TROPHY LAKES HISTORY

Built in 1985 by Skiers for Skiers 

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TROPHY LAKES TIMELIME

THE BEGINNING

In 1985 skiers Kim Bryant and Alan Sanner built Trophy Lakes. They wanted to build it specifically for skiers. There are two lakes with two slalom courses and one jump. Lake 1 has the optimal lake design: 275 feet wide, 2,250 feet long, an average depth of 10 to 12 feet, as well as 10 to 1 slopes. Lake 2, although a little shorter than Lake 1, is an equally equipped lake for slalom or wakeboard.

SALAOM SKIING SCHOOL

Kim and Alan opened a water skiing school after Lake 1 was built. The school has brought ski and wake instructors with the ability to coach a variety of levels of skiing. With their coaching, Trophy Lakes produced many regional and national water skiing champions. In the mid-to-late nineties, coaches Doug and Drew Ross moved to Charleston and put Trophy Lakes on all water skiers’ “must-visit” list. 

TODAY

3 decades have passed since Trophy Lakes was originally constructed, and it is still offering water ski athletes with some of the best world-class facilities. Trophy Lakes has been an exclusive MasterCraft site since the beginning. Trophy Lakes’ ski and wake instructors come from around the world and offer a wide variety of teaching styles to cater to the needs of amateur to professional athletes.

Trophy Lakes – A world record lake

Here is what WaterSki magazine had to say about Trophy lakes:

Waterski, May 2004
The Best Damn Ski Lake. Period.
By Chris Tauber

Trophy Lakes, specifically Lake 1 of the three-lake site, has been tested, and no one can beat its results. Owners Kim Bryant and Alan Sanner, both of whom have shoresides homes at the site, have held record tournaments since 1991. Andy Mapple notched a new world record here, 3 1/4 at 41 off. On the International Water Ski Federation’s update of the men’s slalom world record, five of the past eight entries came from Trophy Lakes. The women’s world record has been set or tied here three of the last five times. Until Jim Michaels set a new Men IV record last year at his own lake, every age division from Men I to Men VI, except Men III, set its record at Trophy Lakes. Mastercraft has kept the ball rolling by offering a $25,000 bonus again this year for the skier who can break the men’s slalom world record at Trophy and hold it as of December 31. In addition, the 21 flags hanging along the far side of Lake 1 signify each country whose national record was set here.

Waterski, March 2001

Charleston Sabbatical
By Aimee Hagedorn

Fall had arrived, signaling the end of another ski season. Although skiing is my passion, I always look forward to the ”off-season.” Because I live in South Florida and ski year-round, my ”off-season” consists of getting back to the gym during the week and then getting a few sets in on the weekends. It’s also a great time to try new equipment, which is exactly what one of my ski partners, Trish Burt, and I decided to do on a late October weekend last fall.

On the Road

Craving a change in scenery, Trish and I headed to the beautiful and charming city of Charleston, South Carolina. Famous for its historical sights and cultural attractions, Charleston is also home to Trophy Lakes – a water skier’s paradise. There are two world-class, man-made ski lakes at the site, and dozens of world and national records have been set here. Since Trophy Lakes is only six miles from downtown Charleston, it is easy to get to the city to enjoy the many attractions it has to offer. If you’re a water skier and a tourist, you get the best of both worlds when you visit Charleston.

As it turns out, Trish and I weren’t the only ones with the idea to get away and experiment with new skis. Arriving at the lake Saturday morning, we met Pete Smith from Mt. Airy, North Carolina, who had come down to check out Trophy Lakes’ recently expanded pro shop. Seth Stisher, pro shop manager, ski school instructor and a challenger on the U.S. Pro Water Ski Tour, greeted us. After making our selections from the shop, Seth set up some skis for us to try.

Out & About

After several hours of testing skis with varying degrees of success, we found ourselves hungry for food and sightseeing, so Trish, Pete, Seth and I headed downtown. First we feasted on a hot Southern meal from Jestine’s Kitchen, and then we strolled down Market Street and through the aisles of vendors at the City Market. One of the most familiar sights at the Market is that of the basket-weaving ladies selling their handcrafted sweetgrass creations on every corner.

Our next destination was Waterfront Park. With a 400-foot pier that overlooks the scenic Cooper River, it’s a perfect place to take a leisurely break from shopping and sightseeing. We then headed down East Bay Street to the Battery for a quick history lesson. Beyond the Battery’s seawall is Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter, the site at which the Civil War began on April 12, 1861.

At the end of the afternoon, the lake beckoned us once again. As slalom die-hards, none of us could resist taking one more set on Trophy Lakes’ glassy waters. Once the sun had set, Trish, Pete and I returned to our hotel rooms to get ready for dinner and drinks in the heart of Charleston.

For dinner, Seth guided us to a wonderful tapas restaurant called Meritäge. We dined outdoors while Seth entertained us all with his dry wit and Pete with his southern accent. After our meal, we sampled the Charleston nightlife at Henry’s on Market Street, an upscale gathering place for locals and tourists alike. We people-watched and talked about the day of testing and training over a few drinks until we called it a night.

It’s a Wrap

We returned to Trophy Lakes early Sunday morning to get in another quick set or two before hitting the road. Kim Bryant, one of the site’s owners, joined us as our driver this time so Seth could focus on dialing in the skis. After a few more tweaks of the fin, Trish found herself the owner of a new HO Phantom. Seth recorded the fin measurements and binding placement for her, and he flex-tested the ski as well. Used by every ski manufacturer, the flex-test machine enables water skiers to find a ski with a flex pattern that matches their ski style.

After calling it a wrap, Seth, Pete, Trish and I headed to the Starfish Grille at Folly Beach Pier for brunch. While dining on the outdoor porch, we enjoyed beautiful panoramic views of the ocean, beach, and pier.

It was a long drive for a short stay, but any trip to Charleston and Trophy Lakes is well worth the time. If you can tear yourself away from the lake, there is much to see and do in and around Charleston. The few sights that Trish, Pete, Seth and I took in don’t even begin to scratch the surface. In addition to fine dining and shopping, there are numerous other activities and attractions. Charleston’s beauty and charm, as well as the superb water-skiing facilities, will draw you in quickly and lure you back time and again.

Aimee Hagedorn is a national champion slalom skier who spent three summers working and training at Trophy Lakes. She now lives and trains in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Trophy Lakes has been the site of 13 world records!

TROPHY LAKES

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