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Making 3 events accessible to EVERYONE on a private lake

This is a bit of a shameless plug - but we want to get the word out - everyone can ski (and learn to ski) on a private course - without a membership!

Forest Lake (South Haven, Michigan) was finished in 2015 and we are ready to open to the public in 2021! We are taking, what seems to be, a unique approach to "memberships". We want skiing to be accessible to everyone- not just those that can afford a private lake (course permitting is getting to be near impossible) or people who are lucky enough to snag a membership on a ski lake (where membership numbers understandably need to be limited). So, what we have done is put together a per set ski set rates that would be comparable to having a membership on a lake. The set rates below are for slalom or trick - we can provide jump sets too!

This strategy is beneficial for both the skiers and us, allowing:
• Flexibility in scheduling. We provide a boat and driver, so no need to coordinate with other members to get a few pulls in. (We can typically facilitate day-of scheduling). (We will consider visiting certified drivers to drive, but generally we do not allow guests to drive)
• By personally managing pulls, we can better utilize all-day lake use – allowing more skiers access to the lake.
• Pay as you play. There is no need to pay for an annual membership to be later limited to its use through scheduling conflicts or changes to personal priorities.
• No membership responsibilities. Come to ski and/or stay overnight. Make Forest Lake your ski destination. There are no membership obligations like grounds or lake maintenance, etc.
• Generous sets. 1 set = 8 passes
• The boat is covered. Never worry about a boat, boat maintenance, or gas – we've got all that covered and will always utilize the latest technology. (sorry, no outside boats)
• Using a Forest Lake boat saves time and money getting a boat into the water. Our water is very clean, and we are committed to keeping out all invasive species that can hitchhike on boats and water toys. (sorry, no outside boats)
• Ski a certified course. We generally host a class L tournament once a year. Our slalom and jump courses are certified and always well maintained.
• On-site coaching. We have some of the highest-rated skiers, judges, drivers, and safeties not only in Michigan but in the world, skiing at Forest Lake several times a week. With the appropriate planning, we can facilitate coaching sessions and/or driving lessons.
• On-site lodging. Discounts for boat and lake use with on-site lodging. We have overnight accommodations that allow skiers and coaches (if you bring your own) to schedule private lake time for days long ski workshops. When the entire property is yours to use, we can be more generous with discounts. (
• Bring the whole family. Forest Lake is family-friendly. 2021 brings an expansive trail system throughout the 120 acres of the property for nature walks or mountain biking. The property also borders the Van Buren State Trail giving you groomed, non-motorized access to South Haven or right to Lake Michigan's beaches. Non-ski-set water options are available for those wanting to learn to ski or go tubing. We also have a small playground, beach volleyball court, sand toys, kayaks, rafts, children's life vests, beach towels, and other fun in the sun toys for your use.

We also have a trusted partnership with Action Water Sports and WakeHouse - so if you would like to demo new equipment, we can help facilitate this.

You show up – let us do the rest!

website link:



  • BrennanKMNBrennanKMN Posts: 536 Crazy Baller
    I think the pricing would be cost prohibitive for me. For $75 I can get a set of coaching in Orlando.

    Great idea for getting the non-course skier's feet wet in the sport though. I would have liked to have an option like this to try out a course when I was an open water skier.
  • ForestLakeForestLake Posts: 19 Baller
    @BrennanKMN we understand with the pricing. When the days come when we are consistently booked we will be able to reduce the set prices :-) Also, for anyone staying for 5 or more nights we give a 50% discount to all on water activities!
  • mike_mapplemike_mapple Posts: 157 Water Ski Industry Professional
    edited January 18
    The $100 for one set, is no coaching? Seems it a bit high, even the highest coaching I have seen was my dad, charged 120, 6-10 passes with all coaching.

    That being said, glad to see something like this getting started! Best of luck to you!

    Also, just a question, if someone who has never done it before, does not have gear are you letting them rent any gear or anything?
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    If you have a blister, pop it, pour some lemon juice on it, and then add salt. -Andy Mapple
  • fu_manfu_man Posts: 472 Crazy Baller
    This strategy is exactly how I was introduced to the sport. Long ago in the 80s my parents used to rent a cabin/cottage on a "resort" in Wisconsin. The resort was built in the 1920s...let's just say it was rustic. Anyway you colud rent the ski boat by the hour (17ft runabout with 70HP outboard). They supplied the driver, gas, and equipment. Was there a slalom course? No. Was the equipment good? No....I learned to ride one ski on a wood O'brien comp that barely floated.

    However, without this my family would not have had access to the sport and I would likely not be here today. This sounds like you are providing a great opportunity to access the sport. The accommodations are stellar compared to what I had. Kudos.
  • ForestLakeForestLake Posts: 19 Baller
    @mike_mapple thanks for the feedback! We do offer different options for equipment. For the people wanting to learn to ski, we have everything and it is included in the price. For people wanting to go through the course and need equipment a little more specific to them we will have demo and rental options.
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,211 Open or Level 9 Skier
    The site looks amazing. I am from MI and next time I am back I may have to come check it out.

    $50-100/set seems pricy for most skier budgets. However, I am a member at a private lake in CA and by the time you roll in all property costs, all boat costs, a driver and any margin, you approach your price range faster than many think. Especially if lake usage is low and you can’t distribute fixed property costs over high usage.

    Many lakes in the country are cheaper to maintain/operate than ours. As Bruce said we can run lower cost boats. As I said if you get busy, fixed costs are less per ride.

    In the end, it will be interesting to see what happens, and the lake will be beautiful regardless. Good luck!
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 188 Solid Baller
    @Bruce_Butterfield the 30k vs 80k is relative, the cost of owning a boat is the difference between purchase and sale cost. If you've got an agreement with your local dealer, you can swap out the boat every year or two and almost loose nothing.

    Those prices are steeeeep, even here in the UK the most you'll pay at a proper club with tuition is around £35 ($50) for 8-10 passes on a non member rate (think Oxford WSC where you get a brand spankers Nautique Carbon (or whatever the newest top line Nautique is at the time), top level lake, 2 courses and 1 jump, facilities and coached by one of the top UK coaches) and even that goes down quickly with multiple tows per day.)

    To put that in perspective, a new nautique is around £150k here after import taxes ($210k US)

    Get them in, get them hooked, then make the "profit" on memberships and on site extras.
    It's better to have a 15yr old kid with 6 sets a weekend and 3 during the week, every week for most of the year rather than a 25yr old who skis twice a weekend every fortnight for 3 months a year
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,127 Mega Baller
    @bishop8950, the site is great. I've been to one tournament there and this year's Michigan 3 Event State Championship will be held there. It should be an excellent tournament. At least one Collegiate tournament has been held there as well.

    If they ever do a second lake, it could be a great Regionals site - maybe even Nationals.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • DyscoDysco Posts: 47 Baller
    If I'm not mistaken, Lidquid Edge near Chicago, charges about $100 for 2/3 sets, 30-ish minutes, with coaching depending on time and ability. Bring a buddy or buy 10 "lessons" and they give a discount. Hopefully that can be a frame of reference for your lake/club.
  • ForestLakeForestLake Posts: 19 Baller
    Wow, thank you for all the feedback! At this time we can only adjust prices based on clients also utilizing our lodging. We are working on a strategic partnership to help offset our boats and equipment depreciation costs. With consistent interest we could justify hiring a "college student", or two, but as a new offering we can't justify the cost of an employee. Utilizing lake time is not our "bread and butter", but is our response to expressed interest, so we understand also that these offerings will not appeal to everyone, and that is okay.

    All that said we are offering every-other-Sunday afternoon "open or group skis" with the following details.

    Slalom Ski or Trick Practice (Group) - 2 sets per person @ $60.00 total
    limit 8 participants. Participants must register in advance.
  • mike_mapplemike_mapple Posts: 157 Water Ski Industry Professional
    are you allowing people to use impact vests? or requiring CGA vests only? I know the cable parks around our shop just switched to CGA only, its getting harder and harder to find places allowing Non CGA vests.
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

    If you have a blister, pop it, pour some lemon juice on it, and then add salt. -Andy Mapple
  • ForestLakeForestLake Posts: 19 Baller
    Impact vests are fine for experienced skiers, our group skis will be sanctioned practices. Our learners use CGA. We have certified drivers, who are also CPR certified, and have spotters. Insurance isn't easy, or cheap, in any water related activity and there is an level of assumption of risk when there is any sort of water involved.
  • ALPJrALPJr Posts: 2,388 Mega Baller
    Sounds great. Hope you hit a home run and then open a site in New England.
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 867 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    THIS is how you grow the sport of skiing. I love it.

    I agree with others that the rates are a touch steep, but also, I haven't seen the full experience, and like you say, it isn't your bread and butter, so it might actually be just fine. Time will tell there.

    Please keep us all updated here on how it goes.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,566 Mega Baller
    @Dysco - both are great spots - Forest is closer to Chicago by about 45 minutes maybe better depending on traffic from Chicago.

    If you get the skyway at the right time I bet you'd get to Forest in about 1.5 hours - takes closer to 2.5 to get to TLE mostly because you either have to go out of your way down 55 or 57 and go too far or you have to get off and go rural highways.
  • MI3EventerMI3Eventer Posts: 21 Baller
    Best site in the state! Love all the upcoming plans for it and would love to help anyway I can!
  • foxriveratfoxriverat Posts: 588 Crazy Baller
    @Dysco Liquid edge is $70 with instructor. If you buy 10 its cheaper.
    2000 Malibu Response LX 2019 65 HO Syndicate Omni Vapor Bindings
  • tjmtjm Posts: 351 Solid Baller
    edited January 23
    @ForestLake I think this is fantastic. While I personally may never take advantage of your club, (however I would if the opportunity presents itself), I thank you for making your lake available to "outsiders". What you are offering deserves applause. Thanks.
  • GWaterskiGWaterski Posts: 53 Baller
    @ForestLake What a gorgeous site! I'll be checking it out this Summer!
  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 951 Mega Baller
    edited January 31
    Couple morning sets at a great site behind a great boat, afternoon hanging out on a great Lake Michigan beach, dinner at a South Haven restaurant then walk down to the beach to watch the sun set. Sounds like a great vacation day, huh?
    The wife and I got to do that last summer.
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