North Saskatchewan River, AB - Ken Nelson
My Watermark is Shalom Park along the North Saskatchewan River.
When I decided to build Shalom Park it was kind of like a field of dreams, I guess. The comparison I make is the the Oilers don't play hockey on Pigeon Lake because it's lousy ice, and we don't waterski on Pigeon Lake because it's lousy water. Boat traffic, wind waves, the conditions here are controlled unbelievably well. Even today when it was a bit breezy, the skiers were skiing phenomenal results because the conditions were so excellent for them.
When I designed the lake, and fortunately I have an engineering background, I realized that having a very flat shoreline that goes our real shallow for a long ways would kill the wake, so there's no backwash going back into the lake. The conditions are perfect for every pass.
Slalom skiing has been a life-changing event. I was a fairly timid kid when I was younger and didn't really have a great deal of self-confidence. As I developed my skiing skills, I became more and more enabled to believe in myself and it's been a thrill to be able to share the sport with thousands of people, kids mostly over the years. We've been here for over 30 years now and it's just a life changing experience for me.
Some of the events we run are thing like New Kids on the Water, teaching kids 5-12 years of age to waterski. We also have an event called Honour Day for the military. We invite them out just to have a great day of waterskiing and it's been a thrill to have that kind of an opportunity to share a sport with them, and show them how much we appreciate what they do for our country.
One of the wonderful things about buying this particular parcel of land that fit my dream was a source of water. We are literally beside the North Saskatchewan River. We have three quarters of a mile of river frontage and that made it perfect because we knew we'd never be short of water. We have a license to take water if we have a long dry spell, on the other hand, if we have a long wet spell we can drain water into the river. It has worked beautiful for us.
The other feature too is that the North Saskatchewan river bank rises very high on the north and west sides of our lake and that gives us tremendous wind protection. So a high wind up top is just a light breeze down here. It just works very well.