Recreation: Look, Mom--No Boat!

A mirage? There in the sand-blown, baking desert near Colton, Calif., it looked as though people were splashing and slaloming around on water skis without a motorboat to tow them. But when some 8,000 people drove up to stop and stare one day last week, they saw that it was really happening.

M. W. ("Slim") Maxwell, 52, who opened the desert water-skiing center last week, got the idea one hot afternoon when he saw a pickup truck towing an indomitable water skier along a 6-ft.-wide irrigation ditch. He was working on a commercial...