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Part 1: General Guidelines


The following guidelines have been developed to provide a general overview of the expected performance level for the Skating Skills tests. Standards have been developed for each exercise to outline the specific points to look for in the exercise.

Skating Skills music as well as the Skating Skills Technical video may be purchased through the Skate Canada order department.



A Skating Skills exercise is a combination of fundamental skating movements, executed on a pattern and skated solo to prescribed music.

The movements are derived from compulsory figures, free skating and ice dancing.

Each exercise is unique and focuses on various technical abilities, in a logical progression from Preliminary through to Gold.



The criteria for overall assessment of each exercise are as follows:

  1. Edge Quality
    Assessment Criteria: Accuracy and Depth of Edge
    • Characterized by a stable arc without sub-curves or wobbles.
    • Accuracy of the edge and depth (degree of lean) are the assessment components of edge quality.

      Note: There is great variance in the depth of edge for the steps and lobes.

  2. Ice Coverage
    Assessment Criteria: Power and Flow
    • Power is the creation of speed.
    • Flow is the maintenance of speed.
    • Power and flow are the assessment components of ice coverage.
    • Placement (pattern) will vary according to the size of the rink and the size/strength of the skater.
    • Power from the blade (rather than the toe) is required (except where noted otherwise).
      This should be evident in at least 75% of the pushes in each exercise.

  3. Ease of Motion
    Assessment Criteria: Balance, Control, Agility and Flexibility
    • Balance on the blade; control of the body
    • Balance and control create stability.
    • Agility or quickness refers to the rapid and precise execution of turns, changes of edge and transitions (i.e. weight transfer from one foot to the other)
    • Flexibility refers to the range of motion in the joints (shoulder, hip and ankle).

      Some skaters may be limited in their flexibility (hip turn-out) due to their body build. Steps such as the continuous choctaws, Ina Bauers and spread eagles required in Senior Silver Rockers and Choctaws, Gold Multi-Circle Double Threes and Mohawks and Gold Expanding Exercise may be difficult for some skaters to execute well. Therefore, weak edge quality, shortened or unbalanced movements in these particular skills should not prevent skaters from passing provided that the other requirements meet the standards.

  4. Correctness of Steps
    Assessment Criteria: Correctness of Main Features of the Exercise

    Errors in the main features of an exercise (turns, focus) are considered major errors and should be penalized. An error is considered a minor error, however, if it occurs in the connecting steps (i.e. crosscuts). Stops are a conclusion to an exercise and an error in a stop should be considered a minor error.

    The following should not be considered as incorrect steps:
    • Interchanging of open strokes, crosscuts, cross steps and cross rolls.
    • Foot placement in mohawks and choctaws.
    • Wide stepping or pushing in any weight transfer steps.

  5. Musicality/Pacing
    Assessment Criteria: Development of Feeling of Rhythm (as opposed to the Designated Timing)

    The Designated Timing on the diagrams usually indicates the simplest or most musical interpretation.

    Musicality refers to the use of the (measures of) music (musical count) to execute a step or group of steps. Awareness of count 1 or the start of the measure (usually the strong beat) should be evident in order to develop a feeling of rhythm. Many steps or groups of steps are designated one or more measures of music.

    Pacing refers to the allotted length of time in beats for a step or group of steps. The turn or change of edge may occur on any beat within this time frame.

    Example: Turn with a designated timing of 2+2
    This indicates the turn occurs on count 3.
    Pacing allows the turn to occur on any beat within the 4 beat time frame
    (i.e. count 1, 2, 3, or 4) but does require that the entire turn is only allowed 4 beats.

    Although for some exercises specific beats per step have been indicated, please note that the pacing of the exercise may dictate that the timing of each step may not be exactly as described.

  6. Assessment Criteria: Carriage

    Posture implies a higher and more extended line of the free leg and arms (shoulder level as opposed to waist) than was normally displayed in the execution of compulsory figures. The position of the head is more upright and the bend in the skating hip, knee and ankle is greater in order to maintain balance at faster speeds. A low, rigid compulsory figure presentation is not the goal.

    Note: The Focus highlights the criteria that are most prominent for the exercise. The focus is clearly indicated on all test sheets and diagrams as a master guideline for evaluators.



The following chart offers a comparative overview of the key components found in Skating Skills and their relationship to compulsory figures and compulsory dances.

(Power & Flow)
(often within an exercise)
Slow Medium to fast
(no variance within a dance)
Posture Head-up
Free leg varies-often extended
Arms high and extended
Upper Body Position:
forward and/or upright
Free leg and arms - low & close
Upper Body Position:
Free leg extended Arms high and extended (solo skating)
Upper Body Position: upright
Solo/Partner Solo Solo Partner (Solo in 3 Dances)
Number of Steps From 133 (Preliminary)
to 229 (Gold)
From 12 (1st Test)
to 24 (8th Test)
From 44 (Preliminary) to 95 (Gold)
Number of Sequences 1 sequence 3 repetitions (2 for paragraph figures) varies from 1-4 sequences (for tests)
Music Musicality/Pacing No music but sense of
Strict Timing
Lobes Vary from flat to shallow to deep within an exercise Symmetrical Vary in size & depth within each dance
Foot Placement Freedom allowed Symmetrical Neat & defined



As of July 1, 2001 Skating Skills will be credited to a skater who has passed a Skating Skills Class as follows:

Test Passed Credit Given
Class 1 Gold
Class 2 Gold
Class 3 Senior Silver
Class 4 Junior Silver
Class 5 Senior Bronze
Class 6 Junior Bronze
Class 7 Preliminary



Each exercise is assessed with one checkmark and the candidate must obtain Satisfactory or better for all 3 exercises. (Technical Handbook)



  1. Conduct of Skating Skills Tests (see Technical Handbook under STARSkate Program)
    Three exercises are skated in all Skating Skills tests.
    One candidate shall skate all three exercises before the testing of another candidate begins.
  2. Draws for Preliminary Circles (see Technical Handbook under STARSkate Program)
    Three draws for the test session are to be made to establish the exercise to be skated.
    1. Draw for direction of sustained edge: clockwise or counterclockwise.
    2. Draw for edge: outside or inside.
    3. Draw for forward or backward.

      Draw (a) is clockwise
      Draw (b) is inside
      Draw (c) is backward

      The skater will preform: RBI Option
  3. Stops and Falls (see Technical Handbook under STARSkate Program)
    In Skating Skills exercises and compulsory dances the skater shall continue from the nearest technically practicable point and not necessarily from the exact point of interruption.
  4. Interference (see Technical Handbook under STARSkate Program)
    The same policies and procedures regarding interference with a performance (music, equipment, etc.) apply to Skating Skills tests.
  5. Reskates (Rule 4606 (2) and Technical Handbook under STARSkate Program)
    At the request of the evaluator, one exercise may be reskated if necessary to pass.
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