For the week of July 21, 1999  thru July 27, 1999  

To slalom in summer

Bellevue lake offers bliss for water skiers

Express Staff Writer

Slalom water skier Jim Vila makes a high-speed turn around a buoy on MGM Lake in Bellevue. The lake is one of three tournament lakes in the state of Idaho.

Every summer day is like a powder day on MGM Lake in Bellevue.

No ordinary lake, the 2,300-foot long, man-made lake two miles south of Bellevue is a water skier’s dream come true thanks to the lake’s designer and builder, Greg Deutsch.

The Bellevue resident and professional water skier designed the lake for water skiing, and especially for competitive slalom.

The slalom water skiing course takes skiers through a long stretch at high speeds with turns marked by buoys.

Deutsch and partner Miles Stanislaw, of Ketchum, brought the slalom skiing lake—or tournament lake—to Bellevue in 1996.

It is one of only three tournament lakes in the state of Idaho, according to Deutsch.

"I’ve skied hundreds of tournament lakes across the country over the last 20 years," Deutsch said. "I tried to take the best features of all of them and bring them to MGM."

One of its key features is its virtually wave-free surface, which Deutsch controlled by sloping the banks so that waves generated by boats dissipate instead of bouncing back from the shoreline.

"On a public lake without controlled conditions, there are big waves everywhere, which makes it difficult to ski," Deutsch said.

For an annual fee of $3,500, anyone can become a member of man-made MGM Lake and ski its wake-less water.

A Mastercraft boat, gas and equipment are provided to members. Also, Deutsch and Stanislaw assist beginners and provide safety guidelines.

The boat is equipped with the innovative "Perfect Pass" computer system, which is a kind of automatic pilot for drivers, Deutsch said.

The computer allows the driver to maintain an exact speed according to the skier’s weight and ability.

Using the Perfect Pass System, experienced slalom skiers can get whipped through the course at speeds of up to 60 miles-per-hour.

"You can go from 20 miles-per-hour to 60 miles-per-hour in less than a second, so there’s plenty of G-forces," Deutsch said.

The system also enables inexperienced drivers to take the helm, Deutsch said.

Initially, MGM Lake was about as well received as a sprawling subdivision. Residents living nearby had concerns about noise and excessive water consumption.

Also, the Blaine County Commissioners frowned on a recreational use as opposed to an agricultural use on county land, Deutsch said.

"It took us three years of fighting the commissioners to get it built," Deutsch said.

That exhausting battle inspired the lake’s name, which stands for "Mile’s and Greg’s Miracle."

As for the residents, "they love it now," Deutsch said.

"There is no noise for them, and the only water wasted is water lost from evaporation," Deutsch said.

Water consumption is much lower than what residents anticipated.

That’s because of Deutsch’s design, which diverts water from an irrigation canal to fill the lake and returns it to the canal. A control gate controls the flow of water into the lake.

"It’s like a holding pond," Deutsch said. "The only water wasted is water lost to evaporation."


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