NOT NEARLY AS
HARD AS DEFYING
When Tragedy Struck.
To become one of the world’s best professional freestyle skiers, Jen Hudak has had to overcome life-changing setbacks. She’s had major knee injuries in 2006, 2008 and 2009, but in 2012, while training for competition, Jen suffered the most devastating knee injury of her career. As she was being taken off the hill, she contemplated whether or not she’d ever return to the sport. Then, just hours later, Sarah Burke, a fellow competitor and great friend, took a serious fall. Nine days later, the world lost an icon as Sarah passed away. Jen was shocked and devastated, but she was determined to come back in her friend’s honor.
A Tribute. And Then Some.
Looking back on the moment, Jen feels grateful that she was sidelined with the injury. It gave her a chance to realize that she still had precious opportunities in life that had since been taken away from her friend. After her 2009 surgery, Jen came back to win two X-Games gold medals, a national championship and a World Champion Title. The road back has been enduring, and this winter, it will all be on the line.
An Olympic Debut.
The possibility of representing Team USA at the first-ever Olympic Winter Games halfpipe skiing competition has inspired Jen all over again. “It’s scary to want something that badly.” Jen insists, “but I want to represent my country in front of the entire world doing what I love.” If she makes it, she’ll be skiing in tribute of Sarah Burke.