An avid water skier and competition officiate, admissions counselor Katie Martin is out on the lake as much as possible when she has the opportunity to visit her family on Lake Lakengren, Ohio.
Skiing has been a lifelong activity for Martin. Her family were water skiers even before she was born.
“It actually started in my family when my dad was between 25 and 30,” she said. “The first time I was in a boat, I was probably about six or seven months old. Ever since I can remember, we were out on the water.”
Her father’s passion for skiing led to her family to get involved in various types of ski-related activities.
“The first time that I was actually out on the water behind the boat was when I was about two or three,” said Martin.
At roughly age six, Martin began to display her skiing skills publicly as a part of the Lake Lakengren water ski team.
“My dad and I started skiing together on the show ski team,” she said. “We did mixed doubles. It was kind of like a musical on water.”
As a part of show skiing, Martin’s father was attached to the boat via a harness. By freeing his hands in this manner, he was able to hold Martin above the water, and they performed a variety of aerial maneuvers and stunts.
“It was a little scary sometimes but a lot of fun,” Martin said. “We would do a show that was themed every year and then have acts that matched up within that.”
Show skiing arrangements are typically 30 to 45 minutes in length and feature a series of acts put on by skilled performers. When Martin was not on the water, she worked behind-the-scenes, quickly organizing ropes, props and costumes.
“My family started barefoot waterskiing when I was about 5,” she said. “They started skiing at the state level, then the regional level and then they started qualifying for nationals. It got really busy really fast.”
Martin engages in barefoot skiing for recreation. However, she prefers to officiate barefoot events rather than compete.
“I have barefooted very limitedly, but I can get up,” Martin said. “It’s a weird feeling not having any skis or anything.”
There are three different types of events in competitive barefoot skiing -– slalom or wake, tricks and jumps. Martin now helps with the scoring of these events at different competitive levels and age divisions.
“When I can get away, I travel around with them and help with officiating and scoring the tournaments,” Martin said. “At regionals and nationals, I take all of the notes from the judges in the boat and figure out what they wrote and scoring point totals.”
Slalom or wake events are scored by counting how many times the skier crosses over the wake line behind the boat and jumps are scored based on distance covered in the air. Scoring for tricks is dependent on the level of difficulty and execution.
“It is a lot of paperwork, as exciting as that sounds,” Martin said. “Basically, as soon as a skier was done with their ski run, there are three judges in the boat, and they would write down exactly what they saw. Then, they would hand those to us on shore. I would be there to help them score those and tally up whatever the judges had.”
However, in order to ensure that there is no tampering with the scores or biases, Martin was never allowed to tally the scores of her family members. Sometimes, depending on the level of the competition, she is not even allowed to work with the scores from a specific age group or division if she has a relative in that group.
“Skiers often travel about 20 plus hours to ski for a total of about three minutes sometimes,” Martin said. “But it’s worth it.”
Shown through her involvement at various events and competitions and her own recreational skiing, Martin has a fondness for the sport and the water that has been a part of her life since day one.
“It’s a little bit harder [to spend time skiing] now that I’ve moved away from the lake,” she said. “Lake Sno Tip isn’t quite big enough for me. Whenever I go home, if the boat is anywhere near the water, then I go out and ski.”