THE SKIER’S MANIFESTO COMES TO AN END


After a lot of reflection I have come to the difficult decision to permanently delete The Skier’s Manifesto.

I started The Skier’s Manifesto in May of 2013 with the fervent hope that it would connect with skiers and serve as a catalyst for a diverse, integrated, science-based approach to ski technique and the design of ski equipment. But after 7 years the number of followers of the Skier’s Manifesto is less than 900.

In 2013 I knew that equipment played a significant role in sker performance. But I had no idea of the number of factors that had to be optimized to enable an elite level of skier performance. Nor did I realize how seemingly subtle factors like one tenth of a degree changes in ramp angle (zeppa + delta) could have such a powerful effect on neuromuscular function.

But the most significant factor is that I have found it all but impossible to offer solutions to the myriad of issues that can and do affect skier performance. To do this would take the coordinated effort of a team of professionals.

Finally, the devastating impact on skiing and ski racing of the recent corona virus outbreak in combination with a declining skier market has made it highly unlikely that skiing will ever make significant changes. While there is a wealth of information on the Skier’s Manifesto I have concluded that it serves no worthwhile purpose because there is no practical way to apply it in a sequential, coordinated manner.

Thank you to those who have followed my blog. I tried my best to make a contribution to the knowledge base of skiing. But it is time to move on. I will be permanently deleting the Skier’s Manifesto in the next few days.

31 comments

  1. Mr. MacPhail-

    Don’t stop. Please. You are doing the right thing, writing this blog. I just found it last week, looking for a definition for “Platform Angle”. (I never found one that satisfied me, BTW) And I looked through all the blog entries with a matching title. But… I spent a couple of hours on your blog browsing, noting interesting threads that I hope I can come back to. This is more time than I usually spend on one blog so that counts as a small kudo at least. Keep writing, I’ll keep reading,

    You have latched onto a very difficult project, trying to explain physical concepts to a lay audience which is assumed to have no base in the calculus. You feel that your following of ~900 followers after 16 years is discouraging. I know nothing about these things but it is clear that for you it is a labor of love and I bet you have put a ton of effort in to this.

    I personally feel that you may have scoped your subject too narrowly. This has the advantage in that you can be more specific, but the disadvantage here is that it drives the interested-but-lazy readers away, resulting in lower readership. You can broaden your topic a bit (there is a lot of great skiing physics you don’t talk about- like powder skiing) but then can’t get into the depth of things as much. I have struggled mightily with this rigor-vs-readership conflict all my professional life, and still don’t have an answer.

    Good luck.

    ps. I looked through a couple of the patent documents and I must say, I am very impressed to see how much work must go into the application process.

    1. Thank you for your comments. In 1992 when I wrote the application for US Patent 5,265,350 I thought it unlikely that the overcoming the challenges in applying what had been learned from the Birdcage studies to ski boot were unlikely to be overcome within the term of any patents granted to me. So I put as much information as I could into the application with the intent to create as a respository of freely available information that would help to advance skiing as as a science. So, yes I did put an enormous amount of effort into the process in the pursuit of my passion and in the interests of making a meaningful contribution to skiing.

    1. I am going to keep the Manifesto going. But I need to hear from readers. I need to know what you want me to discuss. I called my blog The Skier’s Manifesto because it is for Skiers and is the Skier’s.

  2. David, Don’t do it!! Sometimes a break is a great idea that gives one time for reflection and renewal. My guess is there may be some burnout going here along with the disruptive effect on the whole planet of the corona virus outbreak. To decide in the midst of this personally feels like a rush to judgement.
    I agree with many readers above that your info is useful, relevant to expert skiers particularly and that the work is too valuable to delete. I hope you take several months off and see what is happening in the world, your world, and decide a course then.
    Like many I soak this up and don’t really participate on the forum. Does not mean I am not paying attention more that I see this as a resource and knowledge base.
    Thanks for all your time and research over many years!

    1. I have received a lot of positive comments and encouragement these past few months. So I have decided to keep going. If you want me to discuss or clarify an issue or offer a suggestion but don’t want your comment published please put a note on your comment PLEASE DO NOT PUBLISH.

  3. Dave,
    Thanks for your blog. Is there anything your readers can do to preserve the information?
    Donations? Ads would be ok with me.

      1. Dave always love the insight and knowledge based posts. The world is an especially crazy place right now.
        Look forward to more posts in the future .
        Crazy times for sure ..
        Jeff

  4. After I ve only found your Blog recently and didnt have enough time to read through all your articles i would be happy to get a copy of them if possible. It’s great Info, i found. I am ski Coach in Austria and would appreciate that very much! Thank you!

  5. Hi David ,

    I am, of course deeply saddened by your decision to end the Manifesto. Indeed, the corona virus pandemic is very serious and the cancelling of racing is disappointing, but probably the wise thing to do. However, I am not sure that taking away the only source of factual well thought out and researched information about the many issues you have presented is helpful to skiing. It takes time and, I believe, in this case word of mouth to promote ideas which are wrongly and stupidly opposed by the many industry puppets who claim to “support” skiing while fleecing the unsuspecting and, through no fault of their own, ignorant, skiing public.

    In fact, this is the only voice I am aware of for those who seek answers to equipment and technique questions unanswered and unaddressed by the industry. Yes, there are many issues affecting skier performance, but you have created an amazing practical framework to deal with many of those issues. I have found that many of those issues solve themselves by the application of your principles, especially your boot fitting concepts. It would be a shame for that quality, essential information to be lost to the skiing world even if it does not solve all the issues for all skiers. No one source that I am aware of has come close to doing that.

    I’m sorry, David, but I vehemently disagree that this information ” serves no worthwhile purpose because there is no practical way to apply it in a sequential, coordinated manner”. While the blog might be improved by some minor rearranging of the sequence of blogs, the important thing is that the information is in there. You have, in fact, suggested sequences for the practical application of several principles, boot fitting for example. I’d call that very worthwhile. And yes, there is a “wealth of information” and a wealth of knowledge here. It has real value and must not be lost! No blog or book will ever be a substitute for “the coordinated efforts of a team of professionals” such as the “Synergy” skier assessment project.

    Make no mistake, David, I am enormously appreciative of your quality, problem solving work, your commitment to finding real answers, your perseverance despite the the onslaught of bullshit from the industry, and the personal attacks from arrogant ignorants, your insight into and perspective of the issues, and your commitment to this blog. I am and will remain a fan of you and the Manifesto for life. Thank you!!!

    Sincerely,

    Herb Jones

    1. While the blog might be improved by some minor rearranging of the sequence of blogs, the important thing is that the information is in there. You have, in fact, suggested sequences for the practical application of several principles, boot fitting for example. I’d call that very worthwhile.

  6. Dave, Thank You for this endeavor. It has DRAMATICALLY improved my skiing. I recently received a nice compliment form a lift attendant, saying “That’s the best I’ve seen anyone ski that hill today” And it’s really on you for my improved skills, and balance (in very challenging conditions)

    The boot modifications made incredible sense. My Physical Therapist son in law completely agrees with your theories of dynamic balance and neuromuscular interaction. My knees feel better, as do my feet.

    Sorry to see you go.

    Robert

  7. Thank for the amazing job you have shared with the real skiers’ community.
    Please do not delete your blog and keep it for the history of the best contributors
    to skiing knowledge.

  8. Hi David,

    Sad to see this blog go but certainly understand your reasoning. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge the past few years, it has been valuable to read and digest (as an instructor in Banff).

    And, if not for you, I’d have no idea of the effects of ramp angle and the variety of boot modification options that do exist if you’re willing to get creative.

    Best wishes,

  9. Thank you! Your site has been full of great info. and insights. A true Prophet ahead of your time? Or maybe an relatively small industry that has high barriers to change, especially ski boots. Your thoughts on and comparisons to barefoot running etc resonated with me. I have changed the way I fit my boots as a result. I would encourage you to consider leaving your info online as a resource for others and it would be awesome to see some occasional commentary on skiing and ski racing from you. Best wishes and good luck!

  10. Hi Dave,
    I am a master level auto technician, a PSIA Alpine Examiner/Eastern Team member and a self taught boot & stance alignment Diy’er.
    As a competitor in our tryout processes for regional and National Teams, finding the optimum set-up for my own body’s requirements has been a top priority for about ten years.
    In the process, I’d developed a theory of requirements for my own boot and stance alignment that I have been putting to the test in steps to verify or disqualify various aspects of how to set up my own equipment and the equipment of others.
    I’d come to the conclusion that getting zeppa/delta angles right are crucial to attaining the highest levels of ski and physical performance and one of the first things in Stance Alignment that should be addressed.
    In the middle of making modifications to the cuff angle and boot board of my Lange RS 130 Wide, I came across your blog a couple of years ago and dove into the technical information you explored head first.
    Many of your theories and postulations rang true immediately and I’ve returned to review and process posts like how ramp angle affects the SR Stance, in an attempt to have greater understanding of the body/boot/stance performance relationship.

    I hope you’ll consider not deleting the blog as I find the information to be ongoingly valuable.

    I also sense a little bit of frustration in that the blog hasn’t grown to include more followers but I would say that it is common for a trailblazer not to be recognized until much later when others knowledge comes up to that level.

    I think this is the case with your knowledge level and that of the greater ski community. it may take time before people like me and others in the race world start to recognize how important a technical aspect like Zeppa Delta angle is to the overall performance picture of skiing.
    As new boot design trends come about, the herd mentality adopts them as though they should apply to every athlete of every height, joint length and physical composition.
    a good example of this is “well they’re building boots more upright now, so we should take out the spoilers from the back of everybody’s calf and have them stand more upright now”… this approach doesn’t work for everybody neither does any one approach.

    However, getting Zeppa/Delta angle right for each individual body type IS critical to reaching top performance.
    I have enjoyed reading and searching through your blog and all of its posts and I’ve returned repeatedly to increase my own understanding even though I have not been a contributor or had any responses to your posts until now.

    like the fellow from Australia that would like to download your entire blog, I also would like to download your entire blog if you choose to take it down. but again, I encourage you to keep it up and continue to post when you have time or feel so inclined.
    If you would like to see a greater following I would suggest posting links to the blog on Facebook pages like the PSIA-AASI Eastern and National pages and on Instagram where there is going to be a larger audience.
    No matter what you decide to do I have found your technical information on Stance, body mechanics and ski technique captivating and valuable.

    Sincerely,

    Joshua D. Haagen

  11. Thank you for your work. I have taught skiing for almost 50 years and you have helped me help more people than you know. I hope there is a way to keep your information available for future reference, it deserves to be shared so more people can benefit and enjoy the sport. Again thank you for your work.

  12. Sorry to hear that you are going to delete your work.
    Please let us to keep your good info still alive. And let us to download all of this. To help skiers now and future..
    Regards
    Mili
    Racers dad. Part-timecoach from Finland.
    #linnaski

  13. I’m sorry to hear that you are giving up. I spent many years skiing in pain and struggling to find good information about alignment. You site has been my saviour, Thank you.
    Although I understand your reasons for stopping I would implore you to keep the information available on the internet. What you have created here is far to important to be lost to future generations of skiers (even if their numbers are diminishing).
    What ever you decide, thank you for the help you’ve given me and others with similar problems.

  14. Dave
    I am sad to hear that you will be deleting the Manifesto. I have enjoyed reading it very much. I have turned many people onto your writings. I know that your ideas have changed everyone that reads what you have to say. I have been fitting boots for over 30 years and your ideas have changed how I approach the theory of boot fitting. Between you and Jay from Soze have completely changed the boot industry forever. You may not have changed the whole the industry, but you have influenced it greatly. I understand that the frustration of fighting the establishment. You have affected my life and everyone that I help more than you know.

    Thank you for your wisdom and persistence.

  15. Hey Jon….followed you for years here at sugarloaf usa me. Thank you for you continuing contribution and have to tell you with my coaching experience and well in to my third million turns thinking about it… I would hate to lose all the knowledge and insight you have provided. For me it’s been fascinating to gravy pick your insights combine my working knowledge and apply it. I would hope you might see your way to preserve what you have accomplished. Either on line or actually publishing like John Howe. Please consider and thanks for the ‘RIDE’

    On Wed, Mar 11, 2020, 7:32 PM The Skier’s Manifesto wrote:

    > skikinetics posted: “After a lot of reflection I have come to the > difficult decision to permanently delete The Skier’s Manifesto. I started > The Skier’s Manifesto in May of 2013 with the fervent hope that it would > connect with skiers and serve as a catalyst for a diverse, i” >

  16. Very sad to hear that you are deleting this blog. It was an awesome source of information and helped me immensely with my ski boots and skiing. Was wondering if you could leave the information posted even if you no longer are making contributions. Going to miss your contributions and hope that one day the industry sees the wisdom of your ways.

  17. Hi,

    Its sad to hear you are ending the Skiers Manifesto as it has helped me greatly and improved my skiing. I reside in Melbourne Australia and was wondering if in anyway i can download the complete skiers manifesto to keep to keep referring back to it. I use to have custom footbeds and custom injected ski boot liners and my skiing was struggling until I stumbled across skiers manifesto by sheer luck. I removed my custom footbeds and bought a pair of new ski boots, I didn’t do anything to the liners that came with the new boots I just built the zeppa board new generation got my proper angle to 2.8 degrees added 3mm spacer to the front of the monoboard that was in the Head Raptor 140 ski boots which gave me 2.8 degrees with it locked in the ski. My skiing this season improved immensely. I made sure my 1st metatarsal joint was being felt, I actually for th e 1st time felt like skiing was effortless thanks to you….I also built up my plantar fascia muscle and rest of the foot which then I realised that i did not need orthotics and walked around the house and yard barefoot. This is why I would like a copy of the skiers manifesto. I do question things and if its logical I believe in it, like your work so far. Unfortunately the masses follow the shepherd.

    Thanks again

    Theo.H

    On Thu, 12 Mar. 2020, 10:32 am The Skier’s Manifesto, wrote:

    > skikinetics posted: “After a lot of reflection I have come to the > difficult decision to permanently delete The Skier’s Manifesto. I started > The Skier’s Manifesto in May of 2013 with the fervent hope that it would > connect with skiers and serve as a catalyst for a diverse, i” >

  18. I’m sad about the news. While I agree that changing the industry and the people is not an easy task to be done by one person and that some things may change very slow if ever, your blog has a lot of useful information for ski professionals like instructors and coaches in a language that we can understand versus the highly technical language of the papers, studies, books your blog is referring to. You did make contributions to skiing. There is change in the industry but it is slow and it may not be much in the areas you are most interested – ski boots. I noticed over the years that some of the biomechanics you presented in your blog eventually made it to ski clinics that I’ve attended. I do not know what the cost to keep the blog up are but if possible to keep it up it would be helpful for the community even if no longer updated. Anyway thank you very much for all the teachings and good luck on whatever new endeavors you may have!

  19. Hi Dave, I could never ski long without foot pain until I found your blog and learned to modify my own boots. Comfort was my primary motivation but the performance improvements were unexpected. I would never have continued skiing without your blog. I have helped a number of friends with their boots using what I have learned here. It would be useful if this site could be left intact since I often refer people to it. Thank you for your contribution to skiing.

    Mike

  20. Thank you for all the great work and information with the Manifesto. In particular I have really appreciated the suggestions on ski boot modifications and have successfully applied much of that to my own boots. All the best in future endeavors.BobSent from Samsung tablet.

  21. Sorry to see you go. Your writing has helped me progress, I thank you for your wisdom.
    Best of days to you.

  22. David,

    Thank you for this Blog, I have followed it for a while and gleaned a lot of information and understanding ( I hope, as I go thru the notes I have a number of questions that present themselves ) While I understand your desire to delete I would hope that you realize that your contribution has been greatly appreciated.

  23. I am sorry that you have decided to abandon this activity. I have enjoyed your posts, mostly in the background. You have a wealth of knowledge and despite industry reticence, I hope you find a useful forum for your ideas elsewhere.

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