North Carolina’s Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills hosts a grab bag of adventure sports and activities for families, outdoor explorers, and top athletes to enjoy. While there is plenty of boots-on-the-ground fun to be had here, water sports, especially water-skiing, are perhaps one of Lake Lure’s most treasured assets. Boasting 720 acres, this man-made lake in the Blue Ridge Mountains is surrounded by towering rock faces with three long coves that are perfect for running slaloms or learning the sport for the first time.
The region’s oldest water-ski club, the Lake Lure Ski Club, started here in 1963 by a group of enthusiasts and their families. Lake Lure resident Ina (who only goes by one name) was one of the original founders of the club along with George and Barbara Bond and show skier Richard Kimberly. “I was still learning to ski,” recalls Ina, “I was home from college and Richard had been teaching a lot of the young people. We thought it would be great to put on a ski show.”
The club met regularly for years and throughout the season would put on family-friendly shows that lined the shores with spectators. Ina, who still teaches water-skiing today, fell in love with not only the physical benefits of the sport, but the relational ones as well. “It gave us a chance to get to know each other,” she says, “to socialize and learn the sport. You go out and have a great time, encourage each other, help each other and we learned the responsibility of taking care of the ropes and equipment.”
Over the years, the club membership has ebbed and flowed with the last burst of activity from 2006-2012. Genevieve Helms, co-owner with husband Mark Helms of Lake Lure Adventure Company, first experienced the thrill of water-skiing when her father, Richard Loftus, retired in 1990. She remembers fondly learning the sport from greats such as Ina and other club members.
“Ina is a graceful and strong skier. She taught me everything I know about show skiing and is an advocate for the sport. She is a shining example of how water-skiing can be a great sport for any age,” says Helms.
The attractiveness of the lake with its deep coves, short wakes and glassy water isn’t the only draw for water sport lovers Helms adds. The stunning backdrops and friendly neighbors are a big part of the joy of skiing. She and her staff at Lake Lure Adventure Company teach water-skiing, as well as other watersports like wakeboarding and wake-surfing. “We love all the quiet spots we can find to start a new skier.”
Helms says that there has been a steady increase in interest in water-skiing over the past few years and both Ina and Helms are committed to helping that growth.
“I would like to see a ski club again,” says Ina. “You need new blood every year to keep things going.”
From school-aged children to adults of all ages, Lake Lure is a great venue to learn, practice and excel at the sport of water-skiing. Book a lesson or ski trip or get a permit and use your own boat. To start planning your next water-skiing adventure to Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills, visit www.TimeOfYourLifeNC.com.