Gallery: Wet Dreams Takes Their Jet Skis Ice Berging


ICE

Colorado is a winter enthusiast’s Mecca. People flock here from all over the world to enjoy every snow activity known to man. The locals pray for a long winter and are enthralled when the first snow falls. I, however, do not share the same enthusiasm for a season that is as worthless as it is uncomfortable. Snow means lake closures and ice fishermen. The jet ski season ends. Depression sets in as I winterize my skis and I anxiously await spring’s arrival. This year I decided I couldn’t spend another winter like that. I heard rumors about there being a shallow lake down south that would thaw occasionally throughout the cold season. If it proved true, Lake Henry would feed my jet ski addiction.

My fellow addicts were on board to make the 3-hour journey if it meant we could ride in January. We all bought the best cold water gear we could afford and waited for our opportunity. The new year brought disappointment when we were told by our contact, Rob, that Lake Henry was frozen solid. I prayed for a jet ski miracle. Two weeks later, Rob informed us that a weeklong warm snap and unusually high winds had helped to free the water from its icy prison. It was time!

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The four of us left bright and early Saturday to make the journey to Ordway, Colorado, a little farm town no one had ever heard of. A dirt road outside of town led us to an oasis of open water and a gravel beach. The euphoria was overwhelming. After starting a bonfire, we donned our cold water gear and launched the skis. On the first ride, I was in the mood for exploring so I headed off on my own. I bee-lined it for the other side of the lake and noticed some ice ahead. Thinking it was just a thin layer I decided to speed up and break it up like we had done with skim ice in the past. I was wrong. To my shock, my ski jumped up on the solid mass. There was no stopping it as it slid farther and farther away from open water. I held on for dear life until the ski slowed. Then I heard the crack.

A moment later I found myself in an icy hole with my ski. I pointed my FX-1 back in the direction from which I came and tried to gas it, hoping the weight of the ski would break a clear path out of the mess I was in. It was to no avail. I held the throttle wide open to try and launch up onto the ice but it didn’t have the power. I climbed up out of my hole and tried to pull the ski up onto the ice with me. As soon as I got it half way up the weight of me and the jet ski proved too much and I fell through the ice and back into the water. Several attempts at doing this made me realize I was in a bad spot. I was making very little headway and was exhausting myself. I was spending far more time in the water than I had planned. I started to thank God that I had upgraded to a proper wetsuit.

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My friends Mike and Ryan anxiously tried to help but I waved them off assuring them that everything was fine. My concern was that I had to get my ski out. It would be a long walk back without it. I turned toward shore where the ice looked to be thicker. Repeating my process of breaking the ice with the weight of myself and the ski, I slowly headed towards land. After what felt like an hour of exhausting ice breaking work I finally reached a spot that held the weight of me and my jet ski. When I got close to shore, Ryan pushed the back of my ski, I pulled from the front, and we managed to get myself and the ski back in open water where we belonged. Thankfully, Rob had the fire going strong for me when I got back.

Some time spent by the fire thawed me out and I was ready for some more riding, this time in a group. We headed back to the ice for some good footage. Ryan found a peninsula of ice sticking out into our ride path and decided to do some “ice berging.” He jumped onto the ice with the ski, slid 50-feet, and rode right back into the water while we cheered him on with laughter. We used the irregular border of the ice as a race course, carving in and out of the small coves it created. A fall into the frigid waters would send us back to shore to thaw out by the fire for a bit, passing the time with ski talk, jokes, and guy humor. Ride, thaw, repeat was the schedule for our outing. It was the break from an ugly winter season that we all desperately needed. Henry David Thoreau says, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” I finally awoke to find myself living a dream; fitting for it to be at Lake Henry.

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Brandon Atkinson

Born in Colorado, Brandon’s entire childhood was spent fishing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. Introduced to jet skiing in 2012 and it instantly became his obsession. He started Wet Dreams Apparel in 2014 in hopes to one day make a full time career out of his passion for being on the water.

2 comments

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  1. linkman 20 January, 2017 at 21:49 Reply

    It sounds like one really fun day! I like how you are shooting down the thinking “it’s too cold to ride.” It’s also busting the myth of the cold water seizure.

  2. Rob smoot 4 February, 2017 at 08:28 Reply

    Those engines love a cold air charge more fuel is able to enter the combustion chamber. The term is volumetric efficiency. As to cold seizure… seizure usually happens from a lean condition. Colder dense air will accept more fuel so if your mix is correct, seizure would not apply. That being said get out there and try it, iceberging is a way cool way to let your winter anxiety go..

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