Borderline Lake, longtime water ski park, up for sale


Borderline Lake, a 105-acre property in Blaine that has been host to the highest levels of water skiing competition for decades, is on the market for the first time in 40 years.

The property has been owned in part by the Goodman family, who bought the land along with three other families in the 1980s with the intent to build a private water ski sanctuary. After years of jostling the public for practice space at Lake Samish south of Bellingham, 8610 White Road was purchased.

Ron Goodman likened skiing at Lake Samish to an Olympic gymnast training on elementary school monkey bars.

Borderline Lake has been home to multiple National Collegiate All-Star events, hosted college water ski teams from across the country, and brought hundreds of the world’s best water skiers to its shores, Goodman said.

Four decades on, the Goodman family – who manufacture high-end water skis and jumps as Goodman Skis – have decided to sell, with a plan on building an even bigger manmade lake on a new property north of Spokane.

As Goodman Skis started in the mid-’90s and grew, Borderline Lake became its testing ground for new and innovative water ski designs. Goodman was the crash test dummy.

“Those beginning years were a lot of fun,” Goodman said. “You’re pioneering stuff that has never been done before and nobody can tell you how to do it.”

For realtors Matt Berry and Robert Sandoz, showing the listing takes more involvement – and creativity – than a typical property.

Prospective buyers get a multi-hour tour featuring a spin on the property’s 2,350-foot water ski competition lake, a golf cart drive around the trails that cut through the acreage, and maybe some ATV rides if there’s time. There are no bathrooms nor homes, instead, there’s a private lake, two boathouses, multiple docks, boat launch and judging tower.

The property is being listed for $6 million.

Berry said the combination of 105 acres, the proximity to I-5 and the Canada border, the blank slate nature of the land, and the fact that it hasn’t been on the market in 40 years makes the property a true “unicorn.”

“These are the kind of properties I love because they force you to think outside of the box,” Sandoz said. “It’s an open canvas.”

Berry said challenges include  adequately describing the property.

“You’ve got to see it to understand just how much potential the property has,” he said.

The future owners of 8610 White Road won’t have any requirement to keep the water ski lake functional, Goodman said. Despite the long history as a gathering place for water ski enthusiasts, the group of sellers made no request that the new owner continue the tradition.

Berry said most of the interest in the property hasn’t been for the legendary lake, but rather the huge tract of undeveloped land it sits on.

“Some of the serious buyers we have, for them the lake is almost secondary,” Berry said. “What the final use will be is going to be determined by someone that has a vision for it, and seizes that vision.”

To seize that vision, a lot of work needs to be done to the property, Sandoz said. His first piece of advice for the future owner: buy a zero-turn mower.

“You’re dealing with 105 acres that nature wants to reclaim at every turn,” Sandoz said. “We have storms that come through and down trees across the trails. Like any hundred-plus acre, relatively undeveloped property, you either maintain it or it reclaims itself.”

Berry said he knows this property is unique, and hopes the next owner can continue that legacy in whatever way they see fit. There are no other private water ski lakes in Whatcom County, and few others in the state.

“You couldn’t really do this again on the west side of Washington with how difficult things are, even if you could find 105 contiguous acres like this, it would be no small feat to replicate it,” Berry said.


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