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.