At the 73rd GOODE Water Ski National Championships held last August in West Palm Beach, Fla., an astonishing 68 percent – or 21 out of 31 – of slalom titles were won on GOODEs. As we endure the off season here in North America, we are going to attempt to interview each of those 21 National champions, because even though they may have all been using the same brand of ski, they all have their own story.
Next up is Men’s 9 Slalom Champion Jerry Hosner of Fenton, Michigan, who at the age of 77 won his 11th national slalom title – and 39th across all events – at this year’s Nationals.
How’d you get your start in skiing?
I have been skiing since 1959 and started tournaments in 1961. I ski on Lake Shannon near Fenton, Michigan. We have an active ski club on the lake. We start skiing in April as soon as the ice is out and can usually go until the end of October. Naturally we hit it pretty hard during that window. It always seems like we’re either just getting in shape or the season is running out. We can’t afford to miss many days because of poor conditions so we usually just go. I’m a three eventer so I typically ski about five days a week.
How many Nationals have you skied in?
I’ve skied in Nationals about forty times starting in 1964. I also skied in the 1968 Masters tournament. I have had the good fortune to make the podium 73 times over the years, while 39 of the medals were gold spread between slalom, tricks, jumping and overall. In slalom I have 11 gold medals including this past season’s.
Does winning ever get old?
I was every bit as nervous this year as I’ve always been. It didn’t help that I had to go back out and ski a run-off to win. That said, the thrill of winning never gets old. I won this year on a 69-inch 9500. All of my slalom wins have been on Goode skis.
How do you stay is such great skiing shape?
Since our season is so short I’ve always done a lot of cross training. I like to rollerblade, bike, play basketball and do weight and balance training. I also pay a lot of attention to such things as nutrition. As for practice, I’m a great believer in goal setting. I set a mini goal every time I go out. I keep a daily log and note any discoveries I make. If I start having a problem I can usually go back to my notes and find something I’ve stopped doing.
You’ve obviously dedicated a large part of your life to skiing. Why is it so special to you?
Waterskiing is not a sport you can do by yourself. I’m grateful to all the drivers I’ve had over the years and all the people who have watched me ski and given me tips. I owe much to my fellow competitors who have pushed me to the limit. These guys are also among my dearest friends, which is another great thing about this sport.
What has skiing meant to you over the years?
The sport has been very good to me. I have a great network of friends all around the country. I look forward to the Nationals every year to see and catch up with everyone. The sport has kept me in shape. During my working days it was also a great stress reliever and probably saved me from going crazy. At my age I know I wouldn’t be nearly as fit as I am if I didn’t ski. People are always astonished when I tell them I still ski. To me it just seems normal.