Jen Hudak – Ski Career

Early Days

Jen Hudak is an American freeski athlete specializing in halfpipe skiing. She was born and raised in Hamden, Connecticut, but grew up skiing on weekends 3 hours north in Vermont. Always one for adventure, Jen learned to ski in her Vermont backyard- pulled uphill with a homemade rope tow that her dad proudly constructed. When the backyard mastery was achieved, Jen began spending more and more time at her home mountain, Okemo, in Ludlow, Vermont. Her ski career was on the horizon.

By the age of 11 Jen joined the freestyle team at Okemo, where her pastime quickly grew into her passion. This passion originated in moguls and through early competitions she began to climb the ranks. In 2001 Jen enrolled in Okemo Mountain School, so that she could take her skiing to the next level.  It was at this point that Jen met her longtime coach Elana Chase.  It was Chase who encouraged Jen to begin skiing in and competing in halfpipe skiing as it served as a good supplement to mogul competition.  Within that first season skiing halfpipe, Jen had found a new love.  It was a new skill to learn and perfect. Jen is not one to take the easy road- she thrives on challenges, and halfpipe skiing provided just that.

Starting Out

In 2004 Jen found herself on the podium at her first major competition: The US Freeskiing Open in Vail, Colorado. From there her pro skiing career quickly took off. Jen made a statement with her huge amplitude and solid style and demonstrated that she would be around for years to come. This proved to be true. Winning has only been part of the motivation for Jen- hard work and a fierce passion for her sport allowed her to find a way to the top, but overcoming obstacles and growing as a person has been more valuable to Jen than any medals that she has won. Through numerous injuries and industry challenges Jen always prevails.

Ski Career

Jen went on to become a 5-time X-Games medalist, winning 2 golds in X-Games in 2010 alone. She won nearly every competition there is: X-Games, US Open, World Ski Invitational, Dew Tour, and US Nationals, to name a few. But one contest eluded her: The Olympics. As a participant in the first ever ski halfpipe World Cup in 2003, Jen was at the forefront of freeskiing. She had a vision that halfpipe skiing would be an Olympic sport and served as a proud advocate for the sport over her 12-year ski career. With the help of Jen’s efforts, ski halfpipe made its Olympic debut during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. 

Winter Olympics

At the first Olympic qualifier in December 2013, Jen suffered one final knee injury thus ending her Olympic pursuits. A torn ACL, meniscus and cartilage would keep her from competing on the world’s largest stage. Though Jen didn’t compete in the winter Olympics, she carries the Olympic spirit in all she does. That dream carried her farther than she ever could have gone without it. As they say “shoot for the moon and you’ll land among the stars.”

 Career Stats:

Year Place Event
2015 11th World Cup Halfpipe (Park City, UT)
 2015 14th World Cup Halfpipe (Mammoth, CA)
2014 11th World Cup Halfpipe (Copper, CO)
2013 7th Winter X-Games (Aspen, CO)
  13th World Cup Halfpipe (Cardrona, New Zealand)
2012 Out due to knee injury
2011 2nd World Cup HalfPipe (Cardrona, New Zealand)
  2nd World Cup Big Air (Cardrona, New Zealand)
  2nd World Championships HP (Park City, UT)
  2nd Grand Prix HP (Copper, CO)
  3rd Dew Tour HP (Snowbasin, UT)
2010 1st X-Games HP (Aspen, CO)
  1st X-Games HP (Tignes, France)
  1st World Skiing Invitational HP (Whistler, Canada)
  2nd Dew Tour HP (Snowbasin, UT)
2009 1st US Open HP (Copper, CO)
  2nd X Games HP (Aspen, CO)
  1st Dew Tour HP (Mt. Snow, VT)
  3rd World Championships HP (Inawashiro, Japan)
2008 2nd Dew Tour HP (Breckenridge, CO)
  3rd X-Games HP (Aspen, CO)
  2nd FIS World Cup HP (Les Contamines, France)
  1st FIS World Cup Finals HP (Valmalenco, Italy)
2007 6th World Ski Invitational HP (Whistler, Canada)
  1st US National Championships HP (Killington, VT)
  1st VT Freeski Open HP (Stratton, VT)
  3rd World Cup HP (Apex, Canada)
2006 1st US National Championships HP (Killington, VT)
  2nd US Freeskiing Open HP (Vail, CO)
  2nd World Cup HP (Apex, Canada)
  4th World Ski Invitational HP (Whistler, Canada)
2005 3rd US Freeskiing Open HP (Vail, CO)
2004 3rd US Freeskiing Open HP (Vail, CO)
  4th World Ski Invitational HP (Whistler, Canada)

Titles/Championships:

  • 2 Time World Champion AFP Worldtour (2009, 2010)
  • 5 Time X-Games Medalist (2007-2010)
  • ESPY Nomination for “Best Female Action Sports Athlete” (2010)
  • FIS World Championship Bronze (2009) and Silver Medalist (2011)
  • 4 Time US National Champion (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club “Athlete of the Year” (2010)
  • Hamden Women’s Sports Federation “Sportswoman of the Year” (2004)