A few years back, in 1991 a great friend of mine, Matt Dukleth told me, “Jon, there’s this thing called the internet… If you get an idea of how to use it, give me a call…”
A few years back, in 1991 a great friend of mine, Matt Dukleth told me, “Jon, there’s this thing called the internet… If you get an idea of how to use it, give me a call…” I called him a few years later, April 10, 1995 to be specific. I was a fully certified instructor by that time. There was so much I loved about skiing, and in particular ski instruction. I love the feeling of minimal resistance, endorphins, wind, sun, and snow. The freedom of skiing from a mountain top, has only been equaled by surfing the north shore of Oahu. Exhilaration that cannot be found in most walks of life. Something everyone should realized when skiing is that the same rush can be experienced skiing or riding a green run, as others may feel from a mountain top. The SAME RUSH (with slightly different scenery).
Now what if I could share those feelings with people who meet me on a random winter Tuesday? What if over the course of a few days or years we become friends and get to share the passion of this sport and lifetime “moments” to remember each other. I have been blessed to do so with many individuals and families. Some of which I see every year, and some I have not seen or heard from in many years. It is a shame really. But I do remember nearly everyone who enjoyed a breakthrough in my company.
What if there was an easier way to keep in touch? Email certainly brought that to many. Now physical letters are a novelty. They are still fun to send, and highly recommended as well. However, with a quick calculation I figure I have skied with approximately 7000 students in the past 15 years. And as much as I would love to keep in contact with them, it would be an impossible task.
In 1995 I called my friend Matt, we created Skipros.com. The idea was unique. Indeed, the first of its kind. A way for a student to choose his/her instructor prior to taking a lesson. Don’t let the ski school randomly select an instructor for you, especially during a peak holiday period. Skipros.com allowed the lesson taking student make an educated decision. That was important. It also allowed top instructors to showcase their talent. The problem. The information was fixed. A few brief blurbs, some bio information,but static. Good, but not great. It wasn’t interactive. I would tell instructors and ski school directors, “There’s this thing called the internet…” They would say, “We are instructors” or “We teach skiing, we don’t program computers.” However, a few instructors understood the idea. More students understood the idea, as they tended to use the internet (at least at work).
Payment systems were cumbersome. I turned into a programmer, accountant, bill collector, etc. None of which are my strong suits. I loved skiing, teaching, and helping. I wanted to assist others improve: instructors and students. So after a few years, I let Skipros.com go. SP.com is on the Island of lost toys. Playing with the Jack in the Box. A good idea that never matured.
However, a few months back I was talking with a friend, Gregg Davis, a former AASI National Team Member (one of the elite 6 for snowboard instruction in the country). He told me he had been working with Moveable Type. A blogging software that could be managed as easily as using email. Add pictures, movies, articles, thoughts, etc in just a few minutes. The wheels started turning again. Several websites were using this type of technology in other fields. I enjoy using www.realmoney.com .
I started asking questions. Gregg mentioned, anything is possible with enough time and money. (He’s good like that). We started asking the questions from the perspective of: How would I like to communicate with ALL of my students? How can I keep a relationship with them throughout the year through newsletters and timely postings? And as importantly, How could my students easily and quickly see what is happening in the location of their next ski destination? What is the weather really like? Where are the best restaurants? Where is the best snow? What are some technical ideas for skiing? And what is going on with my pro?
Hmmm, the search may never fully end. But here is my current solution.
MySnowPro.com or MSP as I call it.
The instructor can add articles, individual pictures or entire galleries of a student/family’s stay, fully customizable blog categories, automatic archives of all posts, video, automatic monthly e-newsletters sent to all registered students (no charge to register). And the student can subscribe to the instructor’s RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed right from their browser, or receive emails alerting them to a new post. Whew, that’s alot..
We are packing as much in as we can. And we continually ask, what do we want as working professional instructors? How can we offer our students more?
And the cost to any instructor, less than a small gratuity. That is it. What is it worth? Use it for a year and find out.
This is my dream site for a working Ski and Ride professional and with those who they share the love of the sport.
Use it and enjoy it.
To your success,