//Brina Wyss, Denver CIB chapter admin, flips through the air while performing a trick. Photo by Madeleine Kelly | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sporting a bright pink helmet, Brina Wyss is easily spotted in Denver area skateparks. While the fuchsia beacon is the first thing many people notice, what steals the show is her talent and the awe-inspiring tricks she pulls on her roller skates. After gracefully front flipping out of a bowl, the sound of applause and shouts echo through the park.
Wyss picked up her skates anew two years ago. Since then, she has done more than practice. She’s now the administrator for the Denver chapter of Community in Bowls, an international skating crew. The group holds open meetups for anyone from beginners to experienced skaters.
“The community in Denver is so large it wasn’t hard to get people to come skate,” Wyss said. “You just show up. As long as you have some wheels everyone is welcome to these events.”
As chapter admin, Wyss is no stranger to the fears and inhibitions that come with picking up a new sport. Wyss started rollerblading at an early age, but like many childhood hobbies, she eventually abandoned it. After moving to Denver her interest was renewed when she joined a friend at Tracks’ skate night.
“They had rentals and my friend was like, ‘Let’s go skate,’ and we had never done that before,” she said. “I loved it! You can cross your feet nice and easy and they’re perfect for dancing.”
Shortly after, Wyss purchased her own pair of roller skates and began skating for exercise. Due to similar cardio benefits to running, Wyss was able to achieve her fitness goals and highly recommends skating to those wanting to get into shape. According to Women’s Health Magazine, skating burns nearly as many calories as running and puts less stress on joints. Wyss found that she’s been able to push her limits and now skates upwards of four miles a day.
Starting at skate parks, Wyss began to explore the other facets of the skating world and slowly grew her technical abilities. In order to challenge herself, Wyss practiced and mastered increasingly difficult tricks and maneuvers. With each additional trick, her confidence developed and new realms opened up—dropping into the bowls begot cartwheels begot her gravity-defying flips.
“Roller skating is half skill, half mental blocks that you have to overcome,” Wyss said. “That’s the biggest part for me when it comes to tricks, is pushing the fear to the side and shutting my brain off and just trusting my body will do it.”
Wyss’s interest in skating eventually led her to run the Denver area chapter of Community In Bowls in 2020. Originally started as Chicks in Bowls, the group was organized to help women find safety and community with other women skaters. As time went on, Chicks in Bowls developed into Community in Bowls to provide a more inclusive environment. Today, CIB Denver aims to provide a welcoming environment to all Denver area skaters, both new and experienced.
The first meetup of CIB Denver took place in February 2020 shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. Due to the restrictions and safety precautions, Wyss has not been able to hold meetups since. But despite the many COVID-19 setbacks, the skating community grew heavily during the pandemic.
“Seeing the amount of people out here skating was shocking,” she said. “I noticed a huge difference from before the pandemic and now. We have probably tripled the amount of roller skaters in this city.”
In the meantime, Wyss coaches Denver area residents for Denver Skates, a local business that offers both private and group roller skating lessons. With clients ranging from 12 years old to skaters in their 30s, Wyss finds joy in helping people grow in their skating abilities. While teaching with Denver Skates provides the opportunity to help skaters grow, Wyss also finds joy in watching friends from CIB achieve their personal goals, which only enriches the joy of skating.
“[At] those [CIB] meetups I am more than happy to help beginners,” she said. “I highly encourage beginners, it’s their step into the skate park world.”
Now that the world is beginning to open up, Wyss has many plans for her chapter of CIB Denver. Organized largely through the official Instagram page, planning has started for the next series of meetups for established skaters or people interested in skating. With inclusivity and community as a goal, the group welcomes anyone to attend meetups starting this May.
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