Pairs Free Skating
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization
There are four different types of death spirals:
a. Death spiral backward outside edge: Both partners are skating on a backward outside edge.
The man performs a pivot and holds the hand of the lady with the same arm as his
skating foot fully extended. The lady is leaning backward to the ice and her arm is
fully extended as she circles around the man in this position.
Any variation of the man’s position, skating direction or edge is allowed as long as he keeps the pivot position as described and the lady circles around him on an outside edge.
b. Death spiral forward inside edge: The man is skating on a backward outside edge and the
lady is skating on a forward inside edge. The man performs a pivot and holds the
hand of the lady with the same arm fully extended as his skating foot. The lady is
leaning sideways to the ice and her arm is also fully extended as she circles around
the man in this position.
Any variation of the man’s position, skating direction or edge is allowed as long as he keeps the pivot position as described and the lady circles around him on an inside edge.
c. Death spiral backward inside edge: The same as for death spiral backward outside, but the
lady circles around the man on a firm backward inside edge leaning to the ice.
d. Death spiral forward outside edge: The same as for the death spiral forward inside except
that the lady circles around the man on a firm forward outside edge.
In the final death spiral position while the lady is performing the actual death spiral, both the man and the lady must execute a minimum of one revolution with the knees of the man clearly bent and in full pivot position.
The lady simultaneously must skate on a clean edge with her body and head close to the ice surface, however she must not touch the ice with her head or assist herself with the free hand or any part of the body. The lady’s body weight is supported by the force of the spiraling edge and the hold of the man.
The man must be in a centered position with a fully extended arm hold. Variations of arm holds and pivot positions (backward and forward) are possible.
Any kind of position is counted as a feature if the skaters’ hold lasts for at least one revolution; each additional revolution of the lady (full 360 degrees) after the first revolution will count as one additional feature to increase the level.
Remarks: If the man does not reach the pivot position at all (including toe pick in the ice), there will be no level called and the value of the death spiral is zero or, if the man does not stay in the pivot position (toe pick in the ice), while the lady is executing any kind of changes of positions or holds, the position of the lady does not count as a feature.
Inside death spirals, the lady’s lowest hip or buttock and head should not be higher than her skating knee.
Outside death spirals, the lady’s head should not be higher than her skating knee and her bodyline between her skating knee and head should be flat or a shallow arch.
For at least one full revolution the man should stay in a low pivot position (his buttocks are not higher than the knee of the pivot foot).
The level of a death spiral without one full revolution in the described man’s and lady’s position cannot be more than level one.
The entry commences at the beginning of the entry curve when one or both partners are already on one foot on the edge of the death spiral.
The exit starts when the man starts bending his “holding” arm in the elbow and ends when the lady comes to the vertical position.
A strong background in free skating, especially multi-revolution jumps is highly recommended for anyone wishing to skate competitive in qualifying pair events.
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.