Jumps involve the skater leaping into the air and rotating rapidly to land after completing one or more rotations. There are many types of jumps, identified by the way the skater takes off and lands, as well as by the number of rotations that are completed.

Each jump receives a score according to its base value and grade of execution (GOE). Quality of execution, technique, height, speed, flow and ice coverage are considered by the judges. An under-rotated jump (indicated by < ) is "missing rotation of more than ¼, but less than ½ revolution" and receives 70% of the base value. A downgraded jump (indicated by <<) is "missing rotation of ½ revolution or more". A triple which is downgraded is treated as a double, while a downgraded double is treated as a single jump.

An edge violation occurs when a skater executes a jump on the incorrect edge. The hollow is a groove on the bottom of the blade which creates two distinct edges, inside and outside. The inside edge of the blade is on the side closest to the skater, the outside edge is on the side farthest from the skater, and a flat refers to skating on both edges at the same time, which is discouraged. An unclear edge or edge violation is indicated with an 'e' and reflected in the GOE according to the severity of the problem. Flutz and lip are the colloquial terms for a Lutz and flip jump with an edge violation.

In 1982, the International Skating Union enacted a rule stating that a skater may perform each type of triple only once, or twice if one of them is incorporated into a combination or sequence. For a set of jumps to be considered a combination, each jump must take off from the landing edge of the previous jump, with no steps, turns, or change of edge in between jumps. Toe loops and loops are commonly performed as the second or third jump in a combination because they take off from the back outside edge of the landing foot, or skating leg. To perform a salchow or flip on the back end of a combination, a half loop (which is actually a full rotation, but lands on a back inside edge of the landing leg) may be used as a connecting jump. In contrast, jump sequences are sets of jumps which may be linked by non-listed jumps or hops. Sequences are worth 80% of what the same jumps executed in combination would be worth.

Jumps may be rotated in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Most skaters are counter-clockwise jumpers. For clarity, all jumps will be described for a skater jumping counter-clockwise.

There are six jumps in figure skating that count as jump elements. All six are landed on one foot on the back outside edge (with counterclockwise rotation, for single and multi-revolution jumps), but have different takeoffs, by which they may be distinguished. The two categories of jumps are toe jumps and edge jumps.

The number of rotations performed in the air determines whether the jump is a single, double, triple, or quadruple (known commonly as a "quad"). The simplest jump begins with a waltz jump which can only be done in a half-leap and is not classified as a single, double, or triple jump. Senior-level male single skaters perform mostly triple and quadruple jumps in competition. Triple jumps other than the Axel are commonly performed by female single skaters. Only one female skater, Miki Ando, has been credited with a quadruple jump in international competition.

Some elite skaters can complete a jump in about one second, with 26 inches of height and 10 feet in distance. The takeoff speed of a jump can reach up to 15 mph.

Toe jumps

Toe jumps are launched by tapping the toe pick of one skate into the ice, and include (in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest):

  • Toe loops take off from the back outside edge of the left or right foot and are launched by the same toe pick (toe walleys are similar, but take off from the back inside edge of the right foot);
  • Flips, which take off from the back inside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick;
  • Lutzes, which take off from the back outside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick.
  • Edge jumps

    Edge jumps use no toe assist, and include: Salchows, which take off from either the left or right back inside edge. Allowing the edge to come round, the opposite leg helps launch the jump into the air and land on one foot; Loops (also known as Rittberger jumps) take off from either the left or right back outside edge and land on the same edge; Axels, which are the only rotating jump to take off from a forward edge. Because they take off from a forward edge, they include one-half extra rotation(s).

    Other jumps

    There are also a number of other jumps that are usually performed only as single jumps and in elite skating are used as transitional movements or highlights in step sequences. These include the half toe loop (ballet jump), half loop, half flip, walley jump, waltz jump, inside Axel, one-foot Axel, and split jump. There are two kinds of split jump:

  • Russian split, performed in a position that is similar to that of a straddle split.
  • ladies split, performed in the position of the more traditional split, facing the direction of the front leg.