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Canadian Invasion: Orlando (with some serious name-dropping).

SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
edited April 2015 in News & Other Stuff
Our gang just got back from a week in Orlando and I wanted to share the experience. We’ve been doing an Orlando spring trip for a few years now and it just keep getting better. We were a group of 8 Canadians (two of whom are actually Americans) that ski at various levels from just perfecting the course to getting into 38 off.

A few months back we contacted Katie at Mapple skis and asked if us Canadians could use the lake. We wanted to come and go as we please and drive ourselves (we have accredited drivers in our group). Katie said no problem; we could have the lake as much as we wanted except for the first weekend as there was a tournament being held there. We made arrangements to ski at Lapoint’s Ski Park for those days, which is a stone’s throw away from the Mapple Lake.

Lapoint’s Ski Park is a great site. We arrived, to see Jennifer Leachman Lapoint, Taylor Woosley, and Kris Lapoint ski. This is also the Research and Development department for Mapple skis so it’s the test track of what’s coming next. Kris’s ski is known as “the Frankenski”. No picture taking allowed. We saw Kris run 39 a couple times on this ski. Rumor has it he hasn’t missed a 39 on it yet. Not bad for a 62 year old!

The lake has an 8-ball course due to a short setup, which was easy to adapt to for even the most novice skiers. Kris has a Ski Centurion. It was the first time I had ever even seen one and it was a great boat to ski behind; I can see why Horton has one. The environment is very relaxed and easy going. While we were there, Krista Rogers and pro jumper/fiancée Bojan Shipner came by and Krista grabbed a set with Taylor. We also had a chance to hang out with pro skier Corey Vaughan and see him ski. Pro-photographer Spencer Shultz skied and took pictures of everybody. The whole experience was first rate and the Lapoint’s joined us for dinner. You can learn a lot hanging out with these folks. I can’t wait to ski with them again.

On day 3 – the “sore as hell day” we showed up at Mapple’s. Nobody was going to score a personal best, but it was a great opportunity to work on fundamentals. The site is quite large, has a full course, a jump, and two back-to-back 2-ball courses. This is a great way to practice your gates and two turns when your sore Northern bodies aren’t going to accomplish much else. The location is central and Performance ski and surf is right down the street, which is an awesome place for buying and demoing gear.

We skied there everyday for the rest of the week (and snuck another set in at Lapoint’s as well). At Mapple’s we were joined by Andy Mapple, Krista Rogers, Bojan Shipner, Rhoni Barton, Nicole Arthur, Jason Mc Clintock, Whitney Mc Clintock, Chris Parrish, Taylor Garcia, Jon Travers, Natalie Berdnikava, Marion Mathieu, Scot Ellis, and Tom Brantley as well as many other great skiers whose names I can’t remember. Renowned ski coach Jeff Wiswall also hopped in the boat for a day.

Part of what was happening here was that one of the boats that will be used in the Masters was on-site and these folks were coming by to test it. At a certain point, Andy asked me if we wouldn’t mind switching boats and using the “Masters” boat to put some use on it. Are you kidding me??? We spent the next two days driving and skiing behind the best boat I’ve ever been in or behind. Maybe it’s psychological but this Nautique 200 drove like butter and I got my best score of the week behind it!

I need to back up for a moment now. Right before I skied that set behind the Masters boat, Andy had Mike Mapple bring me a ski to try, the Mapple T2. My current ski was a Mapple 6.0 and given how sore I still was from being out of shape all winter, I had only managed a few balls at 35 off so far during the week. Right out of the box with stock settings, I managed 1.5 @ 38 on the first set. When I sunk at the end of the lake I struggled with how I was going to explain this to my wife…

The Mapple T2 feels very similar to the 6.0. Where it differs is that it’s lighter under my feet due to the increased width under the bindings. This 67.5 is longer than the 66.75 length of my 6.0 so the ski requires less effort than I am used to. When I was talking to Kris Lapoint earlier, he said you should ski on the biggest ski that you can still effectively turn. This is the true magic of the T2. Aside from being easier to ride, it turns noticeably better than the 6.0. I was able to recover from mistakes on this ski quite easily. I also had the opportunity to ride in the boat when pro skier Tom Brantley skied on his. Tom is a powerhouse skier who won’t let go of anything (kind of like Jeff Rodgers). The turns I saw Tom make on that ski were epic. I can’t wait to ski in the regular season to see if I can do a fraction of what I saw him do.

Back to the experience, I can’t think of another sport where you can go somewhere and meet and participate with the elite of the sport. Hanging out on the dock at Mapple’s was an opportunity to mingle with waterski royalty. Every pro is easy to talk to; they share great stories and freely offer advice to us weekend warriors. Beyond that, I saw Andy giving some advice to Jason McClintock, sharing his incredible experience with a rider from a competing company. We also had the opportunity to watch Chris Parrish rip it up as a storm was coming in, headwind or tailwind nothing seemed to affect this guy. Every day something cool happened there. Every single person in our group learned something.

One of our crew is a long time follower of water skiing and by the end of the week, his ski had been signed by the legends as well as the future elite of the sport. At this point I think he should hang that ski on his wall for the memories it represents.

There’s so much more to this experience but you get the idea. In the end, we came home physically exhausted, needing a vacation from our vacation. We left nothing on the dock.

I also want to put out a special thanks to John Wilkins (lpskier), who is recovering from cancer treatment and isn’t allowed to ski yet. He hung out and drove for us everyday. We’ve adopted him as a fellow Canadian whether he likes it or not.

Best line of the week was from Mike Mapple. He was talking to a pro skier about us and said, “ You can tell they’re Canadians; they arrive in a V formation.”
Time spent on the water is time well spent.
Intheday[Deleted User]BulldogklindyjcampTexas6Andrecanuckpuck30HortonBruce_ButterfieldMZitoT-fromTOSkoot1123E_TJordanDmaxJC_ski6ballsGaryWilkinsonWishMattPkarajohnlpskierdrewski32Killerswc5150LZywicki1


  • Texas6Texas6 Posts: 2,197
    Awesome story about an epic vacation...very cool
    Daryn Dean - Lakes of Katy, TX
    ***Robbed out of Hundreds of Panda Worthy Posts***
  • BulldogBulldog Posts: 1,026 Crazy Baller
    Skiers Dream Vacation!
    Mike Loeffler - "Someone somewhere is having a real problem today...My bad skiing is NOT one of them"
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,318 Mega Baller
    This thread is worthless without pics!!!

    There,i said it! :)
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    Here's André
    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    edited April 2015
    I believe they call this a Ball of spray! AKA Perch

    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    edited April 2015

    Chris Parrish

    Some of the gang

    Jason McClintock

    Tom Brantley

    Bojan Shipner

    Me, courtesy of Spencer Shultz

    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • GaryWilkinsonGaryWilkinson Posts: 342 Solid Baller
    What a tremendous week @SM !

    We had a similar week last October in Orlando. The slalom Capitol of the world.
    Skied with some of the elite also and only had tremendous things to say about meeting and skiing with them.

    KC, Matt Rini, Whitney and Andy were all informative, friendly, and so generous.

    I whole-heart-idly second your praise of our sports elite being so approachable and genuine.
    I take tremendous pride in telling non-skiers how great these athletes really are. In their sport they perform tremendous tasks but as people, I believe, they are second to none in generosity and humility.

    Congrats on a great week with great people and see you on the lake soon!

    I need to ski back to the handle obviously.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,699 Mega Baller
    This is really fun way to go on water ski vacation. I am kind of surprised that more groups don't organize this kind of trip. While not all ski sites can (or are willing to) accommodate a group that largely wants to be on its own, Andy's and LaPoints', the latter (and Lucky's) being where I hang my hat, accommodate this type group and skiing arrangement. Throw in a day or two with a coach, either on site or at their ski school, add lots of good food and (at least with the Canadians) a copious amount of beer, and you have a bang up way to start the season on the right foot.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • drewski32drewski32 Posts: 218 Baller
    @lpskier the reason more groups don't go is the $$$. It's always a great experience but it's pretty expensive.
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    @lpskier We did learn that the area where the seats fold into in a Caravan can be converted into a cooler. It does take a lot of ice to really do the job though. Notice that it's light beer, we are in training after all.
    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    @drewski32 We actually go in a group to keep the price reasonable. You can get a Condo on AirBNB pretty cheap, share rental cars, drive the boat yourselves to not always pay for coaching. Overall I think it's a pretty good value, and this particular trip was priceless.
    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • LZywicki1LZywicki1 Posts: 363 Crazy Baller
    Sounds like the week I just had a Sunset Lakes with all the great skiers there. We got the chance to go the social at the Waterski Hall of Fame, what a blast.

    First thing we get rid of the safety equipment
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,699 Mega Baller
    @onamission Ha! I am the white pants/blue shirt throwing something in the trash next to the bar in your third photo. As usual, making an ass of myself... You planned that, right?
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • LZywicki1LZywicki1 Posts: 363 Crazy Baller
    edited April 2015
    @lpskier All the fun happens at the bar. My wife is dancing to Jimmy Buffett with margaritas, also dangerous.

    I did bring my clubs down also, with my one hand starting to get a little tore up in wasn't in the cards.

    First thing we get rid of the safety equipment
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @SM, good gawd, couldn't you find any beer? Us Yankees have a hard enough time with that stuff, how could any respectable Canuck drink that stuff?
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    That was daytime beer to stay hydrated. We drank the good stuff at night.
    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • mwetskiermwetskier Posts: 1,332 Mega Baller
    @SM -despite survival shows claiming other wise it has been scientifically proven that even in an emergency situation you can not successfully hydrate by drinking urine.
  • SMSM Posts: 529 Crazy Baller
    That's seriously funny.
    Time spent on the water is time well spent.
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,318 Mega Baller

    Here's some pix of my ski after my 2015 ski vacation in Orlando!
    Wish i could afford a new one so i could hang this one over the fireplace.
    Since i gotta ski it this summer,i was thinking of shooting Krylon's clear over the top...?

    Clockwise from left:
    Jonathan Travers
    Natalia Berdnikova
    Bojan Shipner (Was in the boat for his practice set! WOW!)
    Nicole Arthur
    Marion Matthieu
    Rhoni Barton Bishoff
    Tom Brentley (upside down)
    John Wilkins aka lpskier .Our coach and driver for the week!
    Jennifer Leachmann
    Ricky McCormicks
    Kris Lapoint! (I was in the boat for his 39 off and 4 tries at 41! WOW!)
    Jon McClintock
    Scott Ellis
    Andy Mapple
    Corey Vaughn
    Chris Parrish
    and.....drum roll...

    The Krista!!!

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