Words by Jen Hudak

Video by John Roderick/Neu Productions

X-Games. A six letter hyphenated word never packed so much punch. Imagine life, elevated. Every emotion, sensation, vibration is powering 10 times higher than usual. If you can grasp that, then you can grasp X-Games and this episode of “Moving Mountains.” It’s all about Pressure.

X-Games is like any contest, but on steroids, and is produced more as a TV show than a ski contest. The venue at Buttermilk in 2011 was better than ever. The pipe was revamped- steeper, firmer, and definitely faster. And entering X-Games as the defending gold medalist, the pressure to perform was insurmountable. Throw in a film project, and you have the potential for a meltdown.

Jen Hudak at Winter X Games 15 in Aspen, Colorado. Photo by John Vandervalk

Focusing on filming and competing was a new element for me this past year. Normally if I am feeling stressed at X-Games I just deflect the thoughts, but not this time. Any thought I had was verbalized, and in a sense, lived more intensely. But I felt that it enhanced my performance. I was forced to focus directly on my goals, detach myself from the potential outcome and just ski my heart out. My number one priority was to put a 1080 in my run. With 3 finals runs, I was planning on landing a clean safety run and then having 2 more to get the 10 dialed. Though I skied the best run of my life at X-Games last year, another gold didn’t quite happen, as you will see…

Thankfully, we did get everything on film. Although I didn’t end the day on top of the podium, I reached new heights. And now, I get to relive it once more. I hope that everyone can enjoy this edit, understand a little more about what goes on behind the scenes at X-Games, and get stoked that winter is right around the corner, opportunities abounding. Life is about pushing yourself - dream big.