Meet Ski Paradise Guest Coach Thomas Degasperi
There are only a few skiers on the planet that have the competitive moxie to perform their best when it matters. Thomas Degasperi is one of those skiers. Hailing from Trento Italy, Thomas has won just about every major slalom title there is to win, but there’s more to him than just his skiing ability. Thomas has the unique ability to connect with anyone. Must be because he grew up at his parents' ski school, and was exposed to people from all over the world. Now based in Orlando Florida, where he runs his ski school, Thomas is passionate about sharing the sport with the next generation while he continues to be one of the world’s best shortline slalom skiers. We’ve been lucky to host Thomas at Ski Paradise as a guest coach for the last eight years.
Tell us what it was like growing up in Italy at your parents ski school?
It was pretty special. There were always a bunch of kids skiing with me. Classmates, snow ski, and soccer mates. We were a big family. The scenery at the lake is amazing, and it kept me super close to my family.
What was your biggest "take-away" from your dad with his approach to coaching students?
He’s calm. The way he speaks to his students is non-intimidating, and it allows them to relax and have the confidence to ski their best.
What was your first year as a Ski Paradise guest coach, and what do you recall from your first experience there?
In 2007 after winning my first world title, Natalie Hamrick had to cancel her guest coaching week, so I decided to make the trip with Nick Parsons and Billy Susi. We had a blast! This year I celebrated my 13th-time in Acapulco, so that says a lot. Gordon and Gabriella make me feel like family, and they are the best hosts.
What makes Ski Paradise so special?
The place is five stars! And of course, the Ski Paradise staff always make you feel at home and totally pampered.
Share a "skier success" story about your most recent time in Acapulco.
I can't recall one in particular, but I do remember many people who couldn't even get outside the wake on their first day, and by the end of the week they were running the course. It’s rewarding to see that kind of progression!
Do you have any special techniques for motivating your students?
You have to find the right key that works for the individual. We all learn in different ways. I adapt my coaching style to suit the need of the individual. But no matter what level you’re at, I do know one thing, the taller you stand on your ski, the better your position. Dragging your hips is 99 percent of the problem for most skiers. The more you use your legs and stay static with the upper body, then the problem is almost solved.
What advice would you give to someone traveling to Ski Paradise for the first time?
Go cause you won't find anything better!
~ Thomas Degasperi