Water Skiers Brave Cold Temps

BoatsNew Year's DayFox Broadcasting Company

It's a New Year's Day tradition in Port Sheldon.

The Grand City Show Skiers took to the water despite the season and cold temperatures.

People as young as nine up to 60 years old, usually brave the weather. Enthusiasts don their wet suits, skis and ride Pigeon Lake on the first day of each year.

It’s the 32nd year for the New Years Day Water Ski Splash. "We only do about one loop and get in heat as fast as we can,” says skier Ben Lutkie.

Fox 17 photojournalist John Mogor boarded the boat to capture all of the action from a passenger's rear view. Rob Maskill tried to ride the waves barefoot, only to lose control after about a hundred feet.

"It was cold. It was one of the worst experiences mainly cause of the wind,” Maskill says. Coordinator Tim Priest adds, “When you fall, that's when it feels like somebody hits you as hard as they could in the stomach."

Despite climbing back into the boat cold, wet, and a little stung, Maskill says the experience was well worth it.

"It's fun, I got my sons and my daughter here. It's a tradition in our family, all five of us ski together on the water ski team,” Maskill says.

“They're not quite ready for this cold weather, but it's not too long before they'll be out there with me," he adds. Maskill is passing the tradition onto his kids, but how easy is it to recruit adults.

"It's hard to convince people to go out there," skier Chelsea Dornboss chuckles.

"I heard one of my friends say, well it's another one under the belt,” says Priest. “It's just making a quick lap around and showing off to your friends and your family and they all think you're kind of nuts," he explains.

"It's something that you do to say that you did it," Lutkie sums up.

The West Michigan Water Ski Association and Grand City Show Skiers participate in the event.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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