Greg Alsbury pops up out of the water as if he were weightless, gliding across the surface on a single ski at 34 mph. He whips in and out of the slalom course, marked by colored buoys, down one of two half-mile long lakes at Rosewater water-ski community in North Kalispell off Rose Crossing.
Rosewater is Kalispell’s first, and only, water-ski community, which includes two side-by-side lakes each equipped with slalom courses and 58 lots on 154 acres. Thirty-five property sites sit along the waterfront, while 11 are off the water and another 12 will accommodate townhomes. Lot prices range from $75,000 to $261,000, according to Rosewater’s website.
About a dozen of the community’s lots have sold, developer Bill Tanner said Wednesday, and he hopes that this weekend’s water-ski clinic and demonstration will help generate more interest in the burgeoning community.
On Aug. 5 and 6, Rosewater will host pro water-skiers, Terry Winter and Trent Finlayson who will conduct clinics for interested skiers in the afternoons. Both mornings will commence at 10 a.m. with an open house and tour of the community, followed by a pro showcase and water-ski tournament.
After lunch, pros will host clinics and skiers will take on the slalom course in a second tournament. To round out the day’s events, waterski buffs can hit the lake to demo water-skis provided by Radar.
“It’s just a weekend where people can come enjoy the lake and get some instruction and see some pros ski and meet other people,” Tanner said. “And of course it’s good for me because I’m hoping to sell more lots.”
Tanner scheduled the event to align with Canada’s Civic Holiday to draw more Canadian buyers to the community.
Vince Harker, of southern Alberta, purchased a lot in Rosewater last year so he could ski without the hazard of large waves created by big boats on public lakes.
“We’re Canadians — here’s the deal, we save up our money and come down here and spend it,” Harker said with a laugh. “This is great for dedicated skiers. I mean, look at the water — no big waves.”
Rosewater isn’t the only water-ski community in Montana — waterskiing developments exist in Helena, Bozeman and St. Ignatius.
Tanner said Rosewater will help perpetuate the sport in the Big Sky state.
“That’s really the sad part about it, is that we had to do this specifically because you can’t have a slalom course on any of the public lakes. That’s what really drives this,” he said. “In Montana, fish and game will not allow courses on any of the public lakes — they consider it a navigational hazard. We’ve had a course on Echo (Lake) for years but now they closed that off.”
Slalom waterskiing is done on a single ski and skiers weave in and out of buoys. The competition is based on the speed of the skier and the length of the rope, Tanner said.
“The shorter the rope, the harder it is to make the slalom course,” Tanner explained.
A typical water-ski rope measures 75 feet, but a professional skier might ski with a shortened rope, he said.
In addition to waterskiing, residents can wakeboard or tube on the two lakes and swim, stand-up paddleboard and kayak in the no-wake zone, which adjoins the two bodies of water.
Tanner is expecting between 100 and 150 visitors to attend this weekend’s showcase, including a combination of prospective buyers from the northwestern U.S. and Canada.
For more information on Rosewater waker-ski community, visit: www.rosewaterski.com.