Many Midwesterners enjoy spending summertime on and around the lake. The hot and humid climate fits perfectly with activities such as swimming, boating, skiing and sailing.
When the seasons begin to change, the lake does too. What was once a fluid vehicle for family fun, soon becomes a frozen obstacle, causing many lake goers to dock their boats and retreat inside. Not so for the citizens of Lake Lotawana; they utilize the lake all year around.
Summertime on this lake looks similar to that of many others. Residence take part in customary water sports, but also have the opportunity to join an organized ski club or become members in the Missouri Yacht Association. These organization hold a ski show and other events, often inviting similar groups to participate as well. “We sail a type of boat called a C Scow, with specific fleets for kids, ladies and a mixed fleet.” Austin, a life-long Lotawana resident, explains “We have had up to 1,000 boats tied up on the lake at once.”
What sets this community apart from many others is their unconventional approach to the winter months. As most neighborhoods are finding refuge from the chilly weather, families here are bundling up and heading outdoors in much of the same ways they do the rest of the year. Families and friends enjoy ice skating, playing hockey, ice fishing and parties at the Yacht Club complete with bonfires and S’mores. A quick pick-up game of hockey or a day of ice-boating is quite common on weekends once the lake freezes. The seasonal home owners generally don’t stick around for the winter, so the “lake rats” of Lotawana enjoy the quite serenity all to themselves.
Many families also take to the lake in boats made specifically for the ice. In the winter since they can’t sail, they get out on the lake in ice boats. These boats have blades on the bottom that allow them to glide on top of the ice and get up to speeds as fast as 50 miles an hour. There is some caution involved in this type of recreation. The weather in Missouri creates changes in the ice that can cause cracks. Austin remembers one winter his father actually fell through the ice. “The boats float, so he was able to crawl up through the back to get out and he was fine.”
Clearly this community takes full advantage of living in a place full of nature and beauty no matter what the season. “One of my favorite things about living here at this time of year,” Austin says,” is how peaceful and quiet it is.”