The Axel jump is a Waltz Jump with an extra rotation. Like a waltz, an axel jump entered from a forward outside edge. The skater rotates 1-1/2 times in the air for a single axel, and then lands on a back outside edge of the other foot.
To perform an Axel, the skater typically approaches the jump on a right back outside edge in a strongly held check position before stepping onto a left forward outside edge. Teh skater then vaults over the toe pick of the left skate and "steps up" into the jump with the right leg. Then the skater brings the left leg through to cross in front of the right in what is known as a back spin position.
It is quite common for skaters to skid the forward takeoff edge slightly, especially on double and triple Axels, rather than vaulting directly off a clean edge. The skid helps the blade grip the ice on the takeoff, and is considered acceptable technique as long as the skid is not so great that the skater pre-rotates the jump or takes off the back of the blade rather than off the toe pick. When the skater makes a mistake in the timing of the jump such that the blade does not grip at all and he or she slips completely off the edge, the result is what is called a waxel, often resulting in a fall.
Stretched free leg, level sholders and straight back