Steamboat Pilot & Today sports reporter and photographer Joel Reichenberger can be reached at 871-4253 or jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com.
Find more columns by Joel here.
Steamboat Springs I love to water ski. I really, really, really love it, to the point that when I get near a lake, my heart flutters a little bit, whether I’m about to get on a boat loaded with a slalom ski or not.
On Friday, I got my first chance to ski this season while I was “testing” the new Mastercraft wakeboard boat Karl Bunker and the crew up at Steamboat Lake Marina have added to the rental fleet.
This, to me, is as good as assignments get — better than a sunny day backcountry skiing, better than a serene morning hiking a trail for the Outdoors page and better than a trip across the state to cover a great event like state basketball.
It was hot and sunny Friday, and I was along for the trip with a photographer from the paper, three marina employees and three self-styled “Chamber Chicks” from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
For the first half of our trip, the women took to wakeboarding. Then it was my turn.
Here’s a problem with my love of water skiing, and an interesting quirk in my personality: When I find something I like, that’s about all I do.
I started skiing when I was about 5 years old behind the family ski boat. I learned to slalom a few years later, a laborious process that took at least 10,000 attempts (give or take).
That was all before wakeboarding existed, so it wasn’t even an option at the time. When the boards, now a constant presence on any boat-able water surface in the country, finally came around, I never made the switch. As much as I love it, I’ve never gotten to ski much each year — maybe 20 times at the very most. Any more, I go two or three times a year. I think of skiing all fall, winter and spring, and when an opportunity finally comes, like it did Friday, I can’t fathom using it to learn something else.
So, probably to the chagrin of everyone on the boat, I skied, requiring an entire switchover of equipment.
It didn’t have my best game out there, but I got up on my first time (whew!) and got in plenty of good cuts and swings through the wake. Five minutes later, I was exhausted and let go of the rope.
It was glorious.
I love living in Steamboat Springs because there are tons of things here I like to do. I like to reach the top of a trail while I ride my mountain bike. I like to stand alone in the backcountry on a cool spring day and turn a circle, soaking in the brilliant green around me. I like to stumble into a powder stash in a grove of trees on a run far above my skill level and cut through it like some sort of professional.
But none of those things make me tingle the way water skiing does. I don’t know when I’ll get another chance to slip on that boot, but I’m already excited thinking about it.