In the U.S., qualifying figure skating competitions are those that are part of the competition structure leading to the U.S. Championships, U.S. Adult Championships, U.S. Synchronized Team Skating Championships, and U.S. Junior Championships. Qualifying competitions are all regional and sectional events.
The figure skating competition season begins in the fall with regional figure skating competitions which usually take place in October of each year. Novice, Junior, and Senior figure skaters that place in the top four in regional events advance to sectional competitions. Juvenile and Intermediate level figure skaters advance directly from regionals to the U.S. Junior National Figure Skating Championships.
This is a little confusing. Since this is 2009 and regionals are held in October of 2009 you would expect them to be called the "2009 Regionals Figure Skating Championships", however the events are titled the "2010 Regioanal Figure Skating Championships". This is because they are the qualifying events for the 2010 US National Figure Skating Championsips which are held in January 2010.