There's not much you can do to stop Jack Frost's impending descent, but if you'd like to avoid him for a week or two, Gordon Rathbun has just the place for you to do it. For 15 years, his ski school and resort, Ski Paradise in Acapulco, Mexico, has been the destination of choice for snowbirds tacking on some time — and margaritas — to their summers.
But if you're still not convinced, here are five reasons to skip out on the ice and snow this year and book a trip to Paradise.
1. New digs. This year Rathbun relocated to a brand new eight-bedroom, 10-bathroom villa. Although the previous accommodations were nothing to sneeze at, the new luxury villa — replete with a rooftop movie theater for weekly water-ski video screenings — is even better. “[Rathbun] took all the stuff that needed changing and incorporated it into the villa,” Jason Paredes says. “I'm not saying the other place wasn't nice, but this is really stepping it up.”
2. Rotating coaches. Few schools can boast that their coaching staffs change weekly, but when you're setup is Paradise, it can't be too hard to recruit ski greats to lend their services for a week or two. “[Rathbun's] been building up a good database of guest coaches,” Marcus Brown says. “He has a lot of regulars like Andy Mapple and Kris LaPoint and Greg Badal. A lot or most of the guys going down there are some of the best coaches around. And he's trying to get more of the young guys down there as well, because he realizes we're on the cutting edge.”
3. Non-intimidating environment. If you've never skied the course or aren't into shortline yet, skiing with the likes of Andy Mapple and Kris LaPoint might intimidate you. But Rathbun prides himself on offering a universal experience. “You are getting really good coaching,” Jason Paredes says. “And people can be intimidated by that, but it's catered toward everybody. It's very user-friendly.” Natalie Hammrick agrees. “His strategy of having guest coaches keeps the atmosphere lively and personable every single week,” she says. “Experiencing Acapulco is a must for every level of skier.”
4. Idyllic skiing conditions. Placed strategically on a hilltop overlooking the coastline and Acapulco Bay, the villa at Ski Paradise certainly lives up to its utopian name — and that's just where you sleep. The real reason to visit is the heavenly skiing conditions spread across two separate courses. “At Gordon's you get really good water,” Marcus Brown says. “There are two courses, which are just amazing. I stayed for two weeks when I went and never once was it too windy to ski.”
5. Life-long friends. You never know whom you're going to meet at Ski Paradise. And thanks to the social atmosphere and the like-minded clientele, it could be that one of the people you meet will become your new favorite ski buddy. “I coach several weeks a year at Gordon's place,” says Seth Stisher, “and I have never experienced a week where the group as a whole didn't end up being a tight-knit group of friends by the end of the week. You can't force people to become friends, but Ski Paradise definitely offers the opportunity.”