Skip to main content

Watermark

06/25/2014 12:00AM ● Published by Brandi Barnett

By Jon Lewis
Photos: Alexis LeClair

Villa Lagos - Private Water Ski and Wakeboard Lakes

Eric Pettinger's love of water skiing can be traced back to his time growing up in Red Bluff when he’d zoom across the Sacramento River.

The 60-year-old former two-time U.S. slalom water ski champion would happily return to those boyhood days on the river and on Lake Red Bluff except for one thing: he owns a lake dedicated to water skiing. And a lake dedicated to wakeboarding.

“It was fun. I really enjoyed it,” Pettinger says of his childhood exploits. “But once you get to a private lake with 85-degree water and optimum conditions, it’s hard to go back.”

Pettinger built Villa Lagos in 1998, carving the two lakes out of a 68-acre oat field. The project was undertaken partly out of convenience—he says it was getting too hard to stage water ski competitions on public lakes—and to provide the best possible skiing conditions.

For years, Pettinger dreamed of creating a lake dedicated to water skiing, where athletes could glide across glass-smooth water free of anglers, houseboats, buoys and other obstacles. What he didn’t have was a location.

“You start out with the idea and then you’re always looking for property, and then one day you stumble across a piece,” he says. In this case, it was a field of winter oats near Gerber, eight miles southwest of Red Bluff. “We started measuring things off and ended up buying some equipment.”
   
The end result was a pair of lakes open year-round to skiers and wakeboard riders.

“The original plan was to have two slalom lakes and have homeowners on one and members on another,” Pettinger says.

“As wakeboarding started becoming more popular, we decided to make the second one a wakeboard lake. It’s a little bit deeper, no islands and a little wider in the center.”
 
To keep the water as smooth as possible, Pettinger oriented both lakes to align with the prevailing winds and ringed them with trees to provide wind breaks. On the water ski lake, which is between five and eight feet deep, softened banks help prevent wakes from bouncing back to the lake’s center.
   
The wakeboard lake is a couple feet deeper to create larger wakes, and it features rails, kickers and sliders—features typically found in skateboard parks—to give users more options.  “Wakeboarders do grinds on the rails and a lot of inverts and spins off the kickers, and even off the sliders. It’s really amazing what they’re able to do. These kids have amazing balance,” Pettinger says.
   
Villa Lagos is served by the El Camino Irrigation District and both lakes were filled well before California’s current water shortage. “Once they’re full, it takes a minimum amount of water to maintain them. We seal them up pretty good. Like everything else, water is money,” Pettinger says.
   
The move toward private lakes started in Southern California in 1968 and has spread north. Pettinger says there are about 20 private lakes in the Chico-Orland-Redding area, “but people just don’t notice them because they’re tucked away.”
   
More and more, the people who skied on public lakes like Shasta and Whiskeytown are opting for private lakes and Pettinger says wakeboarders are beginning to follow suit. “Wakeboarding is coming on very strong. Young people in the sport are leaning toward the wakeboard side. You don’t notice the water skiing as much because those people are off on private lakes.”
   
Business at Villa Lagos picks up during the warmer months, with a lot of users coming from the San Francisco Bay Area and even locally from Lake Almanor. “Even though they live by a lake, they’re coming here for the perfect conditions,” Pettinger says.
   
Interest in Villa Lagos also picked up in 2012 when a federal court judge ordered the Bureau of Reclamation to permanently raise the gates of the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, effectively ending Lake Red Bluff’s 46-year run. (The lake was formed when the gates were lowered to fill the Tehama-Colusa Canal.)
   
“With the lake closing, water skiing and recreation has gone away, and we’ve been able to fill that void for local enthusiasts,” Pettinger says. The lakes have also been a popular training ground for Chico State University’s wakeboard team, which won the Collegiate Wakeboard National Championship in 2012.
   
Nor Cal Hot August Nights, the summer’s first INT-sanctioned ski and wakeboard competition, will be held Aug. 2-3 at Villa Lagos. Additional events are tentatively scheduled for September and October.

Villa Lagos
8301 State Highway 99W, Gerber
www.ski-lake.com
For annual membership and day-use information, call (530) 527-2600





Recreation, In Print july 2014 star spangled eric pettinger villa lagos water ski and wakeboard
  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/22/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/22/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Free Taste Test

    09/22/2017
    03:00PM — 05:30PM

    Choose to make September the start of a healthier life by joining the fun at the following FREE r...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/22/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • 2017 Autumn Exhibit - Reception

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Please join us as we welcome the Artists whose work will be featured in Art in the City’s Autumn ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/22/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/24/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • A gathering and show by collectors of military memorabilia. Helicopter fly-ins, armament and equi...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    09/24/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • Kitchen Tour

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Kitchen Tour: Tour 5 fabulous renovated kitchens on Sunday September 24th, from 1 to 5 pm in the ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/24/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Leann Rimes

    09/24/2017
    07:30PM

    LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 44 million albums, won two GRAMMY Awards, three Academy of Country...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/22/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/22/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Free Taste Test

    09/22/2017
    03:00PM — 05:30PM

    Choose to make September the start of a healthier life by joining the fun at the following FREE r...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/22/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • 2017 Autumn Exhibit - Reception

    09/22/2017
    05:00PM — 07:00PM

    Please join us as we welcome the Artists whose work will be featured in Art in the City’s Autumn ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/22/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber Certified Farmers' Markets open June 3rd! All farmers and ve...


  • Redding Walk To End Alzheimer's

    09/23/2017
    08:00AM — 12:00PM

    Held annually in more than 600 communities nationwide, the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Al...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Vendor Market

    09/23/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    A space where local crafters, creatives, and visionaries can sell handmade products and share abo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/23/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • #ConductNSS

    09/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:30AM

    Has it always been your dream to conduct an orchestra? Come on out to the Redding Farmers Market ...


  • A gathering and show by collectors of military memorabilia. Helicopter fly-ins, armament and equi...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Redding Holistic, Psychic and Arts & Crafts faire

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The Redding Holistic, Psychic and Arts & Crafts Faire where you will be able to experience After-...


  • A Musical Reformation Celebration Concert

    09/23/2017
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    Carillons Handbell Choir, Redding Bell Peppers, and bell choirs from All Saints Episcopal and Tri...


  • Wildcard Oktoberfest

    09/23/2017
    04:00PM — 09:00PM

    Wildcard will be hosting Oktoberfest for the second year in downtown Redding at their Tied House ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/23/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Redding Community Contra Dance

    09/23/2017
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    What is contra? Contra dance is the American cousin to Scottish and English Country set dances. I...


  • Gatekeepers' Shining Affair

    09/23/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    A benefit for the Shasta County Gatekeeper Program helping At Risk elders to live safely and happ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/23/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Reflections, Masterwork #1

    09/23/2017
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    Barber: School of Scandal Overture Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody of a Theme of Paganini Sibelius: Sy...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/24/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • A gathering and show by collectors of military memorabilia. Helicopter fly-ins, armament and equi...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    09/24/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • Kitchen Tour

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Kitchen Tour: Tour 5 fabulous renovated kitchens on Sunday September 24th, from 1 to 5 pm in the ...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/24/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Leann Rimes

    09/24/2017
    07:30PM

    LeAnn Rimes has sold more than 44 million albums, won two GRAMMY Awards, three Academy of Country...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/25/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/26/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • The Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber Certified Farmers' Markets open June 3rd! All farmers and ve...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    09/27/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Weaverville Farmers' Market

    09/27/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Weaverville Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm from May through October! tr...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • The Pastor as PR Director

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Tozer Seminary, Redding, invites pastors and nonprofit directors to a free, no-registration works...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Honored Elders Dinner

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 08:30PM

    Join us September 28, 2017 at 5:30 at Win River Resort in the Event Center for the Princess Brav...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Fundraiser

    09/28/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Grape Escape is hosting a fund raiser for Riverfront Playhouse. September 28 from 6–9 pm.Join...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Hayfork Farmers' Market

    09/29/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Come listen to live music, shop for local goods and produce and cultivate community! The Farmers'...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    09/29/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/29/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Coffee Painting Silent Auction

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    We are building a 24' Tiny House on Wheels, the first of many that will make up our Tiny House Co...


  • Ono Grange Community Yard Sale

    09/30/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Community Yard Sale at the Ono Grange. Find your next treasure and more at the sale. Horse tack, ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    09/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Historic Hawes Farms

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    It’s a whole new season of Fall Harvest Festival fun on the farm, with hayrides, pumpkin patch, l...


  • Recovery Happens

    09/30/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    Free BBQ, live music and family fun


  • Tent Peg Village

    09/30/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Free carnival-type event for kids of all ages. We will have free face painting, puppet shows, ga...


  • 2017 SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH

    09/30/2017
    01:00PM — 11:00PM

    COME JOIN THE FUN AT THE ANNUAL REDDING SUNRISE ROTARY MUD MASH ON THE NASH RANCH AT 10925 OLD OR...


  • Come enjoy all the sights and sounds of our farm while taking a stand against domestic abuse. 100...


  • Mud Mash

    09/30/2017
    02:00PM

    Be sure to bring your buddies and family to watch as you are challenged by the creeks, hills, fie...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    09/30/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • For the month of September, the Highland Art Center will feature a fun interactive exhibit with h...


  • Whisperin' Bill Anderson

    09/30/2017
    07:00PM

    There’s an old saying, “If you want someone’s attention, whisper” Bill Anderson has been using...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • The Stone Hearts rock Gallery After Dark!

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:30PM

    Join us for our Gallery after Dark series with THE STONE HEARTS , as they play some Awesome music...


  • Whitmore Trail and Poker Ride

    10/01/2017
    08:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Whitmore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. is sponsoring their annual WHITMORE TRAIL AND POKER RID...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/01/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • A Royal Tea Party

    10/01/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Magically encounter your favorite storybook characters, delight in a show fit for a King and snac...


  • Jewelry Making Classes for All Levels

    10/01/2017
    12:30PM — 03:30PM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir will once again offer a jewelry making class with Mt. Shasta...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    10/01/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Riverfront Playhouse Presents

    10/01/2017
    02:00PM

    By Mary Lynn Dobson Directed by Samantha Fork Welcome to another stellar season at the Neighbo...


  • Music by the Mountain 2017 Fall Festival

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Music by the Mountain is thrilled to once again host the St. Petersburg based Rimsky-Korsakov Str...


  • SAM Welcomes Redding's Charles Valona Trio

    10/01/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00AM

    The Siskiyou Arts Museum in Dunsmuir is very excited to participate in Dunsmuir California’s 6th ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    10/02/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


Enter to Win!

 
Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors