Lake Mirage gives local water skiers a place to compete
By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
Alan Wixom hasn’t played a round of golf since he moved to Grand Junction.
He has, however, spent countless hours water skiing.
The 49-year-old dentist will be one of 40 water skiers expected to compete in the Clean Slate at the Lake event Saturday and Sunday at Lake Mirage, west of Grand Junction on River Road.
The event is sponsored by the Lake Mirage Water Ski Club and is a American Water Ski Association-sanctioned event. It serves as a qualifier for the Goode Water Ski National Championships.
The slalom-only competition is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. each day. It is free to the public.
The event includes three rounds each day on a course that runs 860 feet long from the entry gate to exit gate.
Lake Mirage sits on 14 acres of property owned by Dale Reece, who is an avid water skier himself.
“I met Dale at a tournament and he said, ‘I need someone to ski with,’ ” Wixom said. “I couldn’t get on private water over there in the Denver area, so I sold my practice and moved here.”
Wixom opened his dental practice in Grand Junction in 1994 and has competed in slalom water skiing events ever since.
“I finally talked my wife into letting me buy a boat and I haven’t golfed since,” Wixom said.
“I just love water skiing. This is so primo here.
“Good golf weather is good skiing weather. I don’t have time for both.”
Reece, 56, learned how to water ski at Highline Lake 22 years ago and was hooked.
“I went out to Highline Lake and met an old guy named Alvin J. Meyers,” Reece said. “He was giving water ski lessons. I asked him, ‘How am I doing?’ He said, ‘You don’t know how to ski.’ Him telling me I couldn’t do it really set the whole thing in motion.”
Reece began a water ski competition on a lake off Dike Road, but it washed out in June 1983.
He went looking for another piece of property to build a private lake before settling on the Lake Mirage location, viewable from Interstate 70 less than two miles from the west Grand Junction exit.
Reece bought the property where Lake Mirage is located in 1989.
He competed in the 67th annual Goode Water Ski National Championships last week in West Palm Beach, Fla. He placed 40th in the men’s category 5 (age 53-60) slalom event.
“I finally have enough time to travel and not work every day,” Reece said.
There are close to a dozen local residents who compete in water ski events.
“The whole group is real close,” Reece said. “We won’t see each other all winter (but) come spring we’ll see each other and it’s like we haven’t missed a day.
“We have a real small group, but it’s a tight group. It’s a really hard discipline.”