A Look Back at DCSki’s First Decade 7
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

DCSki will soon unveil a new look to help propel the site into its second decade. But this is not the first time DCSki has evolved its look. Since its inception, DCSki has regularly been tweaked and enhanced. In celebration of our first decade, we provide this historical look back at how DCSki has evolved over the years.

DCSki began its life on-line, but not on the web. DCSki’s roots trace back to the Unofficial Whitetail Ski Report, which was distributed via e-mail to several hundred readers beginning around 1994. As a college student, I purchased a season pass at Whitetail and tried to visit multiple times throughout the winter. Back then, the only way to find out conditions at local resorts was to call their snow lines -; usually a toll call, and with few exceptions, full of enthusiasm regardless of actual conditions. In my newsletter, I provided candid condition reports, and began incorporating firsthand reports from other readers. Here is an issue from October 12, 1996:

October 12, 1996 edition of the Unofficial Whitetail Ski Report.

Soon, readers began asking for updates on additional ski areas. By the end of the 1996-1997 winter season, the Whitetail newsletter transformed into the SNOWBound newsletter, which covered a handful of mid-Atlantic ski areas such as Ski Liberty, Ski Roundtop, and Wisp. By the spring of 1997, SNOWBound had transformed from a text-only e-mail newsletter to a simple web site, although the newsletter continued to be distributed, summarizing articles from the web site.

February 18, 1997 edition of the Snowboard newsletter.

During the summer of 1997, SNOWBound transformed into DCSki.com. By late 1998, DCSki was a thriving web site, covering about a dozen ski areas throughout the mid-Atlantic. DCSki provided original articles and an event listing. DCSki had also attracted its first advertisers.

DCSki on December 12, 1998.

DCSki’s evolution continued into 2000. By then, DCSki provided a real-time weather feed, and detailed Resort Profiles for a number of mid-Atlantic ski areas. Coverage continued to expand as new ski areas were added throughout the mid-Atlantic. DCSki also provided a listing of local ski clubs, and a Message Forum, providing readers with an opportunity to engage in discussions.

DCSki on July 6, 2000.

By the 2000-2001 winter season, DCSki’s feature set began to explode. DCSki added a Snow Condition Report feed, and a Bargain Tracker, cataloging ways to save money. The Lodging Finder provided a way to find or advertise ski rentals, and the News Vault provided a way to browse through DCSki’s ever-growing list of original stories. DCSki also unveiled its first search engine. By now, digital photography was picking up steam and allowing DCSki to frequently include timely photos.

DCSki on November 18, 2000.

Throughout 2002 and 2003, DCSki added features and gained in popularity.

DCSki on September 26, 2002.


DCSki on February 7, 2003.


DCSki on July 3, 2004.

During the summer of 2004, DCSki underwent a major redesign from the ground up. DCSki’s underlying infrastructure was completely rewritten to store all content in a database, providing significant flexibility and making it possible to cross-link relevant content throughout the site. The site was moved from a Sun Cobalt Raq server to a dedicated Apple XServe multiprocessor server, hosted in a high-tech facility. DCSki also unveiled a new logo and a new look and feel. Engineered for the future, DCSki’s new infrastructure reduced the burden of maintaining the site, allowing all content on the site to be updated worldwide. This infrastructure has stood the test of time and continues to power DCSki. I slept very little that summer.

DCSki on November 3, 2004.

During the 2006-2007 winter season, subtle changes were made to DCSki’s look and feel.

DCSki on October 11, 2006.

As you can see from this collection of screenshots, as DCSki’s feature set has expanded, its main menu has grown unwieldy. Many readers are not aware of all of the resources available on DCSki.

Over the past several months, DCSki has been undergoing another major transformation, which will be unveiled in the near future. This transformation preserves the feature set of DCSki and presents a new style that is immediately familiar, yet dramatically different in many ways. The goal of the transformation is to increase DCSki’s visual appeal, while making the site easier to navigate.

This latest transformation is merely another step along DCSki’s continual path of evolution. DCSki will continue to adapt to take advantage of the latest technologies, while offering a strong mix of original content and insight into mid-Atlantic winter sports.

Soon, DCSki will sport a new look and feel.
About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

Author thumbnail
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Reader Comments

August 13, 2007
Scott, congratulations on a decade of web publishing. That was a neat walk through cyber-time. Your efforts have brought a lot of information & enjoyment to a lot of people.
Thanks very much,
Jim Kenney
robbie a
August 13, 2007
Scott -

Very Cool. Excellent work! Congrats on a decade of serving the snow sliding community!

Ah the days of calling snow phones. That was an especially good pastime to do at work. "Man that guy must work hard he is always on the phone"
Iwan Fuchs
August 14, 2007
DCSKI made a big differents in the Eastern ski WORLD. Big effort and many hours from scott made it possible.

A big thanks from Switzerland.....Danke vo de Schwiiz
Connie Lawn
August 17, 2007
Scott - you are wonderful! What would the snow community do without you?
Onwards and upwards. Thank you, Connie Lawn
Jim C.
August 28, 2007
Fun look back! Thanks for making it all possible Scott!
August 29, 2007
This site has been awesome, plus a very useful resource. I honestly did not realize that there was THAT MUCH SKIING in the mid-Atlantic area! Granted, the areas are small compared to out west, but many of them do provide a lot of good, fun skiing. The forum has been a great way to meet fellow skiiers in the area.

Ah yes, how I also remember calling around on the snow phones back in the 'day'. Still remembered when I first moved to Virginia in 1993 and one of the first things I was wondering was "where the heck is there to go skiing around here?". I did not get a chance to ski at all in the 1994 season, manly due to not having any money and my unfamiliarity of the area. I found out about Massanutten due to the innumerable ads plastered around here in the F'burg area (along with Wintergreen). So DCSki (or at least the predecesor newsletter) started that first season after I moved into the area!

Much Kudos to Scott for the fine work.
September 1, 2007

Thank you for all that you have done. This website is a great resource, and I always point it out to folks interesting in skiing. You have helped me escape my summertime blues, and to realize that ski season will be here sooner rather than later.

I liked looking through the years. Here's to another ten and then some!

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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