1. Non-qualifying competitions. These competitions happen throughout the year at rinks all over the country. They are called "non-qualifying" because winning one doesn't make you eligible to skate in another. It's a competition completely unto itself. Non-qualifying competitions bring in both little children experiencing their first competition and high-level athletes who wish to try out a new program. Typically, these competitions cost about $5 to watch in person, and are a great place to learn more about the grassroots side of the sport.

2. Qualifying competitions such as Regionals and Sectionals. At these events, skaters at all levels compete for the chance to go to the National Championships. In the United States, the country is divided into three Sections and each Section has three Regions. Like the non-qualifying competitions, Regionals and Sectionals are very inexpensive, so we highly recommend checking them out if you can. At these events, you get to mingle with the hard-core fans and the skaters' families.

3. Grand Prix. Elite Eligible skaters are exempt from qualifying for Nationals each year, so they spend their autumns competing in a series of competitions that pit them against the best skaters in the world. This series of competitions is called the Grand Prix, and it consists of six events held in North America, Europe, and Asia. Since the top skaters in the world participate in the Grand Prix, fans see these events as an early peek into how the season will unfold.

4. World Championships. Every skating season ends with the World Championships, which take place in March or April. "Worlds" is the only event where all the top skaters from every country meet (Grand Prix events have much smaller fields, so only 8 or 10 skaters meet up at each of those) and it is therefore seen as the worlds top competition of the year.

5. TV Competitions. There are a number of made-for-TV competitions with widely varying formats. Sometimes there are team events in which skaters from different countries are pitted against each other; sometimes it is boys against girls. Whatever the format, these events are seen as fun fluff and they are one way in which Eligible skaters can earn money (not to mention get that all-important TV time).

6. Olympics. Finally, we would be remiss to neglect the top figure skating competition in the world: the Winter Olympics. Held only once every four years, every skater values an Olympic gold more than any other honor.. But attending such an important event ain't cheap: tickets for the preliminary rounds cost $35 - $275, and tickets for the medal rounds cost $50 - $400.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW know the purposes of studying martial arts?