Ski shows set for Aug. 13-14 during Looney Days festivities
By Barbie Porter
Katie Halverson is often seen water skiing inches from another person, or with someone standing between their shoulders.
Those attending Looney Days on Friday, Aug. 13 and Saturday, Aug. 14 will have an opportunity to see the rural Frazee resident perform along with all of the other members of the water ski show team. Both days will provide two shows, one at 4:30 p.m. and another at 5:30 p.m. Spectators will be able to watch the show from shore at Loon Park.
“When I first started, I had never done a dock-start, so that was the first thing I learned. By the end of my first season, I was learning to do a dock-start with a girl sitting on my shoulders, figuring out how to do 360’s on trick skis, and skiing on a single ski for our ballet line.”
– Katie Halverson on joining the ski team
Anyone interested in watching from their boats must stay clear of the performance area.
The daughter of Darrell and Varian Halverson began water skiing when she was about six. Growing up on a lake provided consistent access to keep working at the sport. Thinking back to those formative years, Halverson said the most challenging aspect of learning to ski was figuring out her balance point.
“Once you learn that, then the fun is just beginning,” she said, adding some of the early fun included learning to slalom ski.
With the territory of learning something new, Halverson said there comes many falls.
“But, every time I fall I have an opportunity to learn what I did wrong and work on correcting it the next time. After hours of practice and usually many falls, the act becomes natural and it is a great feeling of accomplishment,” she said.
In 2017, Halverson learned there was a group of people based in Park Rapids, Minn., who loved the sport as much as she did, created a water ski team that offered shows to the public. The 2012 home school graduate, who participated in Frazee High School sports, said a friend tipped her off about the team. When she showed interest an invite to join the team practices was extended.
“And, I was hooked ever since,” Halverson said.
When the North Stars Water Ski Team formed in Detroit Lakes in 2019, Halverson joined that team as well. Practicing and performing with two teams has sharpened her skill set, but those putting on the show provide opportunities for all levels and abilities.
“When I first started, I had never done a dock-start, so that was the first thing I learned,” Halverson recalled. “By the end of my first season, I was learning to do a dock start with a girl sitting on my shoulders, figuring out how to do 360’s on trick skis, and skiing on a single ski for our ballet line.”
Now, Halverson continues to perform the acts she learned early in her ski performance career and has added many new tricks. Currently, she is learning how to swivel ski.
“A swivel ski is a wide ski with a single binding that rotates 360 degrees allowing the skier to rotate backwards while the front of the ski is still pointed toward the boat (imagine a ballerina on a water ski),” Halverson said. “It has been a very fun challenge, but Twila (Beyer) has been a great help to coach me on it! I am also learning how to barefoot ski.”
All of the practice builds up to the big show where residents pack the shorelines to catch a glimpse of the acrobatics and seemingly impossible tricks. Halverson said the Park Rapids team does three shows each summer, while the Detroit Lakes team is performing two shows this year, both in Vergas.
“Friday will be a shorter 30-minute show, but Saturday will be an hour long with more acts,” she said, adding those attending can plan on seeing barefoot skiing, big pyramids and swivel skiing.
If anyone attending the show or is a water skiing enthusiast and interested in joining the ski team, Halverson encouraged them to visit their Facebook page, North Stars Water Ski Show Team, or call (407) 729-5872.
“The North Stars would love to have you join the ski team,” Halverson said.