‘Skiing is a big part of this lake’: Water skiers celebrate sport’s anniversary on Fort Meadow Reservoir

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‘Skiing is a big part of this lake’: Water skiers celebrate sport’s anniversary on Fort Meadow Reservoir
Area residents marked the 100th anniversary of the invention of water skiing on Sunday. (Photo/Tami White)

MARLBOROUGH – A handful of area residents celebrated a centennial milestone on Sunday, marking the 100th anniversary of the sport of water skiing with a series of rides on the Fort Meadow Reservoir in Marlborough. 

Pushing the boundaries of their own water skiing experience, participants reflected on a sport that area resident Tom White said has been central to the lake’s history. 

“Fort Meadow Reservoir has been very active in the sport of water skiing since its inception,” he told the Community Advocate on Thursday. “There’s a really strong water skiing community on the lake.”

‘It’s sort of generational’

The sport of waterskiing is widely accepted as being first performed in 1922 on Lake Pepin in Minnesota.

There, brothers Ralph and Ben Samuelson began to perfect early versions of water skis while refining body positioning for the sport. 

The pastime quickly spread, eventually reaching Marlborough, where multiple generations have since passed down their own water skiing knowledge. 

White has lived on the Fort Meadow Reservoir since 1976. He has been water skiing throughout that time, teaching his son, Mike, to participate as well.

“It’s sort of generational,” he said of the tradition.

Anniversary event combines waterski variations

With the 100th anniversary of their sport approaching, White worked to rally Fort Meadow neighbors and water skiing enthusiasts to participate in a centennial event. 

He encouraged those friends to be adventurous along the way.

On one run, this weekend, skiers performed a pyramid formation, placing two skiers on the water while hoisting a third on their shoulders.

Other runs saw four skiers riding simultaneously, combining variations of water ski equipment, including knee boards, trick skis, jumping skis and shoe skis.

“We had to do something,” White said of the plans, which were delayed to some extent by weather concerns earlier in the weekend.

‘Skiing is a big part of this lake’

White still lives on the lake, now living with his son. 

He sees a bright future for new generations enjoying water skiing activities in the area. 

“Skiing is a big part of this lake,” he said. “Some lakes are not that way. But we’ve had a history for a long time of skiing…It’s just part of the heritage.”

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