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So we are building a lake...

Fellow ball chasers,

My family is FINALLY building a ski lake. Found a perfect site near Kansas City, Missouri. We’ve done our core samples, wetland study and have received a permit from the Corp of engineers. Final design is in the works and timber is getting grinded up April 19th.

Reason for my post, I’d like to hear from you folks that have already built your ski paradise. If you could go back and do something different, what would you do to make it better? We aren’t doing turn islands and exact dimensions are 2100x200 with the narrowest section being 140 at the minimum for a split second.

Excited to hear what advice you guys have!



  • ghutchghutch Posts: 166 Baller
    Congrats! What a super exciting time. Looking forward to the suggestions myself for some "maybe one day".....
  • ntxntx Posts: 838 Crazy Baller
    I would recommend no less than 2150. 2200 would be better. Especially if you will ever pull any 36mph. You might say now that you only ski 34. What about any future ski partners. If you are going to build it. Do it right.
  • brettmainerbrettmainer Posts: 341 Crazy Baller
    2100’ is more than enough. Perfect in my opinion. Any more is a waste of gas. @LiquidZone has the perfect grade on the shores, hopefully they chime in with those numbers. 1:10 maybe then steeper after the first 18” depth or so. Redwood shores has the right long term answer for trees, but not sure how they would fare in your locale. probably consult with local arborists.
  • NameUnavailableNameUnavailable Posts: 19 Baller
    2100 is good we have our most used lake of 4 at 1900, and the lake we have that is 2150 feels like you are waiting along time to pull out...
    I would pay attention to the fact you will have some erosion. Make it deep to ski well but also accommodate some erosion.
  • cacmancacman Posts: 108 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Make it as deep as you can. We spend over $3000 a year in chemicals for weeds and moss. The deeper the better. I have been to many lakes where your ski touches at the ends. People love and people hate turn islands. I like to do some sets with out stopping at ends. Islands work great for spins also really help on short lakes. Yours sounds plenty long. Make sure you put course in when lake is dry. Figure out where your beaches will be and dig them accordingly. Dry to enjoy the process.
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @brettmainer good stuff! @LiquidZone would love to hear some input regarding slope. Brett, trees might be the least of our worries! We are surrounded on each side. Will probably plant more though.

    @NameUnavailable I think you are referencing to SMRR? When you say accommodate for erosion are you meaning reshaping shorelines and distributing excess dirt?
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @cacman thanks for the input. Overall depth will be about 8ft. Ends will be about 10 and another section we are sure yet. I enjoy skiing around turn islands but we are trying to make it as beginner friendly as possible. Definitely going to set our anchors when it’s dry!
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,048 Mega Baller
    Do you know what grade your shoreline is? In the Midwest weeds and other growth run rampant in shallow water. For us our shore grade is a 2/3 slope. At first I didn’t think this was a good idea, but since we are in a farming area this actually helped us a whole bunch. Identifying or at least having a knowledge of how you will deal with erosion will be helpful (riprap/grasses/fencing etc). What direction does your lake run - north/south or East/West? That will have an impact on how much surface area is directly exposed to the winds. We find that wind and wave action has more impact on erosion than the boat (even our wakeboard boat). Most of all - ENJOY the process!
  • cacmancacman Posts: 108 Open or Level 9 Skier
    If you have a dam of any kind, before you put rip rap or final layer of soil, line it with galvanized fencing. Muskrats can and will do terrible things to dams and shore line. On our lake when we have skiers, tubers or whatever that we don't think can navigate island we turn in front not a big deal especially with over 2000 foot of length.
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @Skoot1123 I’m not sure what our shore grade is. Land itself only has about 7ft of drop and that’s mostly in one spot. The rest is flat and has been used for farming. Lake will run N/S so probably the only impact from erosion would be on the ends. We should have enough timber to knock down the wind, but worst case, we throw some rock on the shoreline if it gets to that point.

    @MISkier We’ve heard 10:1 and 16:1! Maybe with the lake running N/S we don’t need 16:1? Need some more research.
    Fine tuning the shorelines is really where I want to learn more. Both my Dad and I have never done that. Seen it done, just never done it first hand.
    We really should be good on timber! Want to plant a few more, but lots of protection as of right now.
    I like your points about dock and boat ramp location. We’ve got some wiggle room to work with when it comes to getting those into place. And most likely, dock and starting dock will be separated. In the beginning we want to mostly host friends and people for clinics but I’d like to host tournaments in the future.
    Regarding controlling water levels... could you give me a link to the non powered syphon you are referring to? We’ve talked about adding a valve on the overflow, but a syphon sounds much more cost effective!
    Only one boat on the lake, so hopefully no issues with weeds or invasive species. I’m also predicting muddy water so no sunlight hitting the bottom.
    I’ll post some pics when we get this thing really rolling! Right now, it’s just covered with trees.

    @cacman good info regarding muskrat protection on the dam. I’ve got a trapping buddy who would love some beaver fur too haha! I hear you on the turn islands. It’s just a risk we don’t want to take!
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,615 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Spencer_Shultz We did shorelines at 12:1 until the water depth was about 18" deep than 4:1 to the bottom depth. Keep the grass/weeds far enough back from the water that the water/waves always stay on the 'sand'. As soon as the grass gets close enough to the waters edge, the erosion and shoreline maintenance begins.

    Make sure you have sufficient clay to hold water. If needed, haul it in and cover it with about 12" of sand wherever you can touch bottom to walk. We used a liner initially that never fully expanded and was lost under the lake. The most expensive 12acre coffee filter ever!

    How are you going to maintain water depth? Bury a pipe (6"+ assuming there is decent water volume for a well). Put the end of the pipe somewhere offshore (50'+ out) in deeper water and you'll never see it. We had a 6" well capable of 750 +/- gallons a min so maintaining the water depth was easy.

    Agree with @MISkier about the boat ramp and dock, We had permanent structures for both which was just upstream of the low end of the ramp about across from 3 ball. Once you set your target lake depth, mark the high/low/ideal depth on the boat ramp since it's on such a flat slope. Every time you walk by a quick glance and you can know the lake depth. Also as @MISkier said, make sure the low end is deep enough into the water to not drive off the end and not be affected by wave action.

    Use galvanized screw auger anchors for buoy anchors (3' long). We surveyed the buoys with the lake dry, re-staked each auger location about 3' away with 2 stakes then used a power auger to dig a hole for the buoy anchor. Drop in the anchor and backfill holding the anchor in exactly the right position. Leave it 6-8" above the bottom. Resurvey BEFORE you fill it to make any last minute adjustments.

    For the length, I tend to agree with @ntx. If you're driving straight in, 2150-2200 is better. I've skied and driven at @ntx lake a lot and if you are a bigger guy or a 36mph skier that 50-100' is golden. If you spin to go in, you should be ok at 2100.

    Oh, and put in a ramp!! You're close enough to the Midwest Air Force that you can have some wicked cool jump tournaments there too!!

    Good luck and have fun! Great project!
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
    edited March 30
    Oh, and put in a ramp!! You're close enough to the Midwest Air Force that you can have some wicked cool jump tournaments there too!!

    Is this going to be a slalom ditch or 3 event lake? 200 ft is a bit narrow if you ever want to put a ramp in.
    Andre Broussard | SkiBama Team Captain | SkiBennetts |
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,428 Crazy Baller
    There are obviously two schools of thought concerning islands. Bear in mind that islands means less dirt to move.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 477 Solid Baller
    Bunkhouse for BOS visitors?
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @klindy good stuff on the shoreline ratio and maintenance as far as grass goes.
    Soil type we are solid! The guy that’s digging it referred to it as “tiger clay”. Apparently the best type for holding water. For a water source, we’ve got a stream that flows through the property. It’s fed by a spring and rain run off.
    Regarding anchors I’m thinking more concrete blocks. Just what I’ve been around more. Any downsides to that?
    Think our max is gonna be 2100! I ski 36 and it’s plenty of length. And I’m that dude who has to pull his shorts down after the pull up :D
    Not gonna happen on the ramp lol. Primary reason, we don’t have the width. No one in my family jumps and we don’t want another project to maintain.

    @Broussard 2 event lake 👍🏻👍🏻
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,154 Mega Baller
    @Spencer_Shultz, the siphon we have is essentially homemade out of 6 inch diameter PVC pipe sections. One end goes in the lake and the pipe exits the lake, goes over the embankment and ends at the drainage ditch, which is well below the elevation of the pipe end in the lake. The apex of the pipe on the embankment has a tee and a cleanout cap on top pointing vertically. The pipe is filled with water at the tee using a trash pump (or other high volume water pump) to quickly prime the siphon. Then, the cleanout cap is replaced tightly and the siphon flow is initiated at the ditch. Gravity, elevation change, and vacuum/suction do the rest.

    We only use this as a temporary setup to remove excess water and it sometimes required restarts if the boat wash jostled the lake end of the pipe loose and interrupted the flow. We remove it when we aren't using it. We didn't need to use it at all last year, but previous years with high snow/rain amounts had the lake so full that it was a concern for damage and an annoyance for rollers.

    At one point, I think I calculated 30,000 gallons an hour of flow through that siphon, which lowers the lake about an inch per 10 hours.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @MISkier for just doing a simple tweak to water level, this is amazing. We’ve always just hoped for evaporation during a rainy season. Do you have any pics you could share of your setup? I know a few people who could use one.
  • wski1831wski1831 Posts: 157 Baller
    For erosion control some have put cloth and rock over it. I haven’t done it but others on here have.
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,573 Mega Baller
    Congrats @Spencer_Shultz !
    enjoy ...and take some pics! ;)
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,154 Mega Baller
    @Spencer_Shultz, I cannot locate any photos of the siphon. My apologies. If I do stumble across some, I will send them along.
    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,154 Mega Baller
    @Spencer_Shultz, I did a quick check on YouTube. This is not our video, but our system is essentially identical. Hope this helps.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.
  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 551 Crazy Baller
    @Spencer_Shultz Siphons work well. Another good option is a draw down pipe with a butterfly valve if you have a ditch or other low area to drain into as seen in the video. Depends on your lake and the surrounding area.
    Andre Broussard | SkiBama Team Captain | SkiBennetts |
  • skimtbskimtb Posts: 477 Solid Baller
    edited March 30
    Thanks @MISkier enjoyed that. Slightly larger version of the siphon to fill boat gas.

    @Spencer_Shultz Very cool project.
  • bsmithbsmith Posts: 89 Baller
    @Spencer_Shultz You haven't mentioned anything about your spillway design. Typically, small lakes are designed to safely overflow 25% of the possible maximum flood volume for the given water shed situation. Usually, a lake has both a principle and emergency spillway. Small ponds often just use a flat earthen spillway area next to the dam. If your lake is just dug out with no dam required then a simple earthen spillway is likely ok.

    If your lake involves a dam of some sort and you have significant water shed, then you will likely need a more sophisticated spillway design such as a siphon spillway or elbow pipe spillway. If you have significant overflow, then a good spillway design is needed to get rid of the excess water without incurring major erosion or even dam failure.
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,808 Mega Baller
    My lake is 2150' x 180'. No islands.

    I would not do this again. For a really good slalom experience the length of set up is huge. I think 2100' with islands would be great. (2300' or more straight in) Then islands can be "islands" of anything that will break up wave action. Utility poles with 3"x12"s in a triangle. Pile of rock. Anything that does need to be mowed.

    You say you want beginner friendly. No lake this size is beginner friendly. They will get used to it. They will also have a much better time with a boat that is up to speed early and with plenty of time to adjust their swim suit, clear their eyes, whatever vs. up and in.

    Shore line. I was told 10:1 was okay and I was told don't do less than 15:1. You can make them both work, but they will take different types of maintenance. Less erosion with 15 but more grass issues. Vice versa with the other.

    Last suggestion. Consider future maintenance with every decision.

    Good luck and enjoy the process.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 4,613 Mega Baller
    Check out "bell siphons"
  • Spencer_ShultzSpencer_Shultz Posts: 25 Baller
    @MISkier that’s sweet. Pretty easy build!

    @bsmith design phase is still in the rough draft stage. So nothing on a dam yet.
  • MichaelGoodmanMichaelGoodman Posts: 189 Baller
    I live on a old mill pond that is a river that was dammed up 200 plus years ago for power I had to redo the dam so I lowered the pond which is 42 acres (normal water flow per day
    is about 10 million gallons) so I had to get rid of the the 10 million gallons a day just to stay level. Then I had to get rid of another about 1.1 million gallons at full pond for every inch I lowered the pond I dropped the level over 10 feet by using 35 sections of 4" PVC
    pipe all just with siphons no pumps needed I had over one mile of pipe run worked like
    a charm.
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,573 Mega Baller
    @MrJones @MichaelGoodman
    Are there pix of your lake on this site somewhere?
    Love looking at private waterski lakes porn...
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