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What Is the U.S. Novice and Junior Challenge Skate Figure Skating Competition?


U.S. Challenge Skate Competitors' Credentials

U.S. Challenge Skate Competitors' Credentials

Photo by JO ANN Schneider Farris

Not an International Figure Skating Competition, But Almost Like One:

The U.S. Challenge Skate is a figure skating event that gives U.S. figure skaters at the novice and junior levels a chance to experience what an international competition is like. The competition is held at the same time as and in conjunction with the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.

Invitational and Prestigious Event:

The U.S. Challenge Skate is a competition developed by U.S. Figure Skating's Developmental Committee for U.S. competitive figure skaters who have competed at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships at the novice and junior levels or at the National Championship for Juvenile and Intermediate Figure Skaters (previously called the U.S. Junior National Figure Skating Championships) at the intermediate level who are moving up to novice.


Skaters are invited based on the previous competition season's placement at the national or junior national level. Intermediate skaters from a previous competition season who plan to move up to the novice level for the next qualifying competition year are eligible to compete in the novice events. Novice level skaters who are planning to stay in novice or move up to the junior level are also eligible.

After invitations are sent out, competitors must reply to U.S. Figure Skating's invitation by a certain deadline date. Entries are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Not everyone who wishes to participate may actually get to compete in U.S. Challenge Skate.

Those who have formed new partnerships in pair skating and ice dancing are eligible if at least one of the partners competed at the national level and is eligible to be invited. Ice dancers and pair skaters who have stayed together are first given the opportunity to participate, and then, if there is room for other competitors, the newly formed teams are also eligible to take part.

Participating Figure Skating Disciplines:

All four of the figure skating disciplines, men's singles, ladies singles, ice dancing, and pairs are invited to U.S. Challenge Skate.

A Learning Experience:

The Challenge Skate competition is meant to be fun and also serves as a learning experience for young, up and coming, and talented figure skaters.

Opportunities to Grow:

The skaters competing in the U.S. Challenge Skate are given a chance to attend seminars, participate in discussions, and undergo media training.

International Judging:

The competitors competing in U.S. Challenge Skate are judged by international judges; however, novice skaters's skaters are given technical scores by U.S. technical specialists. Junior level competitors' technical scores come from both international and U.S. technical specialists. After skaters complete their short program and also their free skate, they sit in the Kiss and Cry area and see their scores.

Team Leaders:

Each figure skating discipline at U.S. Challenge Skate is assigned a team leader. The team leader conducts meetings for the skaters, the coaches, and the parents. There is a time where the competitors in a certain discipline watch the championship event connected to their discipline together as a team and with their team leader. The Team Leader organizes social activities for each discipline such as a closing pizza party.

Team Jackets and Competition T-Shirts:

All competitors competing in U.S. Challenge Skate are provided with complimentary team jackets. The jackets are not the same jackets given to skaters who are part of Team USA. Like the skaters who participate in Team USA events, U.S. Skate Challenge competitors are expected to wear the jackets, if possible, as much as possible at the competition. For example, the skaters are encouraged to put on the jackets in the Kiss and Cry area and to and from the lockers rooms and when they get on the ice for practice sessions.

Those participating also receive a competition t-shirt. The t-shirt is not required competition attire.

Cheering For Teammates:

The competitors in The Challenge Skate cheer for their fellow teammates during the entire week of the competition.

Housing and Transportation:

U.S. Figure Skating arranges housing for the competitors, coaches, and their families, but U.S. Figure Skating does not pay for U.S. Skate Challenge competitors' housing, food, airfare, or transportation to the hotel and competition location. There is a shuttle that runs between the official hotel(s) and the competition arena for the skaters who do not rent a car during the competition, but all other expenses, including competition fees, are the responsibility of the competitors and their families. Skaters may room with their parents and eat meals whenever they wish.


Only one coach is credentialed per competitor or pair or dance team at U.S. Challenge Skate. The coaches taking part must meet the same requirements that coaches are required to meet at other U.S. Figure Skating qualifying competitions. A coach must be a member of both the Professional Skaters Association PSA and also be a member of U.S. Figure Skating; the coach must have met CER Continuing Education Requirements Category A, and also have completed the required annual coach registration.
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