Jen Hudak was born and raised in Hamden, Conn. She grew up learning to ski at Okemo Mountain Resort in southern Vermont. Her career blossomed after joining the Okemo freestyle team and discovering the halfpipe. Since then, Hudak has won five X Games medals and has taken home gold at the X Games, US Open, US Nationals, Dew Tour and World Ski Invitational.
She is a down-to-earth, family-minded gal that rips it in the halfpipe. OnTheSnow caught up with Hudak recently to talk about her upbringing and what lays in store for the freestyle phenom. Part One of the interview is below. Click here to read Part Two.
OnTheSnow: So Jen, tell us a little bit about your early days skiing on the east coast.
Jen Hudak: When I was a kid, we were weekend warriors at Okemo. My dad loved moguls and I used to chase him around the bumps. I saw the freesytle team training when I was 11 or 12 and asked my dad if I could join the team. So I joined the Okemo Mountain School freestyle team and basically my career catapulted from there.
OTS: People always say "if you can ski the east, you can ski anything." Would you agree with that?
JH: I think growing up back east, you really have to love the sport to do it every day. Let's be honest, [skiing on the east] isn't the most glamourous thing to do every day, but you learn to keep your feet under you.
OTS: Did it give you an edge?
JH: Definitely—showing up to a comp with an icy halfpipe, I've seen other competitors get pretty nervous. I figure if I can’t see my face reflecting in the pipe, we’re doing pretty well.
Showing up to a comp with an icy halfpipe, I've seen other competitors get pretty nervous. I figure if I can't see my face reflecting in the pipe, we're doing pretty well.
OTS: Is the competitive edge unique to you, or is your family equally talented on the slopes?
JH: I definitely got it from my dad. He loved to be active and play a ton of sports. My business savvy side came from my mom, it’s been fun trying to merge those two.
OTS: Is there a brand or line in the works?
JH: Well, I've been trying to see myself as a brand; focused on athleticism, hard work, dedication.
Hudak practicing her craft. Photo Courtesy of jenhudak.com.
OTS: So what's your favorite east coast resort to ski?
OTS: What's your favorite global stop?
JH: Being in Japan tops the list for me. The snow is really incredible... plus the environment, the atmosphere and the people are so warm and welcoming. I always try to take in the culture in Toyko.
Photo By Eric Seo