Godfathers of Colorado Waterskiing

Godfathers of Colorado Waterskiing


On this episode of the Ski With Wade podcast, Wade chats with some of the godfathers of Colorado water-skiing on Cottonwood Lake north of Denver, Colorado. Going back to how it all began for him in Nebraska, Wade introduces his good friend and current godfather of Colorado skiing, Bryan Reinke, as the two talk about their journey as young professional skiers and now coaches.

The episode wraps up with Wade and Bryan hitting on some of the high points of their current coaching careers, finishing with a look at Colorado skiing and all this state has to offer for water skiers of all ages and abilities.

Topics Covered
  • A little about what’s up and who’s sponsoring the podcast.
  • How Nebraska played a big role in Wade’s career and how he met Bryan for the first time.
  • The story of Bryan becoming the current godfather of Colorado skiing and how Mikey helped him on that journey.
  • Why Denver has become a true water-skiing destination.

This episode of the Ski With Wade podcast was so special to me. I got to sit down with not one, but two past and present godfathers of Colorado water-skiing and talk to them about what makes the water-skiing culture in their state so awesome. We got together at a lake north of Denver, Cottonwood Lake, and as our conversation got rolling, I thanked this episode’s sponsor, Ho Water Skis, and officially celebrated my 32nd birthday with them as my sponsor—so awesome!

Thirty-two years seemed like a long time to my good friend, Bryan Reinke, a guy I like to call the current godfather of Colorado skiing, since he’s only 37 himself. Talking with Bryan reminded me of how I got started skiing professionally in the first place, driving around Nebraska of all places, bumming rides and sleeping on the couch of my coach, Carl, in 1988. I had missed the cut at Capital Beach that year and I was pretty bummed, but then I got a call from Herb O’Brian. It was a call Carl said I needed to take, and I think he knew what it was about even before I did.

I called Herb back collect (yep, he still picked up), and he offered me a three-year deal! I got back into Carl’s car acting kind of bummed out, asking Carl if I should take it. I remember he told me, “If you don’t take it, I will!” and I signed right then and there. The rest, as they say, is history.

Flash forward to sometime before 2003 when I picked up Bryan as a coaching client when he was all of 16 years-old. Bryan and I talked about how we worked together and how our careers evolved over time, and Bryan remembered how one of the former godfathers of Colorado skiing, Tommy Phillips, helped both of us out early in our careers. That guy was huge for Colorado skiing, and Bryan said Tommy was one of the reasons he’s doing what he’s doing now in Colorado.

Mikey Wilkinson was also in the house with us on the podcast, along with some third-generation Wilkinson’s who so graciously brought us Subway sandwiches. Bryan mentioned how Mikey was so influential in shaping his career as a pro skier and coach back in the day. Mikey was way ahead of the curve when it came to a variety of techniques, and both Bryan and I have him to thank for teaching us some invaluable ways to get better.

We wrapped up the episode talking about how awesome the skiing in Colorado has become, which has a lot to do with Bryan and the work he’s done to make this state a true water-skiing destination. There’s about half a dozen good ski courses here in Colorado now, and for his part, Bryan has a created a great grassroots team of people who go out to the lakes and pick up skiers to sign all the time. If you’re looking for a really awesome city to start your skiing career in, Denver’s the place.

This was such a fun conversation with Bryan and Mikey, if you’re a skier or just need a new place to check out, I would highly recommend heading out to Denver on your next trip! Thanks again to Ho Water Skis for sponsoring the episode (and sponsoring me for 32 years!). Check out the links below to shop our merch and get connected to Water Ski Colorado.