Jun 9, 2008

Tommy Bartlett Ski Show in Trouble

Sad news from the Wisconsin Dells, in, oddly enough, Wisconsin. Tommy Bartlett Ski Shows, one of the oldest, most successful and profitable professional ski shows in the world as of today appears to be facing the reality of canceling the remainder of their shows for the rest summer because of high water / no water.

For those of you who don't know, the Bartlett Ski Shows are on Lake Delton, which is right in Wisconsin Dells and over the course of the weekend torrential rains pounded the area, and much of Wisconsin, which in turn caused the lake level to rise above their stage.

Then, in the ironic and extraordinarily detrimental twist, the lake managed to snake its way around the dam. In effect, the water cut its own channel around the dam, eventually leading to the entire lake basically being drained off all its water.

Said Sauk County emergency management director Jeff Jelinek:
"Up from the dam the lake just got so much pressure and so much water it went over the banks to the river and started making its own channel," Jelinek said. "As the water started exiting the lake, it made its own channel. It went across Highway A and as it got wider it took three homes with it."
From the Milwaukee Journal (hope that above link works) the guy who runs the Bartlett show, Tom Diehl said:
"We haven't had a show since Friday," Diehl said in a telephone interview. "We canceled Saturday and Sunday because of high water," he said. "Today, we're canceling because of no water."
Diehl Continued:
"Last night you could have looked at our stage and the water was four feet above our stage. We have nothing but mud in front of us now. No water. Just mud," Diehl said.
Wish I could think of a funny joke or something to sum up what happened, but, I don't think there is anything funny here. If you read the whole article you will note that some houses were swept away with the water, a big chunk of highway was washed away, and millions of dollars in damage was caused.

As a skier and someone who has been lucky enough to see a bartlett show, know a couple of the people who have skied there and understand the tight-knit community of show-skiing this is very sad for them and a bad day in general for all waterski enthusiasts.

Update: The article we linked to in this post is being continually updated with news and reports, keep clicking on it for updates

Update 2: From Madison.Com, it appears that this problem will be or is having a domino effect as thousands of people appear to have to be evacuated down river.

Update 3: Both sites have pretty captivating (if thats the right word) photo galleries of the damage. Journal Sentinal Madison.Com

Update 4: The Minneapolis Star Tribune says that more dams are in danger.

Update 5: Ugh....depressing video. Dang.

Journal-Sentinal Online


  1. Anonymous9:49 PM

    We very sad to hear about your area . god bless the poor folks who lost their homes. our thoughts and prayers are with sll of you. sincerly the rabes

  2. Anonymous9:55 PM

    wonder how long it will be before they can fix that lake


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