Assorted Ice Skating Terms Every Skater Should Know

A Short Glossary of Fun Figure Skating Terms

A figure skater kicking up some ice while skating
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Attitude: To do an attitude, start off with a one-foot glide, stretching your free leg behind. Bend your free leg slightly, and put one arm up above your head and one arm out to the side. Make sure your free thigh is raised and turned outward. Keep your head up throughout. You should look a bit like a ballerina if you do the move correctly!

Axel: An Axel jump is a figure skating jump where the take-off is on a forward outside edge. After jumping forward from that forward edge, the skater makes one and one-half revolutions in the air and lands on the other foot on a back outside edge. It may take years for some skaters to master an Axel. Once a skater "gets an Axel," double jumps usually come quite quickly.

Biellmann: To do a Biellmann, a skater holds the free leg's blade with both hands and pulls it back way above the head. The legs become completely split, although the free leg is bent. The free foot must be over the head. The Biellman position is named after Denise Biellmann, a Swiss skating champion.

Bunny Hop: The bunny hop is one of the first jumps new ice skaters learn and master. To do a bunny hop, glide forward on one foot and then swing the free leg forward. Then land on the toe pick of the swinging leg and glide forward on one foot again.

Camel Spin: Camel spins are figure skating spins done in the same position as the spiral move, which is based on the classic arabesque position from ballet. Like a spiral, the skater's upper body and free leg are held horizontally in the camel spin. The free leg is extended parallel to the ice, and the free foot is turned out. The skater's back should be arched, and the head should be up. The arms are usually held out to the sides, but other arm variations and positions are acceptable.

Crossovers: Every new ice skater looks forward to learning crossovers. Crossovers are the way skaters move around a corner or curve. A skater crosses the outside skate over the skate that is on the inside of the curve.

Death Spiral: A death spiral is a figure skating move done in pair skating. The man does a back outside pivot and holds the lady's hand. The woman circles the man on a forward or backward inside or outside edge. The lady's body is in an almost parallel position to the ice, and her head is dropped back.

Flutz: A flutz is an ice skating nickname for a Lutz jump that is not done correctly. The Lutz's entry edge must remain on the outside edge. If the edge changes to an inside, the lutz jump is considered a flip jump and does not receive full credit. The nickname for this mistake is "flutz."

Freestyle: In the ice skating world, the word "Freestyle" has more than one meaning. Freestyle can mean doing jumps, spins, turns, and steps on the ice. A freestyle can also mean a practice session. Beginning ice skaters usually first practice on public skating sessions, but more advanced figure skaters practice on freestyle sessions.

Mohawk: A mohawk is an ice skating turn that is done from same edge to same edge, from either forward to backward or backward to forward. The name "mohawk" for this turn was derived from a cut-like step that was used by the Mohawk Indians in their war dances!

Salchow: A Salchow is a figure skating jump done from the back inside edge of one foot to the back outside edge of the other foot. A half revolution is done in the air. The Salchow jump was invented by Ulrich Salchow in 1909.

Shoot-the-Duck: The easiest way to learn to do a shoot-the-duck is to first glide forward on two feet and then bend both knees and to squat down into a sitting position. Move as fast as possible. While gliding on two feet, kick one foot forward and keep gliding on one foot.

Skating Parent: A skating parent has taken on a very hard job. He or she must get up early, spend a lot of money, do a lot of driving, and sit in a cold ice arena for hours and hours.

Spiral: A spiral is based on the classic arabesque position from ballet. To do the move, a skater glides one foot with the chest facing towards the ice and with the free leg stretched back.

Swizzles and Twizzles: These terms rhyme, but they are very different moves. Swizzles are exercises done by beginning ice skaters. Twizzles are multirotational one-foot turns that move down the ice.