in all directions when it comes to the watersports. If we see you you're welcome to give the wakeboard a shot if you care to try your hand!

I'm constantly amazed at the current breakdown of boat types on the lake. Back in the late 80's/early 90's (using my parent's S. N#utique) we were lucky to see another tournament inboard on the lake at all. Nowadays, I/0's and o/b's almost seem to be the exception. Like you, I love to see the nice vintage inboards (nothing against the new ones.)

Jay

smiller
09-22-2009, 08:58 PM
I know this is a five year old post and don't know if you folks are still around on this message board. I have a place on the cold side and even a submersible course won't fly anymore. Game and fisheries made a neighbor take one out when they found it on their fish finder.

We setup an insta-slalom early in the morning on the weekends and have it out of the water by the time all the traffic shows up. That equates to 2 sets per person before chaos ensues.

I heard there is a course up there in the first cooling pond on the warm side. We have access through a friend over there and are going to give the warmside a go in the next month or so. Do you all know anything about that course or if it actually exists?

SteveM
09-23-2009, 09:23 AM
I know this is a five year old post and don't know if you folks are still around on this message board. I have a place on the cold side and even a submersible course won't fly anymore. Game and fisheries made a neighbor take one out when they found it on their fish finder.

Sorry to hear that. Were you given any reason why the submersible wasn't allowed?

We setup an insta-slalom early in the morning on the weekends and have it out of the water by the time all the traffic shows up. That equates to 2 sets per person before chaos ensues.

What time do you have to get out to beat the chaos? It's getting that way on the hot side as well. I'm sure not as bad, but if we want decent water on the weekends we have to get out earlier than we use to.


I heard there is a course up there in the first cooling pond on the warm side. We have access through a friend over there and are going to give the warmside a go in the next month or so. Do you all know anything about that course or if it actually exists?


As of last weekend there was no course in pond 1. There was one in the far cove (to the left as you're facing the reactor) before Memorial Day but they took it out before summer. I'm not sure who owns it. I've been actively skiing on the hot side since 1996 and it's changed a lot since then; guess that's to be expected with more development. There use to be no less than 3 courses installed on the hot side at any given time. I can remember at least 6 different locations they were installed. Two of the best were in the coves that the Waters development is now in. As far as I know you can't find one now.

smiller
09-23-2009, 09:58 PM
Game and Fisheries claimed a permit was needed for the course and it is a hazard. I am guessing a disgruntled neighbor must have complained about it which led them to find it and track down the owner.

With the portable we have to get out at the crack of dawn when the sun isn't quite up but there is enough sunlight to begin putting the course in. Shortly after sunrise we are good to go. We have found it isn't worth the effort without at least 3 people (1 to drive, 1 to reel out the mainline, 1 to setup the pvc pipe). The more the better.... we would like to get a bunch of ski boats out there but most people aren't crazy enough to get up that early on a weekend. My guess is if 4 or more boats got together a section of lake could in essence be commandeered for a longer period of time.

Typically we wrap it up when we are tired or the boats start passing by regularly and tossing wake which is usually 9:30am. A lot of effort, but the rest of the weekend is unskiable (not to mention unsafe at times) with the crowds.

dog paw
09-23-2009, 10:55 PM
Typically we wrap it up when we are tired or the boats start passing by regularly and tossing wake which is usually 9:30am. A lot of effort, but the rest of the weekend is unskiable (not to mention unsafe at times) with the crowds.

Yep thats about right. We try to get out before 9:00 in the boat or with our Sea Doo group. The last course I remember on the main lake was directly across from my fathers place up the north Anna in the cove before the sand bar. I think it left in the 90's

Shame what that lake has become, Capitan bonehead proving ground......You guys on the warm side catch a break with the limited access. No crampgrounds or State maggot parks...

SteveM
09-24-2009, 11:00 PM
Ironically, 0900 is about right on the warm side too. While I'm sure it's not even close to the volume you have on the cold side, it only takes one guy pulling a tube in circles or one hot dog on a PWC to ruin the skiing. It's only gotten that way in about the last 5 years or so. Before that we could go out anytime during the weekend and find good water.

woftam
09-24-2009, 11:53 PM
A shame. I had friends who skied a course throughout the winter on the warm side, back in the day.

I moved before it was accomplished, but was there at the beginning of the process, when the South River Ski Club, near Annapolis, sought a controlled ski area for the jump and slalom course near the headwaters of the South River. It took a long time, but you can now find reasonable water to ski on this otherwise crowded waterway. It's not perfect, it took a long time to accomplish, it took a lot of dedicated volunteers many hours to get done, but it's a reality and helped preserve a skiable course in the area that would have otherwise been lost.

Somewhat similar controlled area on the Severn near BriEOD, IIRC.

Looks like Lake Anna skiers missed the window of opportunity?

ccelia
09-25-2009, 10:06 AM
Its hard to fathom the fact that Lake Anna has become a popular spot for the weekend wallys. When I was growing up, we could ski all day until your arms felt like they were going to fall off. I finally made my first trip up to the lake this summer now that I finally got a Prostar of my own, and was surprised at how crowded the lake was and all the incompetent boat owners that are out on that lake. It was almost scary to be around some of them.

It is extremely difficult to find smooth water in the Northern Virginia area, and we used to rely on Lake Anna, but it seems that is almost no longer an option. It sucks to see such a great lake become overrun with incompentent people.

We are going down in two weeks so hopefully the colder weather coming will drive some people off the lake for some good skiing.