Great Water skiing and World Class Coaching in a very relaxed environment
My name is Stefan van der Wekken, I live in The Netherlands, and I am a recreational slalom skier since 2006. In November 2016 my wife and I travelled to Florida for the first time to extend the waterski season in combination with a vacation. We chose Jodi Fisher’s ski school because we met Jodi during one of his Coaching World Tour Stops at The Red Lake in The Netherlands, some years back. An appointment in Orlando was quickly made!
For everybody, regardless of your waterski level, Lake Gifford is a perfect location to combine training with having a great time in Florida. Lake Gifford is the home site of Jodi Fisher’s ski school. It’s where his family lives and they have an open house attitude with all their students.
The facility is located southwest from Orlando in Winter Garden. It’s well reachable with restaurants and plenty of other activities around. With Disney World as next door neighbor, there are lots of accommodation options to find just minutes away from the ski school. B&B’s, hotels or more luxury rental villas and resorts.
Airports are close as well. MCO Orlando International Airport is approx. 30 min and Sanford Airport approx. 50 min from the lake. Miami is reachable in 3,5 hours by car. Some distances: Downtown Orlando 25 miles, Celebration 10 miles, Winter Garden 16 miles, Clermont 20 miles, Disney World 7 miles, Disney Spring 12 miles.
The ski site is a fresh natural lake, a previous “sinkhole”. As far as I understand from the 1600’s fully surrounded by pine trees, which give perfect protection from the wind when this comes with directions from the northwest, the north or the northeast.
There is a homologated 6 buoy slalom course with a jump ramp which makes this location suitable for three event training. The ski school is managed by Jodi Fisher who offers great coaching in all three event disciplines for every level.
Opening hours are during the week from 08.00 am – 6.00 pm and in the weekend on Saturday from 08.00 am – 2.00 pm and Sunday from 09.00 am – 12.00 pm.
Jodi is a great host. After a warm welcome you will immediately get the feeling to be a part of a waterski family with members from all around the globe. Lots of stories are told and more important, lots of friendships are made there on the starting dock. The dock is also a relaxing area with a view directly over the lake and the slalom course.
There is a small beach with hammocks on the west side of the lake and a real Tiki beach bar named “Billy’s Bar”. Often, after a beautiful day of skiing, a spontaneous BBQ is organized. And I can tell you, things that happen at Billy’s Bar, will stay in Billy’s Bar 😊.
The beach and bar are perfect to rest and relax during the day between your ski sets. And it’s a great place to have lunch. Note: There is no food supplied. The fridge is filled with cold drinks, snacks and ice creams, which can be bought for a small price. There is a complete pro shop with everything you need to ski. Jodi also offers his little workshop with tools to adjust your ski materials with or without his help.
Tip: Combine your day with 2 ski sets in the morning and play some golf in the afternoon on one of the nearby well known golfcourses around Lake Gifford.
Text and photos Stefan van der Wekken, February 2019.