Meet Ski Paradise Guest Coach Seth Stisher
Seth Stisher makes skiing fun, plain and simple. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Stisher shares his love and passion for the sport with skiers that visit his ski school (OZ Ski), and attend his traveling clinics throughout the world. As a guest coach for Ski Paradise since 1999, Stisher’s coaching philosophy centers around teaching you the best technique and training methods based on what you already know while maintaining a relaxed learning environment. As a student of the sport, he’s always pushing himself to learn more efficient ways to ski and he enjoys breaking down the fundamentals and making it easy to understand. Watch him ski, and you’ll be inspired to follow his lead.
When did you first fall in love with skiing?
I loved skiing as a kid! My father taught me when I was five, and although I was a slow learner and had a lot of fear, I truly have loved it for the rest of my life. I think I fell in love with it all over again in college at The University of Alabama. It was the first time that I got to train with a team, which added a whole additional dynamic to the sport!
What has it meant to you to witness your eight-year-old son Landon's skiing progress in the last couple years? Has it always been a passion for him or did he become more interested the last couple years?
I think most people have a quiet hope inside that their children will embrace some of the same passions that they do. However, I have tried to make sure I never pushed my passions on my kids. Based on that, I have always given my kids the opportunity to ski, but I never force-fed it to them. Landon truly decided on his own that he wanted to go deeper into the sport, and with that he has learned to self-motivate. I love the idea that we can enjoy time on the water together, but even more than that, I love seeing my son push himself to progress without being pushed.
What's been the most challenging aspect of your progression?
I think the most challenging aspect of my progression in the sport is time management. Like all adults, I have so many things pulling me in different directions and it sometimes seems selfish to put water-skiing above many of those other obligations. Finding a balance in my life where I can train without depriving my children of “dad time” and without putting my own success on the water ahead of my clients. I have found that balance now more than ever. I’ve learned to take my ski set no matter what, but I keep myself in check when I feel I am becoming too obsessed with it.
What's been your most memorable tournament experience to date?
One of my most memorable experiences would have to be the first time I ran 39.5 off at 36 mph in a tournament. At the time, I was the 30th person [in the world] to ever accomplish that and it was a really big deal. And much like any milestone, it was a gateway to more consistently being in the hunt to make it to the finals in bigger tournaments. Sad part is, I’m only about two buoys better now (17 or so years later... ha).
Tell us about some of the exotic places you've traveled as a ski instructor?
Water skiing has truly given me the opportunity to see the world. I have coached in about 15 different countries including but not limited to, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Cypress, Australia, New Zealand, and of course Mexico (around 50 times). I’ve met people from parts of the world that are strikingly different than the world we live in back in the States, yet we shared a common passion. The places were all great, but the people across the globe that are truly my friends are the most amazing part.
What do you love the most about coaching?
Naturally, the look on a skier’s face or the uncontainable excitement when he or she discovers a new feeling or breaks a new barrier is hard to beat. However, I guess I’d say I also love being able to fully connect with someone enough that they consider me a part of their skiing. When a person begins to trust you so much that you gain full access to their training, their methods, their motivations, etc. it takes the experience for both skier and coach to a completely different level.
How long have you been guest coaching at Ski Paradise and what do you love about the setup in Acapulco?
18 years! Holy crap... yeah, 18 years! What I love most is the attention to detail and the quest to make it a little better every year. Gordon and Gabriela along with their amazing staff continually raise the bar.
Care to share any memorable stories from trips to Ski Paradise?
This is going to sound like BS, but there are just too many to pick out the best. Some of my on-water moments have been monumental in my own training. Some of my coaching moments have helped take my coaching to the next level. Many of the people I have met have had lasting influence on my life. And lastly, some of the off-water moments have an entertainment value that are unmatched (and occasionally more than we would need to discuss).
What do you want your students to know about your coaching philosophy?
There are two things that I consider to be the main tenets of my coaching. The first is that this is a hobby for almost everyone in the sport, so it needs to be fun! Fun for some people is laughing and joking and for others it is the competitive drive to progress. My job is to find out what people enjoy about the sport and gear my coaching around those goals without any of us taking ourselves too seriously. The second is to constantly remind myself that there is more than one way to accomplish anything. In coaching this means that I try not to get stuck on any one coaching idea so heavily that I can’t adapt my philosophies to what might be most effective and plausible for each individual skier.
Ski Paradise is known for its staff of gourmet Mexican chefs who do it up right. What do you think of the dining experience? And how much alcohol do you normally consume at those exquisite dinners?
The food is great! All of the items on our menu are excellent, but the most amazing part to me is that I eat a little different than some between chosen dietary restrictions and some food allergies. Not only does the staff remember those things from year to year, their creations around those specific needs/desires are still amazing. First class and customized to the guests needs. Hard to beat! As for the alcohol, it definitely depends on the week.
~ Seth Stisher