Our ski club is experiencing the latest in the threat to water skiing. After the DNR changed the agreement we had with them regarding the use of a pond in a state recreation area, we relocated to another private lake. That lake, in turn, needed some dredging to take care of some safety issues and increase usability, but we have been unsure how to remedy that with the likely concerns the DNR and DEQ will have with some cattails and other wetland characteristics in the portion of the lake needing some work. We skied it for one summer, but the concerns over one particular area of the lake forced us to look elsewhere until we could resolve it.
We were fortunate to obtain a lease at Placid Waters - the ski community in Allendale, MI. The developers have had a difficult time selling property there. There were some issues with the design/layout of the homesites, some restrictions on docks/lifts, some bad timing with the real estate crash after 2006/2007/2008, and a few other issues. There were 6 lakes planned. Only 3 were finished before the project stopped. Only a few houses were built. The developers asked our club what could be done to the property to make it more appealing to buyers and were genuinely interested in our opinions.
Now, the developers have a plan to reconfigure the entire development. Ironically, they will address one of the issues we mentioned to them - lot size and lot depth. Unfortunately, their solution removes the peninsula between lake one and lake two, adds fill to the shore of each property, and also shortens the combined lake. There will be no slalom course on the combined lake. Lake 3 will be expanded into a 50 acre "square". There will be many more lots now than were planned for the original development. The new plan is marketing towards, you guessed it, wakeboarders, jet skiers, pontoons, fishing boats, etc. There probably will be water skiing there as well, just not on a slalom course and likely with substantial traffic. I don't blame the developers. The skier/buyer population didn't materialize and the developers need to recoup their investment.
The Michigan State tournament will see its final appearance there this July. Our club is hosting it and the developers generously agreed not to begin the changes until after the tournament. They will begin to drain the lakes immediately after the tournament to begin the reconfiguration and we will be done skiing there. The local college team that also shared a lease there will be done as well.
The club is looking to try to return to our original location in the state recreation area. We were never banished - they just changed the course permit to require us remove the buoys every night. In a lake with no visibility for diving, that was seemingly unworkable. We will also look into other options or sites, including the remediation of issues at the other lake needing the dredging. Personally, I belong to another club at a lake that has none of these issues, is purpose-built, owned by a skier for the purpose of having a club, and is much closer to my home. But, I don't like the loss of the other club site or the impact to my friends there. I worry about a trend of disappearing private water, stringent regulations, and our participation as a ski community in supporting our sport enough to ensure the proper facilities/locations remain viable.
The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.