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What's 1000 steps

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I have a quick question - alot of threads refer to 100 steps drill. There are so many posts referring to it I cannot actually find one describing it.

Can someone please tell me about it. Some people have referred to it being a good drill for inside leg movement - which is something I want to focus on.

Can anyone give me a run down on what it is and how it helps?

post #2 of 54
Essentially, instead of riding your skis around in an arc, you are literally stepping from ski to ski while turning. You start from a traverse (although if you're good you can start from standing still) and you alternately lift each foot into the air. The only way you will ever turn is if you cross-over your skis and start engaging your new inside edges. Each skis' edge is only engaged for a brief period, but that's enough to get them turning.

Simple to describe, hard to do. Practice this one on the bunny hill until you get the hang of it!
post #3 of 54
1000 steps is stepping from one foot to the other while your are gliding on your skis. Beginners may make their first turns by walking stepping around to make a turn. As a skier advances make steps while traversing, then make a few steps while in a turn, and finally being able to begin stepping (marching) anytime or all the time on skis. The exersise has many uses.

To find your best stance fore and aft. If a skier finds they cannot begin stepping it may be because they are in the "backseat". If the skier brings their upper body over their feet they are then able to begin stepping.

It is good for edging. As you step during a turn you must put the ski down on edge or it will slide out from under you.

If my skiing doesn't feel right I begin stepping around turns. This lets me know when I am in the correct stance.

It has many other benefits but this is a start.
post #4 of 54

Seems like when I was shown this drill, I recall doing more of a skating type movement...incorporating a forward drive along with the steps into the turn.

Do I recall this wrong????
post #5 of 54
Incorporating a skating move into the steps is a variation of the 1000 steps drill. When you do the skate steps they will tend to be bigger than the little tiny steps you need to make to get a "1000" steps into a single turn. The skate move puts more emphasis on the inside ski, while the tiny steps puts more emphasis on rounding out the upper part of the turn and making more continuous movements instead of abrupt movements.
post #6 of 54
(the)Rusty, thanks. That coincides with what we were working on at the time, and makes sense.
post #7 of 54

We did this drill too at Atomic Race camp this summer.

Everyone this summer in our camp also did this drill on the salom course at Mt Hood.

In 1000 step turns in this setting helped teach being able to use both the BTE of the outside ski, or the LTE of the inside ski to hold and maintain a turn with either edge. The drill also helped focus where should your fore and aft balance be.

It was quite a lot of fun, and much different than the setting most people are introduced to this drill.
post #8 of 54
"Thousand Steps" is, as others have pointed out, an excellent drill for many things. In various forms, it can be a great introduction to good skiing movements on the flats for first time beginners, or a challenging, ultra-dynamic drill for the highest level experts at top speed. It develops a functional, athletic stance, and fore-aft and lateral balance, including proper movements through the dramatically changing dynamics of ski turns, as well as the cross-over through turn transitions. It develops independent feet, and foot-to-foot movements, and it's a great "step" in a progression prior to working on the myriad weight transfer (inside edge to inside/flat/outside edge) and stepping (parallel/lateral, converging, diverging, skating) variations. It develops fundamental rotary skills ("independent leg rotation"), tipping/edging skills, and the flexing-extending movements responsible for both pressure-control and balance. It produces the "feel" of gliding and carving turns, and of controlling speed with line (e.g. completing turns), rather than braking. Effective arm movements, good alignment through the turn, "offensive" attitude.... Not to mention, it's good aerobic exercise (don't forget to breathe!) and a great warmup drill for a cold day.

Beware, though, that its versatility is also the achilles heel of Thousand Steps. It can "fix" virtually any problem in skiing, develop any skill. But it is only as specific as you, or your instructor, make it. For any particular effect, you have to choose terrain and line carefully, and modify the drill, or at least focus on the desired movement or component. It's already apparent in this discussion that people here have been exposed to several different versions, presumably for different valid purposes. Simply shifting your balance from foot to foot, for example, develops very different skills than "skating" through turns. Both are useful. Both are "Thousand Steps."

"Thousand Steps" is like a broad-spectrum antibiotic that works for many things, but can be so overused and non-specific that it loses all effect. I think it's important, especially in light of the original question ("What is Thousand Steps?"), to understand that it can have many faces. It isn't so much something you "do" as a tool you use in particular ways to accomplish particular objectives. The simple, unqualified instruction to "do some Thousand Steps" is pretty much useless on its own.

As generally good as the exercise is, it's worth noting that it can also produce or reinforce some very bad movement patterns if you aren't careful. I strongly recommend the watchful eye of a good instructor to make sure you learn to do it "right." For example, imagine simply stepping around in a circle, without moving forward--the most elementary version of Thousand Steps (sometimes called a "star turn," after the marks it leaves in the snow). You have two basic choices. You can open and close the tails of your skis, creating the letter "A" with each step, as you look down at your skis, and pivoting around the ski tips. Or you can open the TIPS, creating the letter "V" with each step, and pivoting around the tails. Add some forward movement now, and step around a small circle on the flats. The two movement options produce two very different effects. "V's" allow you to walk or skate cleanly around the circle, each step moving you into the turn. "A's" cause you to push your tails out, away from your intended direction, making it difficult to make the turn.

Since offensive ski turns are used to "go where you want to go," they require the movements of the "V" technique. The majority of intermediate and even advanced recreational skiers, though, will usually make "A's" when they first try Thousand Steps. This is instructive, because it's also how they make their "normal" ski turns as well, initiating them by pushing their tails, or their outside tail, out into a skid. Focusing on Thousand Steps with "V's," not "A's," is an extremely effective drill for replacing this defensive "negative" movement pattern with the "positive" ("into the turn") movements of offensive skiing. If anyone wants to try this, focus especially on your movements at the transition between turns. Most skiers can quickly learn to make "V's not A's" through the turn, but then resort to a few "A's" at the transition. You've got to fix it there too, if you want to make truly offensive, high-performance, linked, carved turns. Make sure you're on very gentle terrain, at least at first, so that "fear of the fall line" doesn't interfere!

Enough for now. Time to get on the snow. Right tip right to go right.... V's, not A's.... Go!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #9 of 54
that was probably the best description pro and con and its variations that I have ever seen or heard.

It is very important that people understand that the same drill, "thousand steps" has many variations and for many different skill levels, what is interesting though is that many intructors will only employ one variation.
post #10 of 54

/\ \/ or ||

BB - or rather than

A - bad

V - better

why not

|| = best

I don't know if by V you meant diverging tips, but this was a no no at this PSIA III Cert ran camp. If you didn't mean diverging tips - then - never mind.
post #11 of 54
Originally Posted by John Mason
...I don't know if by V you meant diverging tips, but this was a no no at this PSIA III Cert ran camp. If you didn't mean diverging tips - then - never mind.
1000 steps (in any form, V, A or || ) is an exercise, a drill - it's not skiing.

One wouldn't want to encourage diverging tips in normal skiing, but if your instructor was discouraging it as a drill, could you tell us why, or did you not distinguish between these two activities in your previous post?

Tom / PM
post #12 of 54

In the context

The context of the drill was to work on fore and aft balance and being aware and able to use both skis edges. All other aspects of the turn were pretty normal - just more rounded to slow things down so we could stay in the salom path while doing the drill.

The edging angles created the turn - we weren't really "stepping" to turn as there was plenty of slope .
post #13 of 54
Does anyone have a video example of this? I would like to learn it, but I think it would benefit for me much better to actually see it...
post #14 of 54
/\ \/ or ||

Hi John--good question!

First, notice that I am very careful to attach an outcome--a point--to the exercise. ("IF you want to accomplish ________, THEN ________is the right move.")

So--IF you want to step your skis around and face the opposite direction, while standing in one place, THEN I defy you to keep your skis parallel! You will have to employ either or both of /\ or \/ --although you could always try X as well. But || won't do it. (And I do like your symbols!) (Please note that when I am using these symbols here, "forward" is "up," toward the top of the page.)

And IF you want to walk your skis around a small circle on the flats, THEN your choices are even more limited. || might allow you to CARVE around a circle, but if the circle is small enough, you won't be able to do that (which is why I specified a SMALL circle). \/ allows you to follow the path of virtually any circle, any size--although the size of the steps--and the "V-ness" of the skis could decrease as the circle got larger--to the point of || when large enough.

On the other hand, trying to get around the small circle with /\ would be almost impossible, because each "tails out" step is a negative movement--literally a move in the wrong direction.

One VERY important point, that could throw a big wrench into the picture for some people, is that all these "steps" have assumed that your skis START parallel (||), and that your first movement from there is either \/, /\, or ||. [EDIT: Actually for better clarity, this sentence should really read, "your first movement from there is either |/, /|, or ||--for a right turn."] If your skis start in a wedge, then the same action that produced a \/ from parallel might simply cause less of a wedge--or possibly even parallel! (/\ + "right tip right" = //) (This is fun!) As I have so often insisted, it is not the POSITION that counts, but the movement. Proper wedge turns involve the exact same "right tip right to go right" focus, yet the skis may remain in a wedge. With a little more speed, and a little more activity of the inside leg, they will naturally become parallel, with NO CHANGES in the fundamental movements or the intent or thought behind them.

Finally, whether skis "should" diverge generally, especially at high levels, is a valid question. I will say this, for a start: the inside leg ACTIVITY that produces the obvious divergence in "Thousand Steps" is very much a part of most high performance turns--and ALL carved turns if you are 100% balanced on the outside ski. The ski POSITION, once again, is a separate issue, and the fact is, even with an extremely active "right tip right to go right" movement, the skis may remain (virtually) parallel. Sound like a contradiction? Faisasy has hinted at the solution in this thread (first post).

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 54

marching in place

If you started parallel if your first "step" was with the inside foot, a \/ would be required to "stay parallel", as when your outside foot steps next.

In our little real life use of this drill, though, we really didn't "step" forward. We started parallel, slightly down hill and pushed off. The Stepping was really up and down not forwards, more alternating the feet. The slope provided the motion, the edges provided the rotational force.

In a beginner setting on a flat surface I've used this drill to have the student simply step in a circle with each step being the inside foot tipped to it's LTE then setting that LTE on the snow, then bringing the outside foot up to match providing early practice for movements developed later on the snow. This is still a || version as whenever the feet are adjacent to each other they are parallel. However, when the inside foot is steped forward a \/ is done or no circle would be defined.

I imagine every teaching background and coach has their own multiple uses for this drill. Interesting post, probably more answers than the original poster thought there would be.
post #16 of 54
Well after reading this several times I believe the solution is the position of the body. Wether in a wedge,parralel, or diverging you must be balanced. The fundamenal movements should be the same.Faisasy comments on bieng lazy and probably finding himself thrown in the back or shall I say losing his functional tension!
This is a cool thread. !000 steps is one of my favorite drills. I do it often for myself and I get instant feedback on where my feet and body are throughout the turn.These are just some of my thoughts!

post #17 of 54
Great points, John.

Since this drill is so all-encompassing, it should surprise no one that discussing it can lead in all sorts of directions!

Now (you're going to hate me for this, John--sorry!)--IF you call it "parallel" because, each time you "match" with the other ski, the skis are in fact parallel (even though they were diverging before the match), THEN--would you also call a turn that begins with a wedge and then matches a parallel turn too?

For all intents and purposes, I would! Or at least, I maintain that the essential movements of good "parallel" turns are exactly the same in this turn (actually a wedge christie, of course), and that, as I've said all along, the "FACT" of being parallel all the time is really not what is important.

|| > |/ > // (The sequence of "right tip right" followed by "matching" (left tip right) in "thousand steps."

/\ > /| > // (The same movements, as closely as I could draw them, in a "wedge christie")

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #18 of 54

getting down to the fine points

close - but no cigar

in actual skiing we are not moving our inside foot forward as in a "step" drill

no need for diverging the tips - unless one wants to, of course

(however, I expected you put that spin on it )
post #19 of 54
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado
I strongly recommend the watchful eye of a good instructor to make sure you learn to do it "right."
I first encountered the "1000 steps" drill years ago when I was a rookie instructor. Our clinicians at a small Pennsylvania area were demonstrating this to us. With their feedback and a few practice sessions, I thought I had figured this one out.

Then came ETU last year, and my group's coach (Tim) showed us what "1000 steps" is suppossed to look like. I was in awe. As Bob Barnes has said, there are many, many variations of this, depending on what the instructor is trying to accomplish. Given that in both cases (instructor training and ETU) the goal was to accomplish a greater feeling of cross-over, I would have expected the demos to be fairly similair, but no way. Tim's demo of "1000 steps" is one of those "burned into the brain" images.
post #20 of 54
Originally Posted by John Mason
close - but no cigar

in actual skiing we are not moving our inside foot forward as in a "step" drill

no need for diverging the tips - unless one wants to, of course

(however, I expected you put that spin on it )
John, define forward!
post #21 of 54


as in not backwards

In a thousand steps drill, where you're actually taking steps vs just lifting and setting the foot down, you are moving one foot forward than the other one.

In skiing, if the goal is parallel shins, then both feet are next to each other. Neither is forward of the other to any great degree.

If the goal is not parallel shins and you are moving your inside foot forward and in a very short radius turn, this foot, to be parallel, will actually be leading the turn a tad and be slightly more turned in. This would still not be diverging tips.

In my mind, what I did on my 4th day of skiing was diverging tips. It got me to the blues and was a ton easier getting the skis to turn than "pushing the grape" under my big toe while turning that outside foot inward.

I know that diverging tips means different things to different people. A lightly weighted ski, with a slight inward pointed bias can help tighten a turn. Or, you can tighten a turn by disrupting your balance by simply tipping the inside foot without pointing it into the turn more. This increases your inclination and shortens your turn. This action can be dowe fully weighted or not weighted at all or anything in between. (see Eski's point on the cached thread I brought up elseware).

I personally focus on inside foot tipping while taking care not to diverge the tips in any attempt to "cheat" the turn. Patience is a virtue.

(but we are about to hijack a thread on the pros and cons and uses and abuses and views and dis-views of tipping alone vs diverging the tips or what the appropriate combination is or is not - so - if we are going there - let's start a new thread)

I would be interested in more details in Tim's implementation of the 1000 steps at the ETU. Thx.
post #22 of 54
Originally Posted by John Mason
as in not backwards

In a thousand steps drill, where you're actually taking steps vs just lifting and setting the foot down, you are moving one foot forward than the other one...

Are you saying that forward is along the length of the ski towards the tips?
post #23 of 54
Hi John--I'm trying to find what I or anyone else said that you've interpreted as a directive to move a foot "forward"--although Chris's questions about what "forward" means to you may reveal the answer, and if all it means is "not backward," as you've said, then I guess I do mean that.

In any case, "stepping," as I'm describing it, does not necessarily imply that a foot has to move forward in relation to the other foot, and if I implied otherwise, I did not mean to. If "forward" means the direction you're trying to go in the new turn, then the Thousand Steps that I've described (diverging, skating-type steps), does suggest that--both skis move in that direction.

Simply walking around a circle on the flats MAY suggest moving one foot in front of the other, as in walking without skis, but in practice it is more likely to involve pushing your whole body forward with your poles, so that your skis slide, just as they would down a hill. This is as it should be, because it is more relevant to the eventual goal of sliding on the hill. The steps, then, are merely to change direction, not to propel you foward, and one foot need not move in front of the other, except again in the direction of the turn (tip lead, as a result of both legs rotating, but NOT as a result of any intentional movement of one foot forward).

Focusing on inside foot tipping is fine--but it alone won't get you around that little circle. It's a different drill, for a different purpose, that produces a different (but no less valuable) outcome. It won't get you around the corners of a lift line either! The "patience" you refer to is NOT a virtue when you need to turn more quickly than your skis can carve!

I am in no way trying to contradict what you're trying to say here, John--just looking to clarify.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #24 of 54

push with the poles - there's another way

In forward, as in beginner drill on level ground, first with no skis but just boots in fact, yes - inside foot brought forward while tipped to LTE, set down, then outside foot simply brought forward. If inside foot was tipped, outside foot will tend to follow both inclination and direction. Poles are used for balance, not pushing (obviously since this version of 1000 steps has no skis).

I forgot to mention, no skis in this version.

Personally, that version (above), and the stepping up and down at Mt Hood, are the only two I've seen.

What's the Tim version?
post #25 of 54
I guess without skis on you'd have to move your feet forward with each step or you'd go nowhere. However, I've never seen it demoed on skis with a move forward (I'm sure it's been done that way though). The way I've seen it done, the steps are more like "out" than anything else. You make a V and as you are gliding you step your outside ski back aprallel to the inside ski, then step into another V, and so on.
post #26 of 54
Best fun thing to do with this is... circles! Running around at reasonable speed and going right around, doing the aggressive V type 1000 steps. I just do it for fun.
post #27 of 54
This discussion seems to be going in circles and getting nowhere. There is no single right or wrong way to perform 1000 steps. There is no single 1000 steps drill. The term 1000 steps defines a group of drills that have a wide array of variations.

You can do:

* Purely horizontal steps with no divergence/convergence

* Narrow lateral steps with no divergence/convergence

* Medium lateral steps with no divergence/convergence

* Wide lateral steps with no divergence/convergence

* Narrow/medium/or wide lateral diverging steps

* Narrow/medium/or wide lateral converging steps

* Narrow/medium/or wide skating (forward thrusting) diverging steps

* All the above at varying step frequencies.

There you have 39 of the most basic variations of the 1000 steps drill. Each is correct, and each expands the balance, edging and agility skills of the student. Skill levels can be further enhanced with the addition of elements of rotary, fore/aft, and flexion/extension to this family of drills.

post #28 of 54
Welcome back, Fastman!
post #29 of 54
Thanks cgeib.
post #30 of 54
The mechanics of a shorter leg require the foot to move forward. Granted this isn't, or shouldn't be an intentional pushing forward of the foot, but it's not hard to see how someone could get this impression. When the move of the body onto and over the inside ski happens, this also will require a move of the Com forward as the leg straightens. This could also give the impression that the foot is moved forward, and the body plays catchup.

I also like seeing you back Fastman. Later, RicB.
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