Jen Hudak: A Trailblazer in Freeskiing

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is highlighting HERoic trailblazers all through our winter sports activities, each previous and current. A HERoic trailblazer is a girl athlete who has gone above and past in her sport, shifting the game ahead via grit and dedication and galvanizing the following era of girls athletes. 

Jen Hudak, a notable presence and one of many OGs on the earth of freeskiing, has helped pave the best way for generations of athletes to excel within the sport she helped form. 

The Beginnings     

Born and raised in Hamden, Connecticut, Hudak’s love for snowboarding was discovered in the course of the weekends spent in Vermont. Being a curious adventurer at a younger age led her to snowboarding in her personal yard, the place she honed in her expertise utilizing a selfmade rope tow created by her dad. On the age of 11, Hudak enrolled within the Okemo Mountain Freestyle Staff and issues began to take off. First coaching in mogul snowboarding, her coach Elana Chase got here on the scene and noticed the potential for Hudak within the halfpipe. After a season competing in each disciplines, Jen determined to comply with her ardour and began to pursue halfpipe snowboarding solely.  

The Momentum 

By years of arduous work and infinite dedication, Hudak podiumed in her first main competitors: the U.S. Freeskiing Open in Vail, Colorado in 2004. From there, her skilled ski profession skyrocketed. By 2010, Hudak had grow to be a family identify because the premier U.S. halfpipe skier on the earth for ladies. She received 5 X Video games medals, 4 U.S. Championships titles and two World Championship medals, and was nominated for one of many greatest awards in sports activities – the ESPY for “Greatest Feminine Motion Sports activities Athlete.” 

The tips Hudak threw in competitors had been distinctive and had been the results of her inventive and devoted observe. Many requested how she made it look really easy, and her reply credited worry administration and visualization. When she entered the stream state, she was in a position to carry out at her highest degree. 

Being on the high of your sport, setbacks are frequent. Hudak suffered a devastating last knee harm in December of 2013 on the first Olympic qualifier, which left her unable to compete within the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. It was her eighth knee surgical procedure and finally the time that she would step away from competing professionally. 

Hudak was larger than her sport. Throughout her profession, and following, she was all the time an advocate for together with girls’s freeskiing within the competitors circuit, writing letters to occasion organizers and sponsors and lobbying the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) on behalf of girls skiers world wide. 

The Stability 

Hudak’s influence is not confined solely to her athletic accomplishments. Through the thirtieth season of the Wonderful Race, Hudak and former freeskier Kristi Leskinen teamed up and made historical past. Inserting third, Hudak and Leskinen had the very best racing common out of each all-woman staff within the U.S. model of the present. 

On the inventive and entrepreneurial aspect of issues, Hudak and her husband Chris began an modern teardrop camper firm, Escapod in 2016, making handcrafted, sturdy and sustainable off-road campers meant to be handed down for generations to come back. The Hudaks additionally put their vitality and love into elevating a household and within the spring of 2020, they welcomed child Hudson into their lives and are quickly to welcome child quantity two! 

Hudak’s journey is a testomony to the ability of mind-body connection, there isn’t a doubt her profession has impressed and set the bar for the brand new era of feminine freeskiers.

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