Altoona (WQOW) – It started back in 1960, when water sport athletes in the Chippewa Valley wanted to bring together athletics with the performing arts. From there the Ski Sprites were born and 59 years later the group is still entertaining the community.
”It’s people from all over that ski with us, so we have people that ski from 45 minutes away, we have people that live all over and then we come together and put on a show for the community,” says Sprites Skier Greta Glaser. “It’s free, fun, and easy to participate in. It’s cool because we get to give something to the give something that a lot of towns aren’t able to give.”
The Sprites season runs from early June until Labor day, with performances every Wednesday and Sunday at Lake Altoona County Beach. But the performances are just part of the group’s goal, what really holds them together is the desire to give young athletes a safe environment where they can learn a new skill.
”Just like any other sport the Sprites are just like a family, so we kind of provide a safe place for kids to come and hang out all summer,” says skier Ben Walker. “They can spend time on the water having fun.”
”I just came to one of the shows and I thought it was the coolest thing. I saw the pyramids and I was like I want to do that. I want to be on that pyramid, so then I just joined,” says Glaser. “I learned how to do everything. I look forward to it every summer. I’ve met some of my best friends down here so I love it, and I am on top of the four-tier now so I did achieve what I came here to do.”
One area the Sprites pride themselves in is bringing together athletics and the performing arts.
”There is definitely a theater aspect to it, which is not my specialty, but we have two announcers this year that were in drama in high school, and they’re doing great for us,” says Jacob Weber, the show director. “It’s definitely putting together those things. There’s a lot of time spent in making that cohesive because it is kind of two different worlds that you’re bringing together.”
The show this year is “Jumanski” based off of the children’s book “Jumanji.” The team spent a lot of months preparing this one, and hope the story on the water will bring out the child in all who see it.
”It’s something different that most people haven’t seen or most people haven’t done,” says skier Riley Guntner. “It’s pretty entertaining, we all have our cool acts. It’s pretty fun.”