Building a waterski pyramid at Hauser Lake near Helena, Montana
Left to Right: Derek, Luke & Ross
It took us at least 8 different configurations of ropes and skis until we finally got all 3 of us up on this attempt.
At first we tried 3 different handles coming off a single rope. Ross and I were on combo skis and Luke was in the middle with a slalom ski on. The pull of the rope slammed us all together and made it impossible to get up. Because Luke's rope was slightly longer, his ski was raking our legs the whole time as we ploughed our faces through the water at a very slow speed.
Luke hopped in the boat and we tested getting up with just two skiers. We were too close together and kept knocking each other down still. So after a few of those attempts, the boat scooted back to the dock to get two separate ropes so we could spread out a bit more. Ross and I were far enough from the dock that a boater who saw us in the water came over and asked if we needed help. We looked a little lost -- two guys just floating in the lake, each wearing a pair of skis. Once they came back with our two separate ropes, Ross and I got up fairly easily.
We added Luke's middle rope to the mix and tried it again, but despite the space, it was still too much drag. But we just didn't have any more combo skis. We were figuring out how to put one of the kids' skis on Luke when R suggested we mix in one more slalom ski to free up a ski for Luke. We shuffled the deck and Ross and I ended up wearing a slalom ski and a combo ski each, while Luke took one red combo ski and one blue combo ski. We lined up our skis so that he could try to slip his feet into the rear hacks of our inside skis.
By this point, we had been at it for at least an hour and enthusiasm was waning. We decided to give it one more try with this new configuration. If it didn't work, then we were done. Fortunately, the extra ski made all the difference and we were able to get up. Luke dropped one of his skis almost immediately. He said it mostly got knocked off as we all came together in the middle. He stepped onto the back of one ski and then when he dropped the other one we really started to drag. It's hard to give the thumbs-up signal to go faster when you are half-way into a pyramid. Fortunately, the driver could hear me screaming.
I have to hand it to Luke. I couldn't tell exactly what was going on because he was just behind us, but multiple times I thought the whole thing was over, but he hung on and kept it going. He climbed and climbed until he had one foot on Ross' shoulder and one on my thigh. When he made the final move to stand on my shoulder, something went wrong and I lost it -- veering away from the middle for a moment. Luke went into the splits an admirable distance before he toppled off the back of our pyramid.
Still, we were in the pyramid for a very brief moment. So Nikki had to follow through on her deal and attempt to ski the next day. My hands were absolutely raw from all the dragging that we did.
Here's what my Dad had to say about building pyramids, based on his experience as a teenager back in Idaho:
I was very impressed that you came up with this as a thing to do.
You think it might be hard, but it is more complicated than you expect.
In the old days, getting a boat that would get everyone up was a challenge, too.
We nearly drowned before we got it right.
Remember, after we got up and did a show off loop or two, Chris (our Luke) would do a back flip off our shoulders to punctuate the fun.
A back flip is a good idea. It's nice to have something new to work towards at the next reunion.