Schenectady County

Water ski team to return to Scotia despite floods

A couple of tropical storms didn’t stop the U.S. Water Ski Show Team, which returns this week and is

A couple of tropical storms didn’t stop the U.S. Water Ski Show Team, which returns this week and is bigger than ever.

The team is scheduled to hold its final rehearsal this evening at 7 p.m. in preparation for its summerlong series every Tuesday in the Mohawk River next to Jumpin’ Jacks. The team will also perform before Friday’s concert and fireworks show at Freedom Park and Jumpin’ Jacks.

The fact that the skiers can have a 2012 season pleases team officials, given the flooding that the low-lying areas of Scotia by Schonowee and Washington avenues experienced with tropical storms Irene and Lee last August and September.

“The dock and the stage actually got lifted to the water level. They actually ended up on Jumpin’ Jack’s lawn and the Scotia’s [park] lawn,” said ski team President Eileen Eglin.

Some pieces were lost and others were retrieved downriver, according to Eglin. The team lost its boat lift and its docks and stage were damaged. She estimated it cost between $6,000 and $8,000 to make repairs.

“We’re fortunate. There’s a lot of people out there that lost homes and businesses,” she said.

The team used its reserve funds to repair the damage and purchase another boat lift so it can get its boats out of the river. Mohawk Valley Marine allows the team to store its boats there, which helps them save gas, and charges only for parts to fix the vessels. Jumpin’ Jacks owner Mark Lansing has also been very supportive, Eglin said. In addition to allowing the team to set up next to Jumpin’ Jacks, he has made a cash donation at the end of every recent season.

Scotia Mayor Kris Kastberg praised the work that the ski team did in helping to clean up the river, which had some blockages from debris carried by the storm.

“They went in the river with the boat and got the snags out,” he said. “When you get skiers in there, you’ve got to be careful that nobody’s going to hit it.”

There is still some debris close to the main channel that is a hindrance to navigation, according to Kastberg. The village is trying to address those issues.

Eglin said the team has also been fortunate to pick up about 10 new members. “They’re all very strong skiers, so they should be good,” she said.

She attributed the success in recruiting to a revamped website with an easier contact form. The old form had to be printed out and then be mailed but the new one can be submitted electronically.

The ski team show will continue every Tuesday at 7 p.m. until the last two Tuesdays of August, when the shows will start at 6 p.m. because of the decreasing daylight, according to Eglin. The skiers are even going to do an away show in Long Lake, around 3 p.m. July 21.

The team has been performing for more than 25 years and people seem to enjoy the experience, according to Eglin.

“They can go down there, have a Jack burger, sit down on the lawn, relax and watch the show. We have a lot of people that return every year,” she said.

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