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Crystal Veil

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At the Vancouver Academy for Artistic Athletics, Victoria Hayes is the star pupil of figure skating. Blonde, beautiful, and graceful, she is the quintessential porcelain ballerina on the ice, on track for the next Olympic cycle. But behind the sparkling crystals and perfect lines, there’s something much more sinister lingering in the dark corners of her mind. The drive behind her insatiable need for perfection, one that must be kept secret at all costs. As her second Junior season looms in the distance, the shadows behind her seemingly flawless facade grow, becoming increasing impossible to contain. Will she find a way to fight it and hang on to everything she ever wanted? Or will the force upholding her crystal veil destroy her from the inside?

Drama / Other
Mary Chidiac
5.0 7 reviews
Age Rating:

Disclaimer and Glossary!

Hello! I want to thank you so much for clicking on this work about the figure skating world. But this is not going to be a typical ‘ice princess’ figure skating story, and for that reason, I want to give a disclaimer/trigger warning.

Throughout the story, a character is going to be dealing with an eating disorder. This is something I wanted to focus on because 1. It’s more common than you think in figure skating, and 2. It brings out a lot of really important mental health factors about the sport that I want to focus on.

With that said, I know eating disorders and body dysmorphia can be really tough things for people, myself included. The specific disorder the character will be dealing with is anorexia. The way I portray her is very much how she deals with it and is not meant to be reflective of anyone’s experience with anorexia, body dysmorphia, or mental health as a whole.

So, all that said, if the subject matter in this story is too much, you have my invitation to stop reading whenever you would like. But portraying something like this realistically and with compassion within the context of a sport I love and grew up in is something that was really important to me. I want to rip down the façade of what figure skating is perceived to be and show some of the really ugly things that happen in the sport every day.

With that, I hope you enjoy my story about the wild and crazy world of figure skating.

But first, just for reference, here’s a little glossary of some of the skating terms I’ll be using throughout the story.

General terminology:

Free leg: when a skater is on one foot, the free leg is the foot NOT on the ice. The foot on the ice is referred to as the skating leg.

Toe-pick: the pointy part on a figure skate that is super easy to trip over. Used for specific jumps and choreography flourishes in programs.

Program: A skater’s routine. At the level our main characters will be at, they have two programs: a short program and a long program. The scores from each of these programs are put together, which determines the skater’s final placement at a competition.

Jumping pass: Refers to the number of jumps you’re allowed to do in a program, it changes depending on the level.

Technical elements: Inclusive of jumps, spins, lifts (in pairs and ice dance) and various sequences. Programs have specific technical element requirements and are very strict.

Program components: This is everything in between the technical elements of a program; the artistic component, if you will. This includes skating skills, transitions, performance, program composition/layout, and interpretation of the music. A skater’s final score for a program is a combination of the technical element score and the program component score.

Freeskate: What skaters call their independent practice time. Figure skating is unique in that a big chunk of practice time is self-directed, but these sessions are usually a mixture of said independent practice time and private lessons with coaches.

Kiss-and-Cry: The place skaters sit and receive their scores during competitions. It received its seemingly polarized name from the two different kinds of reactions skaters get after they skate their program: kisses if they skated well, and cries if they did not.

Skating disciplines:

In each level of skating, there are 4 disciplines/events: Men’s, Ladies, Pairs, and Ice Dance

Men’s: This is where men skate solo. Compared to ladies, men’s figure skating usually sees a lot more quadruple jumps. Men’s long programs are usually thirty seconds longer than ladies, and contain an extra jumping pass.

Ladies: This is where women skate solo. There is a big focus on artistry here, since many women have similar programs in terms of jump difficulty. Up until recently, women were attempting quadruple jumps as well, but generally speaking, this is a rarity.

Pairs: A discipline where men and women skate together. Involves elements like over-the-head lifts, (where the man lifts the girl above his head with straight arms) side-by-side jumps and spins, and throw jumps (where the man throws the girl into a jump – and is just as terrifying as it sounds).

Ice Dance: Also where men and women skate together, but without jumps. Ice dance has a big focus on artistry and storytelling on the ice. Ice dance does include lifts as well, but no over-the-head lifts are allowed, so lifts are usually much more intricate and often involve spinning. Intensely technical in terms of unison, precision, and connection.


Single: When a skater rotates once in the air.

Double: When a skater rotates twice in the air.

Triple: When a skater rotates three times in the air: usually the standard at high-level competition.

Quadruple: When a skater rotates four times in the air. These are usually only attempted by men but can be done by women as well – but that’s a controversial discussion for another day.

Pop: When a jump has less rotation than initially planned. For example, if you’re planning a triple, but it turns into a single, that’s considered ‘popping’ your jump. Happens for a multitude of reasons, but it usually happens when something doesn’t feel right with the takeoff of a jump.

Snap: Usually referring to a skater ‘snapping’ into their rotation position. Is the process that gives a skater momentum to rotate so many times, so this step is vital.

Jump types:

There are six different types of jumps in figure skating and they all land backward on one foot. Three are edge jumps (no toe-pick assistance) and three are toe jumps (toe-pick assistance)

Edge jumps:

Axel: The axel is the only jump in skating that takes off forward, which means there’s an extra half rotation in the air. So a double axel, for example, has two and a half rotations. That half rotation doesn’t sound like much, but it is usually a make-or-break for skaters when they are learning jumps.

Salchow: Pronounced sow-cow. This jump takes off from a backward inside edge that is the opposite of the skaters landing foot.

Loop: A jump where the skater takes off on a backward outside edge on the same foot that they land on. My favourite (and still is).

Toe jumps:

Toe loop: This jump has a skater gliding on a backward outside edge, and they use the toe pick opposite from the landing foot to get into the air. Also my least favourite jump.

Flip: A toe jump where you glide on a backward inside edge, and use the same toe pick as the landing foot to take off. My other favourite.

Lutz: Exactly the same as a flip, but your starting edge is an outside instead of an inside. Called a ‘flutz’ if you take off on the wrong edge, and you can get deducted points if this happens.

Jump combination: One jump after the other! The first jump can be anything, but the second jump must be a toe loop or a loop because you cannot switch feet in-between jumps. If a combination has more than two jumps, it’s called a jump sequence.


Upright spin: a one-foot spin. Is usually the first spin skaters learn, and is the base for many spins that follow.

Backspin: An upright spin that takes place on the skater’s other foot, and always involves crossing the free leg over the skating leg. This Is also the position that skaters rotate in when they do jumps, so this spin is vital for development and is often used in a jump context as well.

Sit spin: when a skater spins on one foot in a sitting position (at least a 90-degree angle).

Back-sit spin: a sit spin, but on the other foot. Same requirements as above.

Camel spin: A spin where a skater leans forward and lifts their leg to meet or go above hip level to make a straight line from their head to their foot.

Back-camel spin: a camel spin, but on the other foot. Same requirements as above.

Layback spin: Technically a variation of an upright spin, but is considered its own thing. Has the skater leaning back while spinning. My favourite spin, but is also the one that destroyed my back. Oops. Usually only done by women, but men do it sometimes too.

(also- a back layback is technically a thing, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a skater do one successfully)

Variations: Any variation of either an upright, sit, camel, or layback spin, regardless of which foot you complete the position on. Variations give a spin more points, up to a certain level.

Flying spin: A spin that has a jumping entry. There are three types: Flying camel, flying sit spin, and death drop.

Flying camel: A flying spin where you jump wide and land in a back-camel position. Is often the base for flying-change-combination spins.

Flying sit spin: Similar to a normal sit spin, but during the entry, you complete a tuck-jump on one foot and land in a sit spin.

Death drop: My favourite and go-to flying spin. Is a flying spin where you complete a scissor-kick and land in a back-sit spin position. Not as terrifying as the name suggests once you get the hang of it, but it looks cool.

Combination spins: Spins where you change positions or complete variations mid-spin. Can include a flying entry and usually include a change of foot, which are then called ‘flying change combination spins.’

Spirals and sequences:

Spiral: A move where a skater glides either forward or backward, leans forward, and lifts their leg high up behind them.

Field move: Think along the lines of those big-show stopping moves. These are usually held positions that glide across the ice with a focus on musicality. Includes spirals, but can also include other moves which I explain below.

Spread eagle: A move where both feet stay on the ice, with the toes facing in opposite directions and straight legs (usually) on an inside or outside edge. Requires a lot of flexibility in the hips, but was one of my favourites.

Ina Bauer: Like a spread eagle, but with one leg bent. Sometimes accompanied by a backbend.

Hydroblade: As cool as it sounds. This is where a skater gets very low to the ice and glides backwards on one foot. Usually completed with a twist of some kind. Also my favourite.

Grab spirals: There are a few of these, but this is when a skater grabs their foot either in front, to the side, or behind them in different positions and glides across the ice.

Step sequence: A series of steps and difficult turns in a particular pattern.

Spiral sequence: Usually 2-3 spirals or field moves in a row.

Choreographic sequence: A sequence that can contain a mix of steps and spirals/field moves. Usually less strict in terms of content, because the primary purpose is that of musicality.

Skating competitions and levels:

The skating season: The main skating season takes place from October to March, but there are still many competitions that take place in the off-season.

Competitive: The stream of figure skating that eventually leads to the Olympic level. Is very demanding and often includes international competition.

Senior: This is the highest level of competition in figure skating. This is Olympic level, and these skaters are the main ones you see on TV. Often include many international events, including a Grand Prix series and World Championships.

Junior: One level below Senior, but still contains a host of international events a skater can compete in, including its own Junior Grand Prix, and Junior Worlds, among many others.

Grand Prix: A series of competitions (8 in Junior, 6 in Senior) that take place in the first half of the season. Skaters compete in two competitions each, and their placements determine if they got one of six spots in the Grand Prix Final, which takes place in December.

Nationals: The National Championships! Usually, they take place in January, but some countries host them in December.

Worlds: The World Championships, which take place at the end of the skating season in March. Held at the Junior and Senior levels.

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