Ketchum water skiers Mike Hanley and Alison Poulsen won first places in slalom skiing for their respective age group divisions during the Western Regional Water Ski Championships July 24-26.
The competition took place at Laku Landing in Windsor, Colorado. Over 250 water skiers from 14 different states competed in slalom, jumping and trick skiing.
Hanley had an exceptional record-setting performance.
He set a Western Regional record with a score of 4.5 buoys at a rope length measured at 38 feet shorter than a full length ski rope. The previous regional record in 2018 was 2.5 buoys with a 38-foot off ski rope.
Hanley competed in Men’s 7 Division for skiers ages 65-70. Maximum boat speed in the Men’s 7 Division is 32 miles per hour. That was the speed Hanley chose for the contest.
Said Hanley, “When I got on the water I was totally focused on bringing my best technique in order to place as high as I could. Setting a record was the furthest thing from my mind. It was quite a feeling when I realized I had won. To set a record was amazing.”
Poulsen was seeded No. 1 in the Women’s 5 Division. She won with a score of 3 buoys at 35 feet off a standard ski rope. Poulsen also chose to ski at the maximum speed for her division which is also 32 mph.
Poulsen was the last skier off the dock in her division because she was the No. 1 seed and she won by one-half a buoy. She narrowly beat the Women’s 5 Division No. 1 seed who had a score of 2 1/2 buoys.
That one-half a buoy was all that Poulsen needed to win.
Poulsen is the current defending National Champion in the Women’s 5 Division and a multi-time regional and national champion.
She will defend her title at this year’s National Championship set for West Palm Beach in Florida Aug. 7-10.
Poulsen said, “Winning is great but what really drives me is the sheer joy I get from just participating in this sport.”
Hanley and Poulsen train at MGM Ski Lake south of Bellevue. Both are coached by Miles Stanislaw.
Stanislaw was seeded No. 1 in the U.S. in his age division last year. He was unable to compete in 2019 due to injuries.