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.
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.