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Tuney
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Public lakes are all we ski. I get an invite to a private lake about 15 minutes from my home a very few times a year, otherwise it's all public water skiing. Dawn patrol on Saturdays for the last 25+ years with a portable to get any decent water. One of the numerous things that drove me to start my business.
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Just like Ed, live on public lake for 14 yrs. Good thing is our lake has a very small, no parking, pretty crappy launch so keeps most "non-lakers" off. We have a permitted course on the lake but as Ed says, it's at dawn or forget it. Either a "wally" or "bayliner" will come out soon after, fishing or towing a tube, and then there's the wakeboarders the rest of the day. Also only get 4 continous passes before the reverb comes back into the course, then a 15 minute or so stop before next set. Not like private lake skiing but still pretty dang good considering it's a public lake.

 

Ron Messenger

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I grew up skiing on both private and public. Have logged more hours public by far. Yeah, you gotta ski before 8 am, or forget it.. sometimes you can get a good run at sunset. I moved to a private lake 4 years ago.. and before that had joined a private lake for 6 years. Feels like you can't get better on public water, but you can maintain.
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I ski a public lake every day. Our main site is on Lake Placid, NY and our secondary site is on Lower Saranac Lake. The picture with Whiteface Mountain in the background is LP, taken near our course. The ominous photo is Saranac looking down the course. The ski shot is in the course on LP. The brownish shot is the Atlantic Ocean, and while technically public, I did not intend to post it, but after selecting it, I couldn't get rid of it.

Lpskier

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I grew up on and still live on public water in Mass. We ski early mornings during the week and on weekends. During the week you can still get calm water during the day and sometimes during evenings because our course is tucked in a cove.
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I skied on public water for 12 years then moved to private water last year. I still love to hit the public water. I love the atmosphere and people its great but the rollers are killer. Train on private have fun on public thats how I roll.
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Started on the muddy Maumee River in the 70's, and when they put in a speed limit, found a borrow pit, and been doing that for 27 years. Job transfers took me to PA and NY in the 80's, didn't have any good placed to ski in PA, but skied in upper NY on a beaver pond for 3 summers in the late 80's. Moved back home in 1990, and skiing on my lake and 3 others ever since. Can't beat it. No extra hours on the boat driving out to site, no maintenance from yahoos or floating logs ripping up the course or props. Have dealt with backwash and continue to deal with it as the water table has been rising every year, as my lake was not built as a ski lake. But I have another $200K I can spend on backwash before I would be at the cost to build new...
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Grew up on a public lake and live on a public lake here in South Canada (MN). Ski on private sites when I can. Had three courses on my boyhood lake my buds and I installed. Only one on my present lake but I can fish, swim, party barge, and Wally when and where I like.
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Split my time between a salt water tidal flat on Long Island which is public, and a private lake 65 miles north of NYC. Kind of 70/30%.The 70% being salty. For the guys who like to partake in a cold brew after skiing there is just something about that salty water that makes those cold brews go down.
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Public....until @MS gives me an invite this year...

 

 

don't ski the course so I don't mind being on public water. Love morning sessions, love sneaking during the day if I can and LOVE sunset skis. Plus I love being able to putz around on the water all day just hanging out. Doesn't hurt that I grew up on the lake and will always have a spot there. Hard to give up everything I can do right from the dock on public water. Plus someday when I get to retire I will be skiing all the time during the week, the plus to public water that is really only busy on weekends, I love those city people who go back to work on Sunday.

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I ski 90% public water on my home lake on a portable course with balls that float too high. Because I work I have to ski before work, which translates to 6:15AM. If I was retired I could ski on weekday mornings pretty much anytime with the occasional disruption from fishermen. Evenings and weekends are unworkable.
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90% of the time I ski at the private ski club lake but once a summer we take a vacation with 2 other families to a pubic lake somewhere. Last year we made it down to Norris Lake in TN- absolutely beautiful trip and drove about 25 lake miles to find a public ski course made out of bleach bottles and milk jugs.
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@Razorskier1 Ed has good advice. Buoys filled half with water work great. Have them on my float course. They sit at correct hight and dispace much easier than air filled if hit. I did have to add a little red brick (clipped on) to the end of the PVC at the ball to get them at reg hight but that's just 6 little bricks (red ones with 3 holes).
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Public water for the past 54 years. We leased a private lake for a few years but, I prefer the "Big" Lake. I ski after work and have an amazing group of ski buddies who are all good drivers. We have been skiing together for years and have had a ball. We may not get the quality water as consistently as private lake skiers, but water conditions for M3, M4 and M5 at Wilmington last year were great! The great equalizer. I would rather ski with my buddies on public water than ski with a bunch of whiners and speed control bashers at a perfect, private site. I guess that it is the jumper's mentality.
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I definitely see the appeal of a private lake, but I also want to have a lake that I can boat around on with my family, and I especially want some interesting water for bass fishing. (I can rarely the make the time, but I do really enjoy it.)

 

What we have is kind of amazing, because our course is off in a cove and many ours of the day skis just like a private site, but the rest of the time we have all the advantages of a public, multi-purpose lake. And all in easy commute to tons of employment options.

 

Hm, maybe I'm advertising too hard. Please don't move here and take my water! :)

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Grew up on public in MN. Did the dawn patrol. But really liked the verity of other things to do on the lake like cliff jumping/diving. Moved to FL and baught onto a no public access natural small lake with a course. Very few of the 20 homes use the lake. Best of both woulds as we get to pull kids tubing, go sailing on a little Catameran and fish ( although I hardly ever fish ).
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Ski 100% on a public lake. 2500 acres, so we ski at 6:30 or 7am, depending on sunrise. We get surprisingly good water, but obviously have some unskiable days. I love to be on a bigger lake for everything but skiing, so we take the good with the bad.
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I don't think he has patented that yet Ed, you're safe. :)

 

I made one last year and I think I used about 2/3 of the container and the buoys were about perfect.

 

Half of the fun is talking smack in the boat and on the dock with the guys.

 

@Ham Wallace. We keep a tube of Vagisil in the glove box for whiners.

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I used the smallest pump sprayer with a hose. I like the hose style because you can walk away and let it fill the buoy while they both sit on the bench. I did this a while back. Not sure exactly how it went together but I remember disassembling the hose end till I noticed where the needle could pass through one of the fittings. The hole was to large for the needle so I used some plumbers putty. It made it air tight as well as stabilized the needle. Took about 2 minutes. I put a 1/2 gallon of H2O in. Pump it to a good bit of pressure, the water starts flowing and when the water is done the air left in the tank fills the ball the rest of the way with air to regulation size (really close anyway). http://static.cl1.vanilladev.com/ballofspray.vanillaforums.com/uploads/FileUpload/f6/f26b6a75947cacb04129d313c78985.jpg
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I'm gonna go ahead and post the turorial that TW did some time ago, with permission. I'll make it a separate subject as not to take this thread off in too different a direction. TW wrote me this evening, his message as follows - "Ed, Feel free to post it. Nobody owns an "idea", and I created the tutorial to benefit the water-skiing community. It's the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to make a buoy filler - as long as you have a Home Depot nearby and about $6 in your pocket." I'll get it put up in a bit. Thanks again Thomas.
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Hard to beat TW's design, cheap and easy to measure the amount of water going in to one buoy. I cut out a circle for the buoy dimension and fill mine up a little under width, let them sit out in the sun for a day, then measure again. Most times, they expand to size. I think the rubber stretches a little. We got rid of the bricks used as counter weight, so it works great on a floating course.
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I'm public on weekends and private during the week. While the reverse is probably more logical from a skiing conditions perspective, the family enjoys swimming and skiing in the big lake much more. And there are no snakes...
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Lake Latonka is a private lake which is about 2 1/2 miles long and a half mile wide. There are about 700+homes on it. You can't put your boat on it unless you are a property owner. On the weekends to barefoot or ski the course it is dawn patrol. June July and August are busy. Before and after that we have the lake pretty much to ourselves except for fisherman. If you don't get your slalom runs in by the 10-11AM forget it on the weekends. After that I get on my trick ski, or kneeboard..
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