X Games: An Interview with Women's Superpipe Winner Jen Hudak

Michelle Parker spoke to Jen Hudak, who won Friday night's Women's Superpipe Finals at the Winter X Games in Aspen, about how she gets ready for competition and what it's like riding a 22-foot pipe.
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Michelle Parker spoke to Jen Hudak, who won Friday night's Women's Superpipe Finals at the Winter X Games in Aspen, about how she gets ready for competition and what it's like riding a 22-foot pipe.
Jen Hudak

What do you do to prepare yourself for X Games prior to the competition?

Training begins in the off-season, working out as much as possible, and getting my legs in top shape. Then it's time on snow working on new tricks. But I always give myself at least two to three days of rest before training begins. X Games is a long and intense week.

Do you have any rituals that you stick to while competing?
Just being at a competition makes me ski better. I've learned to not over think things when I'm competing. I'll think during training, but when it comes time to my actual run, I visualize it once in my mind and then turn my brain off and go.

What does this competition mean to you?

This is my favorite time of year. I love the energy at the X Games, I love the pipe, I love the competition. Everyone brings their A game, so it's really the best time to push the limits. My X Games medals are my most cherished possessions. X-Games is by far our biggest competition of the year. Especially for us women.  It's the only event (besides World Cups) that offers equal prize money to the men, and they stepped up to the plate this year and are including us in the television broadcast.

Is it hard to transition from riding every day pipes at ski resorts to riding the 22-foot pipe at X?
Personally, adjusting to a big pipe is easier than adjusting to a small pipe. But this year I actually got to spend most of my time training in 22-foot pipes. Copper had a 22 up early this season, then I spent time in Park City's 22 and then I came out to Snowmass' 22. I had a harder time adjusting to Snowbasin's 16/18' pipe.

What's going through your head at the top of the course?
I try to get pumped at the top, but then calm when I'm in the start.  Sounds strange.  But I need to keep my energy up while I'm waiting around, and then get focused when I need to ski.  I visualize my run once I'm in the start, then give one big exhale, then I turn my brain off, drop in and go.