Jen Hudak three-peats at U.S. Freestyle Championships
PARK CITY, Utah Jen Hudak’s career year reached new heights Friday.The 21-year-old skier, who has ties to the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, clinched her third straight U.S. title in women’s halfpipe at the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships in her adopted hometown of Park City, Utah. Hudak, a native of Connecticut, was a member of Vermont’s Okemo Mountain School growing up. There she met coach Elana Chase, now a freestyle coach at AVSC. The two still work together while Hudak trains in Park City. “The pipe was really good today,” Hudak said in a United States Ski and Snowboard Association news release. “I took a rough spill in the morning on one run and it kind of threw me off, but I did what I had to do in the finals and it was a good day. I’m really happy with the final result. My roots are with USSA and it means a lot to me to win nationals.”Hudak’s run, which included a straight air with a mute grab, a straight air with a critical grab, a mute, an alley-oop and a 720, proved too much for the rest of the field to overcome. Steamboat Springs’ Gina Gmeiner and Jess Cumming of Wilton, Conn., finished second and third, respectively. “It’s an amazing pipe and a great venue,” Gmeiner said of the Park City Mountain Resort’s halfpipe. “My run was all right, but I have no complaints.”The U.S. title is just the latest in a string of memorable performances for Hudak this winter. She reached the podium in all three World Cup events she entered, including a win – her first ever on the elite circuit – in the season finale in Valmalenco, Italy. She also finished third in superpipe at the Winter X Games in January.David Wise of Caldwell, Idaho, matched Hudak’s performance with his third consecutive U.S. halfpipe championship. He bested Evergreen’s Walter Wood and Kyle Smaine of South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Skiers players were told that Aspen High School hockey isn’t playing varsity for the 2022-23 season. Reasons included a lack of seniors and consternation over experience.