Meet Ski Paradise Guest Coach Todd Ristorcelli
As the former editor of WATERSKI magazine for nearly 20 years, Todd Ristorcelli has been a guest at Ski Paradise since 1999. “I can’t get enough of this place,” says Todd. “I think it has been 12 visits and counting.” Up early every morning on the top deck of Villa Aquina overlooking Acapulco Bay, you’ll find Todd getting inverted, doing yoga, and preparing for an epic day of skiing at Coconut Lagoon.
Todd brings his enthusiasm and passion for coaching to Acapulco each season. He enjoys working with skiers of all abilities, and he’s not timid about showing his appreciation for a solid effort.
If you’re contemplating a visit to Ski Paradise, Todd says, “Stop thinking about it, and just do it. You won’t regret it, I promise.”
What did you love most about working at WATERSKI for so many years?
There are so many things to love about working in a field that you’re passionate about. It never felt like a job. I really enjoyed the travel aspect of my career. Seeking out new places to ski. Meeting interesting skiers from all around the world, and being able to tell their story. That’s what it was about for me! As I became more interested in photography after working with legends like Tom King and Bill Doster, I greatly enjoyed documenting the sport with inspiring photography.
Tell us about your early beginnings in the sport?
On a whim my dad bought a 1987 Ski Supreme with a friend who lived on a nearby lake close to where I grew up in Longwood, Florida. I had skied on combos a few times prior, but had no idea what the world of water skiing was all about. I fell in love with it right away. The personal challenge of the slalom course, the lifestyle, the family aspect, I was completely addicted. I was lucky that my dad was completely dedicated to my training. I have fond memories of him meeting me at the lake with his shirt and tie to pull me skiing prior to going to work.
Most memorable tournament experience?
Two tournaments stand out. The first was skiing head-to-head against Jamie Beauchesne in the finals of first stop of the 2008 U.S. Pro Water Ski Tour in Talking Rock, Georgia. I remember telling him before our set, ‘Dude, this is my only chance to win a pro event. Just let me have this one.” He laughed and then proceeded to take me down. Another highlight was skiing head-to-head against Andy Mapple in the 2012 Nautique Big Dawg Series finale at Okeeheelee Park. I ran 4 at 41 off to take the victory.
What do you love most about coaching?
I would say that I’m a “people person” so there’s nothing like being outdoors with people that have the same passion for skiing that share. I enjoy the process of discovering what makes each skier that I work with tick. We all learn in different ways, so just because something works for one individual, doesn’t mean it’s going to make sense to another. You have to be patient and ask the right questions. It also helps to visually show them what you want them to do on the water.
Why should the average water-skiing enthusiasts consider a vacation to Ski Paradise in Acapulco?
There’s a lot to love about Ski Paradise. With Gordon’s background in hospitality and management, he’s dialed in on meeting the needs of his guests while offering a ski vacation that’s second to none. I could go on and on about the accommodations, the excellent food, the hospitality, etc., but until you experience it yourself, you won’t believe the level of satisfaction that a water-ski vacation in Acapulco will bring you.
~ Todd Ristorcelli