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Upcoming changes to DCSki
20 posts from 14 users
Updated 2 days ago
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Scott - DCSki Editor
2 months ago

Hi folks!

I wanted to share some details on upcoming changes to DCSki.  DCSki first hit the web in the mid-1990s, and every few years, I’ve tried to update DCSki’s design to bring it in line with modern technologies.  I’m in the process of doing that once again.  The new design will be simpler and play well with the range of devices people now use to access content (smart phones, tablets, and desktops).  It will continue to highlight the core strengths of DCSki: rich, immersive original content, objective reporting, and community discussion, all brought together in a site with a clean design that respects its audience and isn’t overloaded with annoying ads or irrelevant content.

To support this re-architecting, I have purchased a new server and will be migrating the site to the new server later this spring or early summer.  The new server and re-design represent a substantial investment in time and money, but will enable DCSki to continue serving the Mid-Atlantic winter sports community for years to come.

In the meantime, I wanted to provide an opportunity for all of you to provide feedback on the features of DCSki you utilize the most, the features you rarely utilize, as well as any suggestions you have for improvement.  My current plans for the new site are to focus on News, Resorts, Lost Areas, and the Forum, which I consider to be the four primary pillars of DCSki.  Any thoughts you have are welcome!

2 months ago

Glad to hear you are going to a responsive web design. For the gearheads out there, what CMS are you going to use? 

I understand that the ads pay the bills, but I’m hoping the new site avoids the current huge ad and site header taking up the whole first scroll on a laptop.

That being said, I’m on here reguarly throughout the year, checking on the forum. Feedback from other DCSki readers helps choose which ski area(s) I’ll get my 1-3 trips a winter. Hopefully, I can start getting out more as my sons get older and take to the sport.  

I also read all the news and glance at the resort profiles when I’m considering my next day trip. I really like that the resort profiles have the related forum threads included.

In short, thanks for running this site. I’m looking forward to the next generation.

2 months ago

Scott - thank you! My only complaint is you seem to need a PhD in computer science to upload photos to a post. I have never figured that one out. Simplification of that procedure would be appreciated.

2 months ago

Scott,

You might think of an FAQ for new skiers to the region. “If you have never skied in the Mid-Atalntic, here’s what you need to know.” The section could include such information as:

1. Closest resorts for day trips.

2. Weekend getaway places.

3. What resorts accept various passes: Epic, Ikon, Indy, etc.

4. Best learning programs for people new to snowsports.

5. Where to puchase snowsports equipment and get it serviced.

6. Where to go if you have a disability? Adaptive ski programs.

7. What resorts have good facilities for non-skiers? Places for parents to hangout while children ski.

8. Best apres ski.

9. Biggest vertical.

10. Best skiing early or late season.

11. UT vs CO vs VT? Getting to resorts futher afield? Transportation options for skiers lookng to visit destination resorts—best flights, drive to options, etc.

12. European ski options for DC based skiers?

13. Local ski clubs.

14. Best onslope and offslope dining at local resorts.

15. Weather, snow reports, and road conditions. On a snow day, which resorts are easiest to get to?

The section could be organic with FAQs being updates occasionally and new ones added. You could solicit volunteers to help put these together. Or link to articles or forum posts that contain answers.

2 months ago

Scott, let me echo Snowsmith’s commentabout the difficulty in downloading pictures to enhance an article or comment when posting to DC Ski.  If this proves too difficult, then someplace in DCDki where one could find instructions on how to post pictures.

Secondly, I do not stay logged in when viewing DCDki on my iPhone 6S.

I continue to enjoy the site, thank you!

MorganB aka The Colonel

2 months ago

Scott,

“I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies,” and I know next-to-nothing about setting up and operating websites, so I appreciate and respect your plans for another round of modernizing at DCSki.  

This website has shaped my skiing in major ways since I got back onto skis in 2003-2005 after a 30-year hiatus.  The resort summaries and forum posts have encouraged me to get out onto the slopes and to try areas (such as Timberline and Liberty) that I’d never heard of 15 years ago.  I’ve made several new friends here, both cyberfriends known only through their DCSki nicknames and on-the-slope friends I’ve met through skiing get-gogethers organized via these pages.  The Articles/News and Lost Ski Areas sections are also favorites - although the latter may not be my wife’s because she often asks why a fun drive through the countryside ends up at a lost ski area.

I have no problem with the advertising on this site.  I accept that advertising is a necessity, and I’m often informed (or at least reminded) of available deals because of the ads.  As owner-operator-editor, you have walked a fine, wise line between accepting fact-based criticism of ski area operations while putting the brakes on emotional rants and unsubstantiated rumors.  Thank you.

Subjective ratings (e.g., a list of which areas have the best ski schools for children) seems like an iffy proposition because, well, they are subjective … and, more importantly perhaps, because people’s needs and individual instructors vary so much.

I have to echo what others have said about the difficulty of adding photos to posts.  Yes, I should be able to figure it out but just haven’t had the patience to make the effort.  Spoiled by Facebook, I guess.

Hooe the transition goes well.

Respectfully, Woody Bousquet

 

2 months ago

Great site scott! You seem to know what you are doing so I will leave it to the pro!

advertising makes the world go round 

one easy to get to mountain when it snows heavy is Whitetail

 

Scott - DCSki Editor
2 months ago

Just wanted to post a quick thanks for the feedback and suggestions — I’m putting it all to good use.

wfyurasko: DCSki uses a custom CMS that was written from scratch by me.  It’s pretty powerful under the hood.  (The underlying data is in a MySQL database.)

Colonel: The current DCSki allows you to be logged in from one device at a time, which I think may be why you don’t stay logged in on your iPhone.  I spent some time today enhancing the new DCSki so that you can be logged in from multiple devices at a time, as long as you check “remember this device” when you log in (which will be the default).  So hopefully that will fix your problem once I unveil the new site — I’ll have you test that once it launches to be sure.

Everyone: I’m evaluating different options to make it easier to add photos to forum posts.  Still evaluating pros/cons of different approaches.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak of the new design.

2 months ago

I love the forums, and the front page updates with extended trip reorts and news. Thanks for your hard work, Scott!

I will pile on and agree that posting pictures is very difficult for me; I would love to post more pics, but it is just too diffucult and time-consuming. 

 

2 months ago

1) Agreed w/ above on posting pictures.  I tried to upload photos once but unable to figure out how to do it and I gave up. 

2) Is there a way to make search easier?  e.g. search by username, thread subject, title etc.  I was trying to locate a thread posted by JimK about his bike trip to C&O Canal Towpath. I wasn’t able to find it here and finally I found it on Pugski.  Maybe I did not use the right search function….  

DCSki is the first online ski forum I came across (& joined) when I started skiing ~9 years ago.  I was trying to find an “easy” way to go to Snowshoe WV from DC, I found couple thread discussion about this here.  Thank you…. 

one month ago

The Colonel wrote:

Secondly, I do not stay logged in when viewing DCDki on my iPhone 6S.

I get logged out from the same open browser even hours apart on the same device.

My email notifications often don’t work, so i need to keep checking the index for new replies on topics I’m following.

Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago

Hi camp,

A few quick questions to help me better understand the problems you’re experiencing:

(1) Just as a sanity check, is your browser set to clear cookies or visit in private mode or any similar settings?  If you only have that issue on DCSki, probably not, but to stay persisently logged in your browser has to maintain some session state.  There are a few reasons why it might lose that.  (In the current DCSki, if you log into DCSki from more than one location, it clears that session data from the old location when you log in from the new location, which may trigger a password prompt.)  Just want to make sure I’ve addressed any problem you’re experiencing in the “new” DCSki if it’s something under my control.

(2) I’m going to send you a private message with some log entries showing the last 15 e-mails DCSki thinks it sent you.  Please let me know (a) if you didn’t receive any that it thinks it sent you, and (b) whether there are instances outside of the logged ones where you expected to receive an e-mail notification but didn’t.  And as a followup question — when you’re logged in, does DCSki highlight threads with new posts (since the last time you viewed them) in green?

Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago

Test post

Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago

Another test post — sorry for the tests, trying to diagnose a subscription notification bug.

Scott - DCSki Editor
one month ago

Scott wrote:

Another test post — sorry for the tests, trying to diagnose a subscription notification bug.

And I think I fixed it.  There was an issue sending notifications if more than one person had subscribed to a topic.  I’m embarrassed that bug’s been there awhile (and thanks to camp for pointing it out!)  Hopefully notifications are working as expected now…

one month ago

Scott wrote:

Scott wrote:

Another test post — sorry for the tests, trying to diagnose a subscription notification bug.

And I think I fixed it.  There was an issue sending notifications if more than one person had subscribed to a topic.  I’m embarrassed that bug’s been there awhile (and thanks to camp for pointing it out!)  Hopefully notifications are working as expected now…

Scott- you are way too hard on yourself we are grateful for all you do it is not like we are on a Scrum sprint - it took me four days just to write a CosmosDB Listener that actually worked lol.

12 days ago

Hi Scott, this already a very helpful site for a relatively inexperienced skier like me. I would appreciate a section dedicated to issues for novices or intermediate skiers although there is already a great deal of useful info in the forums. You might also want to have a section devoted to the passes available and keep it updated with the information about them as it comes out, since they have gotten so complex. I like what you have already, though, these are just ideas. Thank you for the site. It’s invaluable.

3 days ago

Not a request but a thought - your weather feed is pretty basic, I am imagine you are pulling through from NWS data, etc.  Nice to have for sure.  But the mid-atlantic doesn’t have much in the way of ski weather forecasting.  Opensnow had someone doing a midatlantic write up a few years back.  But no more.  Just thinking out loud, is there someone out there who would be interested in providing weather updates brought to you by DCski, etc.  Could even just be storm/snow specific, that is when everyone tunes in anyway.  Just an idea!

2 days ago

Hi Scott,

Skidome and all my pages - started as html ugly by todays standards.

on the archive.org you can see 20 years and the majr changes. 

My host -

I have been using Word Press, mySQL and a responsive theme since 2014.  that works for android, apple, tab, desktop. 

I use a few plugin so no need to write code. Good security plugin and forms. I so not have a comment forum.

translation plugin works well. 

I follow a 5 min 5th grade reading level - Photos and more video content.

More drop downs to allow the crack effect, less scrolling .

Usign a cell what do you dislike? - responsive fixes this.

My grandson and daughter are my focus groups. 7 year old 30 year old. 

https://www.usability.gov/     free site and great ideas for UI/UX and HCD human centered design 

http://zardozrenegades.skidome.org/   this is very close to optimal.

https://archive.org/web/   you can go back in time to see your old site design 

 

have fun Ed 

2 days ago

https://web.archive.org/web/19980129220613/http://www.dcski.com/    take a look back at DCski 1998 design :o) 

 

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