What Skill level is required?
There is no skill requirement to join the team.  The majority of the members learn almost everything once they join.

Is there an age requirement?
All ages are welcome. We have a Jr. Team that is designed to train those 16 and under.   However, if you are under the age of 16, a parent is required to join (see Jr. Team FAQ).  You are never too old to join – we welcome diversity.

What equipment will I need to provide?
You need a swimsuit and a life vest (wetsuits are optional).  The team provides all skis, ropes and boats. We provide some specialty equipment for learning purposes (wakeboards, trick skis, jumpers, swivel ski), but when someone wants to improve at these skills, they should purchase this equipment on their own.

Do we need to have a boat?
No.  The club has four boats and at least two of them will be available for most practices.

How much ski time will I get?
We practice two-three times per week, in addition to our weekly shows.  It is always free-skiing after the weekly shows.  If you are willing, you will get wet several times each practice you attend.  We emphasize that you will get out of the team what you put into it.

What type of training is offered?
There are several ‘experts’ and ‘ex-professional’ water skiers on the team.  There is always someone available to instruct from the basics to the most difficult maneuvers.  In addition, the team offers several ski clinics throughout the summer to its team members (Barefoot, Wakeboard, Jump, and Swivel) where we fly in expert instructors for special, individualized training.

How much is membership?
Membership prices vary by location (White Bear Area and surrounding residents are offered reduced rates) and number joining (individual vs. family).  There are also active vs. non-active memberships.  Active memberships are less expensive, but require participation in helping the team through volunteering for jobs and participating in fundraisers.
There is also an insurance fee (USA WaterSki Insurance) prices vary (EX: $40-$70 individual, $105 two member family, $180 family of four)

What does my membership get me?
Your membership gets you a lot of water time, excellent training, opportunities to get individualized expert training, a chance to learn and try a lot of disciplines of the sport where all equipment, boats, and a lake are provided. Most importantly, the chance to work with a diverse team and be a part of something spectacular.

What and why do I need USA WaterSki Insurance?

The ski team is insured through USA Water-ski.  They provide our liability insurance and they are our governing body.  In order for our team to stay in compliance with our insurance, every member on the team must have active insurance through USA WaterSki.

Can I get my money back if I decide I am not interested?
No.  We ask that individuals are sure this is something they want to do before they join.  The team only wants members who are serious about it.  In addition, it is virtually impossible to determine what is an appropriate amount to give back when someone has participated in some of the events or practices.

How much time must I commit to each week?
The team practices two-three times per week.  We ask that members try to make at least one of the weekly practices.  How often you practice is up to you, but we feel it is important to note “ you will get out of the team what you put into it”.

When are practices?
Adult practices are Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6:30-dark), with occasional Saturday practices.  Saturday practices are dedicated to working on individual skills (jump, shoe ski, barefoot, ballet, swivel, etc).  The Saturday practices are from 2:30-5:00pm

When are shows?
The shows are every Sunday at 6pm with some exceptions. See our complete schedule.

What if I can’t make some practices or shows?
We understand that everyone has a life with other outside interests.  We also realize it is summer and people like to take vacations.  We simply ask that you let us know when you will not be there so we can plan accordingly.  We also ask that people try to make at least one practice each week when they are in town.

Do you travel?
No.  The Ski Otters do not do traveling shows.  However, we will occasionally enter a show tournament and this may be out of town or out of state.  We would not do more than two tournaments each year.

What does the team do to raise funds?

The team holds various fundraisers throughout the year.  We ask that all members try to help with as many of the fundraisers as possible (past fundraisers have included: Concessions at the Metrodome, Pouring beer at Rhinefest, Hosting Wine/Beer tastings, Selling Raffle tickets, obtaining Ads for our Program, Gold Plate Dinner Fundriasers)

What other work is involved?
Each year we need to get our site ready in the spring.  This includes putting in docks, cleaning up the shoreline, clearing and hauling weeds from the lake, putting in the stage, jump, and floating docks.  Each fall we need to store everything for the winter.  This includes: taking out the docks, jump, and stage.
We do two parades each year (Manitou Days & Heritage Days) and the members are needed to help out with these events as well.  We also produce a program that is handed out at our shows, we rely on members to help bring in advertisements for the program.

Do you practice in the off-season?
Yes.  We start our indoor practices in March in a local gymnasium in White Bear Lake.  We practice weekly until we can hit the water.  We also attend annually, a weekend of clinics in WisconsinDells, WI, the first weekend in March.

What safety measures does the team take?
All of our drivers have been through a certified driver and safety course.  Over ½ of our skiers have been trained in water rescue.  The team complies with the safety guidelines laid out by USA WaterSki.  Skills on the water are taught in a progressive manner where you are slowly eased into each part of a new skill.  We are very adamant that if you are not comfortable doing something, let us know, and we will not ask you to ski in anything you are not comfortable with.

When can I expect to ski in shows?
This is based 100% on ability and attendance.  You need to show that you can ski an act in a practice show prior to ever skiing in a regular show.  For safety reasons, you will need to be proficient in an act prior to ever skiing in a show.

Other than skiing, how can I help out?
We are always looking for people to help with costumes, fundraisers, boat riders, boat spotters, back-up boat drivers, dock and equipment help during shows, sound crew, etc. etc.  If you are interested in participating other than water skiing, we will find a place to utilize you.

Do team members ever ski together on their own time?
The great thing about joining a team, is that everyone on the team shares a common pastime “water skiing”.  Members are always getting together with each other to ski on their own.

How responsive is the team to new members?
We welcome them with open arms.  The bigger we become as a team, the better we can become as a team.  Fresh, new, faces are always good for the team.

Does the team do non-water ski activities together in the off-season?
Yes.  We have a banquet in the winter as well as other activities throughout the year that include the team.

How do I become part of the team?
Fill out the appropriate paperwork (membership form and USA WaterSki membership confirmation) and bring it with you to a practice or show or mail to: Midwest Ski Otters – PO Box 10693 – White Bear Lake, MN  55110.