Piera Hudson’s Olympic dream

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Piera Hudson is a professional skier who has won everything there is to win in New Zealand, her home country, and has long had a dream: the Winter Olympics.

So far, it has not been possible to participate, but now that she has overcome the injuries that have kept her down, Piera is working non-stop to build the perfect route towards Cortina 2026. She does this by travelling the world to train, compete, and continuously add a small brick in the construction of this dream.

If you frequent the South Tyrolean tracks you will find her here, extremely concentrated, trying to polish the details, perfecting gestures and movements, with an only goal in mind.

We had the pleasure of chatting with this woman, so determined and so full of strength, during a break from her training sessions.

Piera HudsonPiera Hudson

Piera, you started skiing when you were only four years old, and competing when you were eight and, from that moment on, you have chosen to turn your life around completely for skiing, snow, and the passion for high mountains: as you are originally from New Zealand maybe you lived through more winters than most of us, experiencing more than one every year. What is it that attracts you so much to this life at high altitude? How do you feel when you put your skis on, zip up your jacket and pull down your mask? What are your daily motivations?

You’re right! Being from NZ I’ve been lucky enough to make the most of experiencing back-to-back winters for the last 20 years.

As a child, I didn’t grow up near the mountains so when my parents would take my brother and me skiing it was always an exciting time. I guess I kept that excitement and passion as I grew up and it only intensified when I discovered ski racing.

Skiing has definitely become my life and most days I don’t need much motivation to get out there but on the super cold or miserable weather days when the motivation can be less, I just remind myself of my big goals and how lucky I am to be doing my passion as my job.

Unfortunately, throughout your career you have suffered some serious injuries, the last being only last year with the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament: first of all, how are you now? You returned to the snow that “matters” in the Thailand National Championships in Plan de Corones at the beginning of January, achieving a seventh place in the giant slalom. What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

I’m feeling really good right now, both mentally and physically. It took me a little longer to come back than originally planned since I had to undergo two knee surgeries in the same year but now I can happily say I’m finally skiing pain-free and I don’t think about my knee most days. It was really great to get back at the start gate and complete my first races back

from injury but my goals for this season are to definitely get back on the podium and lower my FIS points/world ranking again as well as finish the season healthy for the first time in 4 years.

Piera HudsonPiera Hudson

In One More, we have known you for a while now, and what has won us over about you – among many other aspects – is your determination: it seems as if, before anything else, you compete for yourself. Is that so? You are a professional who self-funds her career at a high level: this is certainly difficult, but tell us what kind of driving force it is for you?

Thank you! Yes unfortunately, ski racing isn’t a funded sport in New Zealand so I have been a self-funded athlete my whole career.

This has come with its challenges throughout the years, and sometimes has been a little stressful at times but I have an amazing family who has always supported me and I’ve been able to foster some really amazing long-standing sponsors who have had my back throughout the highs and lows of my career (including OneMore of course!).

It can be a lot of behind-the-scenes work to fund many months on the road and World Cup tour but when those victories come they do taste extra sweet!

Piera HudsonPiera Hudson

In a whisper, let’s say, a truly coveted goal is only a couple of winters, including this one (at least in this hemisphere), away. If we say – again in a whisper – Cortina 2026, what do you think of?

Yes, for me it is not a whisper but a goal that I have always dreamt loudly of achieving. Cortina 2026 is for sure my biggest motivation and goal and was one of the things I thought about most when I was going through my recent knee rehab, I think it’s important to put out to the universe what you want to achieve in this life and then do everything in your power to accomplish that goal. I’m especially excited for Cortina as South Tyrol is slowly becoming my second home having been based here for the last couple of Winter seasons, so I hope that by the time the Olympics are at our feet, I will be able to answer these kinds of questions in Italian instead of English!