A more permanent course recommendation

HucklefinHucklefin Posts: 48 Baller
Hi Guys, I was hoping to get some opinions of how I should setup a more permanent style of course on my lake. I recently purchased property on a small private access lake that is about 2700 ft long and works perfectly as a slalom lake with the insta-course. There are a couple of other houses on the lake that do not ski and while they are comfortable with the buoys in the water, it is not an option to leave the buoys in permanently, unfortunately, but I understand. If I didn't ski I probably wouldn't want this either. I am looking for some suggestions to create a 'more'-permanent solution than an insta-course if possible.

The lake fairly flat and is 5ft deep in the ends, going down to about 8ft in the middle, would say on average its about 6'. MUCK bottom unfortunately that I do not know how far the muck goes down in the middle of the lake, could be quite a bit. Others do use the lake the jetski around, pull their kids on the tube, and do a bit of fishing, so having the buoys only 2' or whatever below the surface when not in use is also not an option.

Initial thoughts here was to just add large washers or some other magnetic source to the ends of the buoy leads, leave the PVC, mainline, anchors on the ends in the lake permanently. Then when I want to ski, use a magnet to grab each buoy line to reattach and raise the course up.



  • r_maniakr_maniak Posts: 34 Baller
    Years ago, I was part of a group that went out on the ice in the winter and laid out a course and drilled holes in the ice and dropped anchors (bucket-cast concrete with eye bolts). We had a section of rope fastened to a chunck of foam which "floated" about 4' below the surface to which we attached a bungee cord. When we used the course we just went out and hooked the buoys to the bungees. It was a lot of work to construct, but setting up and taking down the course was A LOT faster.
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 259 Solid Baller
    I have two courses in a public lake at my lake house. I don't have to take the balls off very often, but I do switch between the courses based on water level. In my experience, keeping the mainline and PVC pipes is actually helpful. What I do is attach pull-up lines at each Pre-Gate diamond. I use stainless steel cable for this for a couple of reasons. One, it sinks very well without having to have weights so there is less chance of it being snagged by boats and fishermen where it goes into shallow water. Second, it's also a color that doesn't stand out like yellow poly rope often used to make courses. I run these pull-up lines up onto shore and around a tree. If you don't know where they are, you'll never see them.

    The fastest way to raise the course is 2 people with fins, masks, snorkels, and a ball storage line. The ball storage line has loops where half of the course balls are clipped to the loops in the correct order. I use stainless steel d-rings for ball attachment. I keep the d-rings on the balls so that I can use them to attach to the storage line. The storage line also has a section at one end that the swimmer can clip around their waist, and then another few feet of line with another d-ring that you clip to the mainline so you don't lose it if you happen to drop it.

    We drop each swimmer at the pull-up lines at each end of the course. They both work towards the middle, pulling themselves along the mainline. Having fins and being able to pull along the mainline really speeds the process up. We can have the course up and ready to ski in 10 minutes w/o the swimmers being exhausted. Taking the balls off and letting the course drop is done in reverse. But it's very helpful if the swimmers attach the balls in the right order as they take them off.

    We've tried to find and attach balls to individual anchors. In practice, we find it time consuming and much more frustrating.
  • skierjpskierjp Posts: 1,281 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited July 1
    @Hucklefin If your going to use a floating course and try and make it semi permanent there is only one choice, Accufloat by Mike Suyderhound. It is the best made course and is stainless cable. If your neighbors would be ok with leaving 8 buoys on the surface you can float this course in less then 15 minutes. You put a tag line with a jug or buoy at every gate. Drive up to the buoy, pull the cable to the surface and put the ski buoys on.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,413 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    edited July 1
    @Hucklefin have thought about some sort of financial arrangement to leave the course in, with a code of conduct agreement on your part, so that they do not end up, with loads of people skiing on it, perhaps their kids want to learn to ski.
    You could even offer to cut their grass.

    Looking Forward To Getting On The Water, It Has Been A Bleak Winter

  • HucklefinHucklefin Posts: 48 Baller
    @MattP this is very cool. Could potentially see something like that working.

    Thanks everyone else that commented so far.
  • eyepeelereyepeeler Posts: 241 Baller
    I would just freeski with no course...you're done skiing in no time with no hassle, you can make more turns, and you keep your neighbors happy.
    Matt Dillon
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,834 Crazy Baller
    @eyepeeler HUH?

    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge

  • LarsLars Posts: 251 Solid Baller
    A guy on my lake would sink an insta slalom course except for one set of gates. To raise it he would put the buoys on the sides of his jet ski and he said he could have the whole course up in 20 min just by pulling up the main line and holding it while he idled down the course.
  • ironhorseironhorse Posts: 187 Baller
    May want to look at the Offcourse product as an alternative. I havent tried one yet, but have been considering this versus installing and constantly repairing my course on a public lake.
  • Justin_CJustin_C Posts: 275 Solid Baller
    As others have suggested, we have an ez slalom course permanently instant and we just take the boys on and off. For us this is only a once a year procedure but only takes about half an hour with 2 summers. I like the idea of leaving one gate section attached so you can easily find it. We use a bit on a rope with a carabiner on the end and hook it on the main line for the swim between the diamonds. This way you can swim quickly asking the surface and it will stop at the diamond. Then just swim down and attach your buoys and move the carabiner to the other side of the diamond and repeat
  • KillerKiller Posts: 532 Crazy Baller
    @Justin_C what type of bottom is the lake and how deep?

    I'd like to do something similar but we're deep and very mucky - anchors get sucked in permanently
  • skierjpskierjp Posts: 1,281 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Justin_C If you can get away with it mark all the gates (8) with a rope and a old buoys that allows the course to rest on the bottom. This way you can float the course in 10 minutes. Another tip is leave all the buoy opes attached to the course that way all you have in the boat is buoys and no ropes to get tangled.
  • HucklefinHucklefin Posts: 48 Baller
    @killer The muck is the reason we are a little apprehensive on letting the PVC just sit on the bottom. We are going to try it, but worried its going to get so full of junk that it won't float.

    Off-course is something I am looking into. Little bit pricey, maybe next year though.
  • KillerKiller Posts: 532 Crazy Baller
    Ya I don't think it would work for my application due to muck.

    I'm thinking individual anchored course with subs. My other issue is our water is pretty deep up to 30' at some spots and also drops 6' from spring to fall then we get 2' of ice at low water for the winter so my subs would need to be 3' below the low water mark, which is 9' below the high water! the buoys would need to be on 9' leads that are self adjusting to some extent.

  • skierjpskierjp Posts: 1,281 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Hucklefin Maybe, not sure but you could probably cap the ends on the PVC to keep most of the muck out. You would have to use Rain and Shine PVC glue and you would have to cap the PVC under water. It would be worth trying on 1 or 2 gates.
  • 75Tique75Tique Posts: 213 Crazy Baller
    edited July 6
    My situation is similar to some of those above. Quasi-public (open to my neighborhood only) lake. Can not leave balls out all the time. Too tedious taking completely in and out each time. EZ slalom sits on bottom of lake. Sounds simple like others have, but complicated by the fact that it is in 30 - 50 ft of water. Wish I could leave at least one buoy on to find it, but can't. Have a leader that goes about 200 feet from one of the course anchors to one of the lake's permanent no-wake zone buoys. I retrieve that rope with a boat hook (about 5-6 feet down) and then hand over hand to the anchor. Pull up the anchor, clip a handle/buoy to the 40 ft rope on the anchor for tightening purposes, drop the anchor holding onto the mainline, then hand over hand down the mainline, clipping on all the buoys. Takes about 30 minutes. Then go back and pull on the tightening rope, as inevitably the lifted anchor moves down course when dropping it back to the bottom. (I've wondered if running my leader to the gate instead of the anchor might result in my not having to pull the anchor tight each time but there is no conveniently located no-wake zone buoy) Have a pretty decent sandy bottom so not dealing with muck and the course rests deep enough that there is little life therefore pretty much no algae/slime/gunk on the lines/pipes, so that is all good. Comes up clean in the fall. (I pull out the whole mess in the fall) Pretty clean sandy bottom is good, but also there is a fair amount of debris on the bottom as well. I've hoisted some pretty significant limbs/logs up when lifting pulling up the leader rope or lifting the anchor.
    “So, how was your weekend?”
    “Well, let me see…sun burn, stiff neck, screwed up back, assorted aches and pains….yup, my weekend was great, thanks for asking.”
  • jpwhitjpwhit Posts: 259 Solid Baller
    On one of my submerged courses, I made my PVC booms instead of using standard insta-slalom collapsible PVC booms. They are nearly completely sealed. Just a couple of small holes drilled into the PVC to let air out and water in. A very small section in the middle with a sealed air chamber to keep the middle of the PVC from sagging. Stays in the lake year round and on the bottom for more than 6 months of the year. No issue with muck getting into the PVC.

    @75Tique I have my pull-up lines going to the pre-gates. I never have to mess with the anchors. Saves a bunch of time. Some of my pull up lines are 500ft of vinyl covered SS cable. I'd happily go longer if needed to keep from having to mess with the anchors or hook the course with a grapple.
  • chalouxchaloux Posts: 40 Baller
    I just installed an EZ-Slalom permanent course (like... literally just - yesterday and today). The buoys will be installed all summer. In the fall I will be removing the balls and attaching intermediate floaters at a few locations so that all I have to do come spring time is swim down the few feet required and attach my buoy leads. Should be able to have it up and running in about 30 minutes I reckon. At each buoy I'll have a floater. Unfortunately, the bottom of my river is not only muck but also a large amount of tree debris - stumps, deadheads, etc.. and I can't risk the cable getting stuck on something.
  • DCookDCook Posts: 6 Baller
    Similar to OP, I got permission to put a course in where the water was 4-5 feet deep with an all-muck bottom. I first tied a portable course, setting the buoy lines at about 4', but that left some of the pipe ends in muck. More frustrating was that the steel mainline lays down in the muck as you deploy, so I was never able to get enough tension to lift it out of the muck and let the course straighten. I ended up doing a "permanent" course through the ice (find a friend with fancy survey equipment). Also, not waning to have large anchors in shallow water, I ended up using arrowhead earth anchors (https://americanearthanchors.com/shop-by-product/arrowheads/). I tied a rope with sub-buoy to the 36" steel cable, then used a long straight pipe with the drive-rod attached. Put the setup through the hole in the ice, let it rest on the bottom, then drove it all down 36", so that I knew the metal cable was fully buried. Only the rope and sub were above the muck. I now also have a rope laying on the bottom running through the boat guides so that I can follow the rope quickly find the subs for attaching the buoys.
  • HucklefinHucklefin Posts: 48 Baller
    edited July 20
    @DCook ever have issues wit those type of anchors? That doesnt seem like too bad of an idea. Installing during the winter would be no problem for me. Do you have a sub buoy attached to every anchor? How exactly does that work, does it just float 2 or 3 feet up instead of being on the surface?

    Alternatively, Another thought I had was to try and leave everything attached to the insta-course, leave the 2 end anchors in the water. When finished skiing, winch the whole setup to one end of the lake to leave on shore, somehow avoiding a tangled mess. Then when I want to deploy, just drag it back to reconnect to the far end anchor.
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