Jump to content

Stadium Lighting for a Lake?


skibug
 Share

Recommended Posts

I began installing stadium lights in 1995, and had my first night slalom tournament in 1997.    My oringinal system was installed for under $10,000 in materials using lights removed from some old baseball fields and milsurp antenna towers. 100% of the labor was my sweat and time away from skiing.  I removed this system this year in hopes to get my new Musco Lighting system up next year.  Once I find someone who can set 70' poles at a cost I can afford, the system will go up.  I already have the lights and wiring.  Anyone want to buy 50' towers and 30 lights with tons of spare parts?  All you would need would be the electric source and wiring and I can put you in the night time ski business!  If you are in my part of the word, and for the right price, I may be able to deliver and assist in setting it up.  disclaimer: I am not an electrician.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
Jeff Smith of Silver Spray Sports in Fenton, Michigan has equipped his ski lake with a lighting system, you might want to contact him and discuss.  Any local race track will also have a lighting system for night races.  Musco is a common supplier for lighting systems.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have developed our own lighted buoys. Had two tournaments with them and not a single failure. Very inexpensive, just a little time to produce them. I have skied numerous times under stadium lights and now with just lighted buoys. Slightly different experience, but both are tremendously fun! People around here cannot stop talking about their experiences skiing at night.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To better address your question, Cost will depend on how close your lights are to the centerline of the course.  You want your lights to shine down instead of out.  The closer to the course and the higher the lights are, the fewer lights you will need.  If you get the lights high enough, there is no need for lighted buoys.  It all depends on how you want to do it.  If you want to go the cheap route and do it yourself (like me), start calling your local commercial electricians and ask about field lighting they may have laying around.  Most of the older styles can be operated on 200 amps of 240 volt service which is available pretty much anywhere.  If money is no object, call Musco, they will design the system with the required lumens in the boat and skier path.  They will survey the site, and determine # of fixtures, # of poles, etc. It all comes pre-installed with fixtures on bars and lights pre-aimed.  I would guess the cost to have Musco design and install it would cost upwards of $75,000.  If you are looking to hire it done by a licensed electrician based on your design/requirements, just the system and installation of a basic system within 150' of the centerline of the course with all new materials will run a minimum of $50,000

Depending on your electric provider and your lake's proximity to 3 phase service, it may be cost prohibitive to run it on grid power. Monthly minimum bills may be several hundred dollars or more. Find a used generator (mine came out of a hospital they were updating) with low hours capable of 480volt 3 phase operation.  You will get much more light at a cheaper operating cost with Metal Halide fixtures operating on 480.

Lastly, I can't stress enough the difference between the construction site flood lights and fixtures designed for sports lighting.  The four fixture light trucks are fine for a one time portable system, but for continual use you get much more usable light with far fewer fixtures at a cheaper operating cost with specific sports lighting fixtures when the poles are high enough to shine down on the water instead of out from the shoreline.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've done it for our show ski site. We do 3 shows each summer that are all sellouts. There is something very special about both skiing and watching skiing at night. Skiing is way cool because of the sense of speed. Watching because of the lack of distractions in the background. Your focus becomes locked on the person on the water. Very cool.

 

The biggest and absolute first consideration has to be power. You need lots and then maybe a little more. We put in a 400 amp service that is split into two 200 amp pedestals, one North, one South. Most of the stadium lighting comes as a triple tap setup. Go with 220 and you will cut the amps for each light in half vs 120 volt.

 

Second consideration is poles. We were fortunate to have a tree lined site so we put platforms up in old growth trees with some minor limbing. Figure at least a 50 foot elevation and placement to keep the lights out of the drivers and skiers eyes. Talk to your power company and their subs for pole installation. Usually somebody has a supply of used poles that will work just fine. Plan your light installation out and rent a 4x4 two person man lift for the install. The lights are pretty heavy and you need a second set of hands to do it efficiently.

 

 

Wire, bigger is better and run 220. There are several online electrical calculators that can tell you line loss and what size wire you need for the length of the runs. Watch the price of copper and you can do it for a fairly reasonable cost. Talk to electrical distributors, make a friend and they will sometimes do it for cost. Trenchers, walk behind self propelled units, can be rented for less than a hundred bucks a day and it is amazing how much you can do in 6 hours.

 

Lights. 1000 watt, metal halide stadium lights. Start with one at each position and then add them as required to fill in dark spots. There are multiple ways to acquire the lights. Keep an eye out for local schools upgrading. Check with electrical distributors and tell them what you are doing. Ask them to be on the lookout for any units that are basically "scratch and dent". People will be amazed when you tell them what you plan on doing. We I did ours everyone I talked to outside of the skiing world thought this was so "out of the box" that they jumped on board and have been super supportive. Lots of great advice and help form professionals. Hey Jim I found a light, hey Jim I found some wire, still happening today. There is a revolution coming in lighting and as new very efficient lights become available schools, stadiums will be upgrading and more used lights will become available. LED's are the next wave and when they get all of the bugs worked out everything else is going to be obsolete (just my non-professional opinion).

 

Take your time and make it fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to say that we have a well lit site and our investment is probably around 15K. We did all of the labor, other than the power upgrade ourselves. Best part is we had a blast doing it. Learned a lot and have a bunch of stories to tell.

 

One of the coolest things about night skiing is the sound, both the boat and the skiers. If you do end up going with generators keep them isolated and if possible surround them with a wall to direct the sound away from the water.

 

Construction tower lights work but it is hard to get them high enough to be effective. As lottawatta said, higher and closer to the water and you will need less lights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...