Get To Know Ski Paradise Guest Coach Elaine Bush
If there’s anyone who knows what Ski Paradise has to offer its guests, it’s Elk Grove, California’s Elaine Bush. Ever since Ski Paradise opened its doors in 1989, the longtime competitive skier and tournament driver has made a yearly trip to Acapulco to experience the water ski vacation of a lifetime, and progress her skills in the process. Besides being one of the planet’s best boat drivers, Elaine is known for bringing a positive attitude and enthusiasm to the table with every student that she coaches.
Tell me a little bit about your skiing background. How and when did you get involved in the sport?
I started skiing in my mid-20’s. We had friends that owned a cool outboard boat. My girlfriend had a black Maharajah slalom ski with a vest and gloves that matched, and she could cut back and forth across the wake and looked awesome! She inspired me to slalom ski.
As a record certified tournament driver, what advice would you give to drivers who struggle to provide a reliable pull?
Practice, practice and more practice! Get end course video every time you drive, if possible and watch it after you drive. You may be thinking you are giving a great pull, but when you watch the end course you may realize that there are things you could have done better. Most decent drivers can keep the boat centered in the course, but that is not all driving is about. You certainly want to stay within the boat guides, but it is critical that you are in synch with the skier. After you drive enough high-end skiers, you quickly realize that their pull changes as the line length changes. You have to anticipate and be ahead of the skier so that you do not create slack and cause the skier to lose the line. A good driver is like a good dancer... don’t be afraid to lead!
Most memorable tournament experience behind the wheel?
Pulling Greg Badal to a national record of 5 at 41 off.
Your proudest moment on a water ski?
Qualifying for my first nationals!
What do you love about the setup in Acapulco?
Everything about Ski Paradise is perfect. Gordon and Gabriela are pros — they know how to make their guests feel like they are special and get FIVE-star treatment throughout the week in every aspect — from the skiing, accommodations to the incredible food!
How would you describe your coaching style?
Patient. Everyone has their own style of skiing. I carefully observe the skier’s style and then look for a few things to initially work with them on. I always tell the skiers that we will work on one thing before the entrance gates and one thing in the course. I do not want my skiers to become overwhelmed with too many things to do at one time! I am a bit of a cheerleader too!! I get very excited for the skiers.
What is your most memorable water-ski experience?
Off the water, I received the American Water Ski Association’s Fred Wiley Driver of the Year Award in 2017. Some of the most outstanding drivers in the world nominated me for this award; a very unexpected award for which I was extremely honored to receive!
What would you tell a fellow skier who is considering a vacation to Ski Paradise?
The trip is worth every penny! You will be treated like a King/Queen and will love the culture, and all that Gordon and Gabriela have done to make sure that every guest has a memorable and fantastic experience!
What do find that most intermediate skiers struggle with and how do you help them?
Most intermediate skiers struggle with letting up too early going through the wakes and then let their arms out as they initiate their turns. We work on keeping their arms long and close to their bodies — staying connected to the handle as long as they can — even when they are free-skiing.
Do you have any student success stories that you'd care to share?
Quite a few successes, from getting people up for the first time on a slalom ski to coaching them through their first time through the slalom course.
~ Elaine Bush