Festival organizers enlisted the Olympic half-pipe builder, Steve Petrie, and his team to create the ultimate venue at this year's TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. The best male and female skiers in the world — including 2010 X-Games gold medalist in ski superpipe Jen Hudak — competed for $70,000 in prize money and a one in four chance to drive away in a brand new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. We caught up with Hudak before the event, to find out what she would do if she won. (She did, capturing the WSI and—with her first 1080 in the pipe—the super hit title.) —John McCauley
You had huge success in the superpipe this year, gold at The X-Games and the US National Halfpipe Championships. Do you feel this success has inspired more young girls to take up this sport?
I think that my success has shown people that hard work will get you places. I hope that it has, at the very least, encouraged more young girls to get out there and try this amazing sport. Only time will tell.
Snowboarding halfpipe is an Olympic sport, isn't it time for skiing halfpipe to become an official Olympic sport too?
It is absolutely time for skiing halfpipe to be an Olympic sport. The sport is huge internationally and will become even more popular when it has Olympic exposure. There is not much else that we as skiers can do. The men are doing doubles and the women are doing 9's and 10's... At some point the higher ups in the IOC will realize that need us. Our sport will continue to grow right along with the Olympics. In a way I think that they need us more than we need them.
How do you stay fit in the off-season?
I spend a lot of time in the gym lifting weights and doing cross fit, but I also spend a lot of time on my bikes. Utah has amazing mountain and road biking, and it's the perfect compliment to skiing. Really, I just love to be active and outdoors. Climbing, hiking, surfing, golfing—it all makes me happy, and it all helps improve my strength physically and mentally.
Where are some of your favorite places to ski when your not competing?
Alta, UT. Ajax (aka- Aspen.) And I think Whistler is going to be added to the list soon!
You haven't competed at the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler since 2007, how does it feel to be back?
I am so stoked to be back and competing at WSI. I've had knee injuries the last two years, so I haven't been able to attend. This event is extremely important to our sport because people approach it more with the hopes of learning new tricks and having fun. At times, focusing on results alone can limit the progression of a sport, so WSI fills that gap.
You stand a great chance of winning that Camaro today, if given a choice, what color would you want?
Sparkley brown. ;-) So I can taunt my boyfriend with it.
Follow Jen on twitter @jenhudak
Watch her winning run and 1080 here.