Adapted Water Skiing: A Minnesota Pastime

It can only be described as the ultimate experience: flying across the water, controlling your ski by leaning, and then jumping the wake to swing wide across a lake as smooth as glass.  It’s a feeling of power, combined with the exhilaration of spray from a Minnesota lake.  Who would imagine that people with disabilities could water ski?

The sport that began in Europe is now one of the most popular sports at Courage Center and Courage Duluth.  Each spring the water ski program fills with thrill seekers, the daring, and the rest of us who just get a charge out of challenging ourselves.  But our water skiing technique is a bit different.  We have physical limitations and don’t ski in the traditional way.

Cradled in a sling type seat attached to a wide ski board, a person can leave their wheelchair on the shore and find freedom as they fly across the lake pulled by a ski boat.

In recent years adaptations have been developed that allow those with limited balance and limited arm strength to enjoy the sport too.  Specially-designed outriggers help with balance, and tow-rope attachments provide the skier with stability and support while eliminating the tremendous pull that is sometimes overwhelming to any skier.

The popularity of the sport has resulted in a dash to sign up for the program, although we do have some openings for those who want the thrill of adventure!  Our goal is to offer activities that give meaning to life and water-skiing is certainly one of them!  Opportunities are available from June 20 to August 22 at Lake Owasso in Roseville (763-520-0473) and from July 10 to August 14 at Pike Lake in Duluth (218-726-4762)  The cost for an outing is $20 per evening.