TOMAHAWK - The Browns Lake Aquaducks traveled all the way from the Lake Geneva area up to Tomahawk this weekend. Why did a whole ski team and all their gear make the long trip? They qualified to compete in the D2 Nationals that were in the Northwoods. I went to the competition to see what it was all about.
The Aquaducks from Burlington, Wisconsin are no strangers to skiing together.
"We practice Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and we have shows on Thursdays. So it's four times a week and then it's drilling, drilling, drilling trying to get it down to an hour," said skier Justin Spiegelhoff.
That hour is the strict time limit they were allowed on the water to wow the judges during the D2 National ski competition. So what do those judges look for?
"They pretty much spell out exactly what they want to see," said Spiegelhoff.
Joel Johanningmeier is the chief judge and has broken it down to four categories.
"Flow, execution, difficulty and spectator appeal," said Johanningmeier. "Then there's also some box scores that we use for theatricals, boat driving, different pieces."
Something that made it a little harder for the Aquaducks was that about 20 skiers on the team had the stomach flu all week.
"People are recovering.. but it's been a pretty tough week," said Spiegelhoff.
But by the smiles on their faces and the constant cheering, you couldn't tell.
And maybe they all got the stomach flu because they are ALWAYS together, even off the water.
"We do family dinners, yesterday we did team bonding, we all went to a national park and hiked," said skier Justine Laux.
Justin and Justine have been skiing with the group since they were little kids. And they aren't the only ones that are in the group for life.
"We range from our 'littles' that we take out on the water that are 14 months and our oldest is 63, I think," said Laux.
No matter the age, the group is always cheering and rooting for one another.
"Stay positive, pump people up. If you have a fall, that's okay. We have something else coming on next," said Laux.
To be at the nationals this weekend, teams had to qualify at state back in July. And this wasn't the first time it was in Tomahawk. The locations rotate every few years, so the event will be back in a couple summers.