or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New Ski Instruction Website

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone. For the last couple of years I have been working on a ski instruction website in my spare time. I have got it to the stage where it is ready to be used and would like to see what people think of it as well as start to promote it and get it a bit better known.

The website is called www.mechanicsofsport.com, and it's aimed at teaching people to understand how skiing works so that they can get a better idea of what they are doing while skiing, and can use that knowledge to improve their skiing. The idea is that although you cannot learn to ski online, you can learn a lot about how skiing works, which many people find can make a real difference in helping them improve their skiing.

Coming to you guys, it would be nice to know your thoughts of the site, what works well or doesn't, what you think could be added or improved, what criticism (preferably constructive) you have, and see if I have made any mistakes anywhere etc.

Although the website is being made as a hobby, I am very serious about it and would like to turn it into the best site of its type that I can. Obviously the time and resources I have to make it with are somewhat limited, but I have put a lot of time and effort into the site and it would be nice to see it being used for what it was intended for. I also hope to start adding snowboarding content fairly soon, but this could be a fairly slow process, even though I have a good amount of the background work done.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 16
I was just informed by Nolo that Mecho is our newest sponsor.  Welcome to the site.  We'll take a look at www.mechanicsofsport.com.
post #3 of 16


Nice design layout. If one accepts the premise that there is a market demand for this kind of information(x percent of how many million English speaking skiers?), then the organizational approach should get the job done. If this site becomes popular enough, you should be able to publish a book out of it.

I only glanced through a couple of sections and have the following comments:
-the specific technique instructions need some improvement to be more aligned with current ski teaching techniques. The graphics show way too much upper body lean. Way too much.

-the home page needs more meat (e.g how to ski paragraph does not say how to ski), more tease with direct links into useful stuff (e.g. common mistakes)

-The site text could use a lot more editing
=to reduce wordiness (the first two paragraphs of the home page could be shortened to 2 sentences
=to either replace English (e.g. manoeuvres) with American or with non-culture specific words (movement). Americans don't wear kilts and "flat lining" is more commonly referred to as someone in the hospital who is dead as represented by a flat line on the EKG monitor (try straight run or "bombing").

-graphics need to be linked to larger more readable images

-equipment pages need more detailed explanations of how equipment works (e.g. bases are made of P-tex, there are different grades of ptex (list them all)- better grades hold wax better and are more resistant to damage. comes in different colors, bases work by melting snow to make a microscopic lubricating layer, why you go faster on the ground than in the air)

add bumps and cross reference to mogul
a button lift is more commonly called a poma or platter lift
piste is more commonly referred to in the US as a trail or slope
piste basher is more commonly referred to as a groomer or snow cat

post #4 of 16
I haven't really read the site, but anyone who dares to create such a site and then announce it here is daring to say the least. 

post #5 of 16
"It can be very hard skiing in flat light as you can not prepare for anything that comes up, as you don't know it's coming. You just have to hit it and hope you can recover. It can also be very hard to tell how fast you are going, you might think you are going really fast when you are barely moving, or think you are barely moving when you are actually really going some, you just can't tell. Also if you jump you generally have no idea when you are going to land, you just have to try and be ready for it."
This is just bad advice!
post #6 of 16

Good advice would be to talk about goggle tints that help to improve visibility in flat light and skiing nearer to the edges of trails or below the tree line in order to help make terrain features easier to see.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the comments so far. There are definitely a lot of things there already that I need to look at.

I would like to say a couple of things about why some things are like they are at the moment, not that it is necessarily how they should be left. Forgive me if I rattle on a bit too much in places, but there are things that I didn't realise I would need to pay so much attention to until I started trying to make the site.

I have realised for a long time that I need to get more Americanisms into the site, but unfortunately I don't know a lot about the vocabulary that is used in the states, and I'm even not so familiar with some of the English terms (All my training etc has always been in German). Therefore feedback on the words I have used is very important for me.

The body lean in the diagrams is excessive, but it was intended that way, as if they were only the correct amount people would not notice them so much. The same as when instructing, the instructor has to exaggerate everything so that the students notice it, yet you don't expect the students to copy exactly. So in my current thinking I would leave the leans excessive for the moment, although this is definitely and area for debate.

Thanks for highlighting the bit on skiing in flat light, that certainly needs some changes.

Another problem is that the site also needs to be understood by people who know nothing about skiing, and little about physics. So although part of what Rusty quickly suggested "bases work by melting snow to make a microscopic lubricating layer" is along the lines of what I would like to say, unfortunately I have to be very careful before saying anything like that, and it is something I try to avoid. My current explanation is on the Why Skis Slide page, although there should probably be a link to it in the paragraph about ski bases.

I also have the problem of how to structure the site, as there are many things that are already said but in a different page. I often get left with the decision, do I repeat what was said there, do I link to it, or is it not really so relevant here and hope that they find that while looking through the rest of the site. The site is starting to get pretty big, and this is a problem that comes up more and more.

Thanks again for all the comments so far, if the site is going to be taken seriously this is exactly the kind of scrutiny it needs, and as sibhusky thinks I am being daring to say the least, I hope there is plenty more scrutiny to come.
post #8 of 16

Americanisms, more difficult than understanding high German? We can help. That's what we're doing. But you really need someone who can commit some time to doing a thorough and consistent job and help you with editing. And before that you need to decide who the web site is for. For example if you are targetting an international audience, you may want to make real "English" the official language/spelling of the site. If you want to go American, you'll do things like change snowplough to snowplow and then change snowplow to wedge. In the US we make a distinction between the old snowplough turn (which was a braking maneuver - speed control through edge angle) and a wedge turn (which is a gliding maneuver - narrower V and lower edge angles - speed control through turn shape).

Re: leaning forward. Exaggeration is important. I do it all the time. But you're exagerrating the wrong movement. What you're showing is very bad. I can not emphasize this strongly enough. The correct concept is very easy to show if you draw vertical lines from the toes and heels. When you bend at the waist to move forward, you see body mass fall outside of the two vertical lines (shoulders in front of the toe line, buttocks behind the heel line. When you move from the hips to move forward, the entire body stays centered over the feet and in between the two lines. When you compare those two pictures, it's much easier to see that the hips have moved forward. When you move forward by bending at the waist you straighten your knee and anke joints. This is the opposite of what we want to happen! This is a fatal flaw in the web site concept. If you don't believe that this needs to be fixed, my other suggestions won't make a difference.

You should not repeat info in your site. Excessive technical detail like my how bases work info needs to get buried down a level in the site. There are lots of different techniques (e.g. links, rollovers, side panels, popups) for making this kind of information available without disturbing the flow for less technical readers. I don't know of a site that has all of this kind of information in one place. Even wikipedia does not go into this level of detail. This could be the kind of information that would make your site unique and successful.

You've made a great start and proof of concept. This needs a lot of work before it's world class.
post #9 of 16

Welcome to Epic!

You have done a lot of work on this and I commend you for your effort.  Overall there is a lot of good information that is relevant to modern skiing.  The sport is still evolving very quickly and equipment technology is driving the evolution.  Your site needs to be updated as far as the types of skis and after market boot appliances available.

What stands out the most to me is the postures in the diagrams.  There is a lot of leaning of the upper body both for/aft and laterally.  To weight one ski more than the other, you don't have to move your chest and head over the ski, but simply a shift of the center of mass more over the foot.  This can be done by moving the hip slightly and keeping the upper body in a more balanced position.  Keeping any weight shift closer to the snow is better balanced than moving the upper body.  To keep balanced over the center of the ski, one only needs to flex the ankle joint more, rather than flexing the knees, waist and hip.

Some of the terminology is a bit misleading also.  I agree with balancing over the center of the ski, but you are saying to have shin pressure on the tongue of the boot, which would cause too much forward pressure on the front of the skis.  What makes a lot more seance is to keep shin contact on the tongue of the boot rather than pressure.  This is done by flexing the ankle rather than pressing the knees forward.

In the boot section, you claim that you can't bend your ankles in the boots, but you can.  The boot flexes somewhat.  I would like the boot better described as giving lateral stiffness and fore/aft support.  People need to know that the ankle can flex withing the boot in both directions (dorsi and planter).

In the maneuver section, your stem christie diagram is a wedge turn, there is no matching and skidding of the skis.

I do really like your section on ski instruction.  Very well done.

There are many corrections both in terminology, technique, and word usage I would like to add, but it is beyond the scope of this thread.  I understand that this is a work in progress and there is more to come and of course some editing to do.  I am wiling to help you any way I can or answer any questions you may have.  Good luck and keep working on this project of love for the sport.

post #10 of 16
Some more comments on the terminology-
-In the US, a 'snowpark' is called a terrain park.
-Where it refers to the tension reading on bindings, it says "DIMs". I'm not sure if this is a typo, but the term is "DIN". And I know that's an -abbreviation of the German term "Deutsche Industrie Normen", so I wouldn't think it would vary from country to country.
-Salopettes, never even heard the term before. We call them ski pants, or snowboard pants.
-In the equipment section, there is a term that you call 'pop'. In the US, it's called camber.
post #11 of 16

The body lean in the diagrams is excessive, but it was intended that way, as if they were only the correct amount people would not notice them so much. The same as when instructing, the instructor has to exaggerate everything so that the students notice it, yet you don't expect the students to copy exactly. So in my current thinking I would leave the leans excessive for the moment, although this is definitely and area for debate.

I feel this is something that needs correction.  I have found over many years of teaching that some people are able to see and repeat even the slightest movements in a demonstration.  For that reason, I do not empathize movements when I do a demonstration, but tell the person or group exactly what they should be looking at such as watch the position of the inside foot toward the end of the turn, or watch how my shoulders don't move or twist as I link short turns.

I have also seen the result of a class where an artificial body position (contrived) was demonstrated and how it definitely slowed the groups progress.  I know your diagrams have taken some time to create, but that is something that can be changed and I feel should be.

One other thought, nowhere on the site is a video of people actually skiing.  This is something that could give the home page or banner some interest and flair.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the continuing feedback. Again many more valid points have been made, and you are definitely starting to change my thoughts on the leans in the diagrams. It might take some time for me to change them, especially as I am trying to start getting some snowboarding content released before the winter too, but it seems that the unanimous view is that they need to be reduced. I am a little hesitant with changing them as initially the leans in the diagrams were closer to how they should be, but the weight movements were quite hard to see. As much as instructors and experienced skiers know that very small weight changes can make a huge difference, it can be hard to convey to someone who isn't that weight being changed just a couple of millimetres in one of the diagrams, will really do that much. Although I'm sure I can get the diagrams to show what they need too without over emphasising things, this might take quite a lot of time and fine adjustment, and I will probably use the forum here to try and find the best accepted versions.

I have also seen where a beginner instructor with a slightly strange style (not wrong exactly, just over emphasised and too rigid) will get all of his students skiing like him by the end of a week. So this is something I need to avoid. The importance of the diagrams is to clearly show the leans and movements so it is not quite the same, although it is something I need to be careful about never the less.

Thanks all for the terminology bits too, it's always interesting to see them and I will have to add/change them shortly. The official language of the site is going to be English English, but I still need to get as much American English alternatives in there as possible without making things too cluttered.

Although I would like to put a couple of skiing videos on the site as well as other things, there are none at the moment for a couple of reasons. Firstly I have made the current site totally from scratch, all code, graphics, everything has been made myself from absolute zero. If the site becomes popular I'm sure this will have to change, but for the moment it's done for the love of the sport and feels like more of an accomplishment how it is. Secondly although I also enjoy making skiing videos in the winter, which have been quite popular on youtube, I don't have anything that would suit the website yet, and I don't have the equipment or time to make a really nice semi-professionally made video at the moment. I do intend to invest in a ContourHD helmet camera for the winter though, so maybe something will come of that.

Thanks again for the comments, I am thinking that perhaps in a couple of weeks I might start asking what everyone thinks should be changed about specific pages, and start going through some pages like that to improve them. Hopefully I will manage to put some of the changes suggested here onto the site in the coming week, although I hope to have time to make changes more quickly in future.
post #13 of 16
Mecho, kudos to you for the work you have done.  That would require a lot of effort.  Can see both sides of the exaggeration dilemma, how much is enough vs too much.  I fall to the too much side of this line so what to do?  How a bout a disclaimer of sorts before your diagram saying in effect that, 'the movements shown are exaggerated for emphasis'.  (Or something of that nature) 

If I were you, would not want to totally redesign the wheel again either. 

Good fortune with your project.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to say quickly that I have managed to put some of the changes suggested onto the site. I had to rearrange several parts of the the site to add the first parts of the snowboarding section, which gave me the opportunity to make the changes.

For the moment I have gone with Stranger's suggestion and added a statement at the bottom of pages to say that positions in the diagrams are exaggerated. I do need to change the diagrams, but I have been speaking to quite a few people that think exaggeration is quite important. I will see what happens when I get time to change them, maybe I will try to keep some exaggeration but in a different and more natural looking way. Unfortunately I don't think there is a correct answer to this dilemma, as no-one has really tried to show skiing in this way before.

Most other changes were adding/changing terminology and a few details in descriptions. There are still plenty more things that were suggested that I need to change, but at least I am making progress, and hope to implement more soon.
post #15 of 16
I like your pole plant section!
post #16 of 16
Nice job on that man, at some point you may want to consider and replace the graphic man with a real guy on snow, that just displays it more realistic and shows what's possible.
Otherwise I like your approach. Much better than some other sites that try to clarify some misunderstandings or confusions for everyone.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching