Aberdeen Aqua Addicts to host 2024 show ski regional

Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 5:42 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Aqua Addicts have been making a splash in the Aberdeen community since 1996.

That’s when the Thorson family first put together the show ski team. They started out practicing at the Thorson’s home on Mina Lake and most of the members were recruited from Todd Thorson’s track team at Aberdeen Central High School.

Since their first show at Wylie Lake 27 years ago, the team has grown substantially.

”It was about 40 members. We just started to grow every year and before you know it, we had around 100 members and we’ve been hovering around that 50-skier range since then,” said Todd Thorson.

In 2011, Gary Dahme of Dahme Construction allowed the team to start leasing their own lake on the south side of Aberdeen off Highway 281.

“We started skiing out here and we built the whole shoreline, built a clubhouse, a bathroom, a shade shelter, a shed, and bleachers,” said Todd.

The Thorson family says the secluded lake has been a blessing for the team.

“It makes it way more difficult when we’re fighting other boats, other skiers, other swimmers, so this is really nice to be able to have our own space,” said Ashlee Thorson, Todd’s 22-year-old daughter who now has taken over the programming of the team’s shows.

Every Thursday night at 7 p.m. during the summer, the team puts on a show that includes not just extravagant skiing, but also dancing, acting, comedy, and costumes. The skiers in the show come from all ages and all experience levels.

“The youngest skiers we have in the show are six years old, and they’re a set of twins. The oldest skiers are another set of twins, my twin brother and I are 52. So, we have all sorts of ranges of people skiing in the show, age ranges. It’s something that the whole family can enjoy,” said Todd.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the team’s mission is to be inclusive and accessible to all. That includes low ticket costs for their show, which is just $5 for adults.

“We want a whole car full of people to be able to come and make it affordable,” said Todd.

Low membership costs of just $150, which can be sponsored if needed, attract plenty of beginners to join the team. Olivia Hatzenbuhler is a first-year member of the team and is already skiing in two events at 10 years old.

“I’ve always come here camping, and we’ve always went to the shows. I’ve always to join the ski team. It’s just really fun because you get to be with a bunch of friends,” said Hatzenbuhler.

The Aqua Addicts have also produced some of the nation’s top talent in the skiing world.

“We’ve had seven people that have skied professionally that went on from here in Aberdeen, South Dakota. We actually had three Team USA members that have skied with us. For little Aberdeen, South Dakota, to produce that kind of talent is outstanding,” said Todd.

And after a 5th-place team finish at the Midwest Region Ski Show Tournament in July, the Aqua Addicts are preparing to host the competition in 2024.

”This is actually considered one of the top five facilities in the world, not just the U.S. South Dakota, Aberdeen, we feel pretty fortunate to have such a nice place. That is why we’re lucky enough to host the Midwest Region with 700 skiers. They’re going to come all the way to Aberdeen because of how nice the facility is,” said Todd.

The last show of the Aqua Addicts’ 2023 season will be on August 24th.