My first lutz in competition

by Mary on September 29, 2013

skating an Ina Bauer

skating an Ina Bauer

Landed my lutz jump at PNIC! I had never skated one in competition before and was pleased to have it pop up nicely and land just fine at the Pacific Northwest Interclub event. This was last month but I just now have the video ready for you. It took me almost a year from landing a lutz in practice for the first time to skating and landing one in competition.

My program was originally choreographed with a lutz but coach Lisa took it out in March about a week before Sectionals because it wasn’t consistent enough. I could skate it pretty well as an isolated element but it’s always harder to skate a jump on demand in the midst of a program. I wanted to skate my program as it was originally conceived, with a lutz in it, and that was one of my goals in signing up for PNIC.

I had let this program get rusty after March as I worked on a couple of ice dances, my gold moves, and my program for my dad which I performed for the first time just a week before PNIC. When I got back to work on it at the beginning of July I felt like I barely remembered the footwork. Luckily I had some really good ice to train on and an accomplished and fun new adult skater friend training on the same sessions. She came to watch me compete which I really appreciated.

For all you non-skaters the lutz is the second jump in the program (at :44). When my coach took it out in the spring I skated the easier flip jump in that spot instead. Flip and lutz are a bit hard to distinguish visually, it depends on the edge you take off from (outside for lutz, inside for flip). The lutz is harder because it’s a counter-rotational jump that requires more effort to rotate properly. Feels great when it works, though, pops right up off the ice like nothing else.

skating a back spiral

a back spiral

The only other competitor in my event was an adult skater friend of mine. We support each other’s skating but it’s also valuable for us to push each other competitively. We both competed at Sectionals but in two different age categories. Two weeks later we competed head-t0-head in a local competition and she won in the unanimous judgement of three judges. This time she again won first, and me second, though of the five judges at this event three placed her first and two placed me first so it was quite close.

My first jump, a usually reliable loop-loop combination, had been flakey just before the event and indeed the second loop did not land properly. Fortunately I was able to stay on my feet and move on. My sit spin to back spin combination also gave me trouble, traveling enough that I could barely hold onto it. Both of those elements had gone better months previously at Sectionals. Really I had quite a good skate at Sectionals, I’m happy for that.

On the plus side, besides adding the lutz I was able to improve my program in a few other ways. My flip-toe-toe combination jump was smoother than other times I’d performed it. I had tweaked my choreography to be able to hold my Ina Bauer longer (at 1:07) and my twizzle sequence (starting at 1:22) was somewhat improved. I was aiming to connect better with my audience, clearly an ongoing project, but I was able to relax and look to them a little bit more. That’s an area where my friend who competed with me really shines: she competes nationally in Latin dance and her posture and performance quality are excellent.

I love this program and its music, Walking Through by Kaya Project. I may not skate it again, but I’m glad I took the time to work on and perform it this summer.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Meghan September 30, 2013 at 2:55 am

That’s so cool! Ice skating is such a hard thing to get down pat and you look great! 🙂 Love the purple!
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mary September 30, 2013 at 3:02 am

Thanks, Meghan! And thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting!


Eva September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Your dress is gorgeous, Mary! And congrats on landing your lutz in competition – what a fabulous accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourself!
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mary October 1, 2013 at 3:54 am

Thanks, Eva! I am happy with my dress, it was made by a young adult skater friend of mine who has a skating dress business. Looking forward to hearing about your competition soon!


Carrie September 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm

What a great job! You are such an inspiration!


mary October 1, 2013 at 3:55 am

Thanks, Carrie, and thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!


Rosie September 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Hi Mary,

It was a great program again. I love watching you skate because you keep getting better and better each routine! Makes me wish I could do it too, you make it look easy now.



mary October 1, 2013 at 4:00 am

Aw, thanks Rosie!


Laura October 1, 2013 at 1:44 am

This is so awesome! I had no idea that adults could figure skate (silly, I know). You look awesome!
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mary October 1, 2013 at 4:18 am

Thanks! Yup, we can still skate at all ages and they break the competitors up by 10 year divisions until they get to 61+. I just looked up your type of competition and it looks like the oldest category is 35+, is that right?


Laura October 1, 2013 at 4:28 am

Oh yes – we have all ages. Look up Grandma Sheppard!
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mary October 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Wow, she really is inspiring, and really giving back to her community. Thanks for letting me know about her!


Millie October 1, 2013 at 2:14 am

This was a very smooth performance. Congratulations.


mary October 1, 2013 at 4:20 am



Reeni October 2, 2013 at 12:36 am

Congratulations Mary! Your routine was beautiful! My Mom watched too and she said you’re pretty amazing!
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mary October 2, 2013 at 4:57 am

Thanks so much Reeni! I’m happy that your mom watched it and you let me know what she said!


moderngirlnutrition October 2, 2013 at 6:36 am

I loved that video! Great job!


mary October 4, 2013 at 4:58 am

Thank you, Sunnie!


Kiran October 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

You look amazing, my friend!! Thanks for sharing your journey with us 🙂
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mary October 4, 2013 at 4:56 am

And thank you for following it!


Joanne October 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

You’re skating beautifully. All that effort pays off 🙂
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mary October 4, 2013 at 4:56 am

Thanks, Joanne!


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