Ken Hudonjorgensen was born and raised in the quiet and peaceful small town environment of rural Wisconsin. After growing up and attending the University of Wisconsin where he majored in philosophy and lifestyle studies, Ken’s very interesting occupational destiny has included a fascinating variety of professions. Ken first worked for a while as an Anatomic Pathology Technician, and then for years as an Organic Agriculturist. After that, he became a Licensed Massage Therapist, only to eventually become the director of a holistic health and healing center known as The Creative Health Institute. But then Ken branched still further out, and ended up spending several years traveling around the world with his wife Janet, teaching State of the Heart “quality of life” workshops for LITA Incorporated (Love Is The Answer). And it was during a series of LITA workshop being given in New Zealand back in 1989, when Ken was first introduced to and became absolutely captivated with the relatively new sport of paragliding.
Fixated as he was and with an extreme unyielding desire to fly, Ken promptly purchased his first paraglider upon his eventual return to Boulder, Colorado. But in those days, especially in the United States when there were less than 100 paraglider pilots in the entire country, quality instruction was tough to come by, and precious learning opportunities more or less ultimately best resorted to self-study and careful experimentation.
And thus began Ken’s determined personal quest and crusade to discover as many valuable methods of paragliding technique as possible in his relentless pursuit to improve and enhance his own paragliding experience, and to willingly offer his acquired expertise to anyone who also shared in his complete passion for flight.
And as a result of many years worth of extensive examination and deliberated conclusion, Ken’s scrutinizing attention to detail inevitably resulted in his discovery of innumerable innovative approaches directly relating to the performing artistry and execution of paragliding skill and style, as well as many creative manners in which to teach important flying principals to others. For example, Ken essentially helped invent and establish reverse launching, reverse inflating, and reverse kiting techniques which have become industry standards, and his many revelations on how to stay in and utilize ”lift” have led to trailblazing instructional ground drill exercises for teaching and understanding the delicate nuances of thermalling.
Ken is also responsible for pioneering many of northern Utah’s top flying sites, as well as initiating many of the state’s cross-country paragliding routes that back in 2006 he used to record the top six cross-country flights in Utah that year in only seven attempts. He’s also held the Utah State Cross-Country Record for three consecutive years, and won the annual Utah Cup cross-country paragliding competition six times (’95, ‘97 ’98, ’99, ’03, ’06). And Ken co-taught the first tandem clinic in the US, as well as co-creating, organizing, and directing the first open distance and team national competition.
Today, Ken is a highly respected and world-renowned pilot with exceptional skill and experience. And Ken is a revered educator, admirably esteemed for his extraordinary insight and understanding of all realms of paragliding proficiency. Serious students from around the globe regularly seek his acclaimed and thorough teaching style, and are always charmed by his genuine friendliness, gentle demeanor, and positive outlook. Ken is presently the senior paragliding instructor at The Point of the Mountain in Draper, Utah that is widely recognized as the top paragliding training site in the United States. And based on his superior reputation and long list of impressive qualifications and accomplishments, The US Marine Corps has exclusively appointed Ken as its principle and sole instructor for the training of all their elite soldiers of the United States Marines.
Ken has held a P-5 Master rating longer than any other pilot in the world, and is still one of only a small percentage of pilots ever to have even attained that honored status. Ken is the first paraglider pilot ever to be awarded our nation’s highest safety award, The Fifth Diamond (Jan 1996), which is the highest “safe pilot” recognition award in the sport for completing 5,000 consecutive safe flights. And now with more than 14,000 flights to date and more than 4,000 hours of airtime, Ken is ranked as one of the most accomplished and qualified pilots in the sky.
Ken’s dignified Tandem 3 rating is the highest tandem rating available, and he was the tenth pilot ever to achieve that rating in the United States. His first tandem flight as pilot in command was in 1990, and notably during that flight, he flew the first tandem paraglider ever used in this country. And Ken is only one of a few pilots in the entire nation, that has been appointed and identified as a Tandem and Instructor Administrator, a title and responsibility which allows and empowers him to judge, test, and certify other pilots to carry passengers, or to become instructors themselves.
Incidentally, Ken also established and managed the first commercial tandem-paragliding programs at both Jackson Hole Ski Resort in Wyoming and Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah. And Ken is the originator of the sport’s first National Trade Show and both a past president and vice president of the Utah Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, which is the state arm of the regulating body for paragliding in the US and a self-regulating part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
But Ken hasn’t accomplished all that he has alone. His dear wife Janet Hudonjorgensen has been responsible for much of the secretarial, bookkeeping, and correspondence duties associated with Two-Can Fly Paragliding, and has driven Ken countless times up to the top of many mountains to see him off. Her own greatest passions in life include her involvement in the arts. She enjoys playing the piano and the guitar, ballroom dancing, singing, cooking, and drawing. But she also loves a great tandem flight, and especially the camaraderie she feels being with people that are obsessed with something that so profoundly touches their hearts, and that ultimately allows for their vivid dreams of flight, to take them to the pinnacle of their “inner heights”.
Ken is indeed one of those dreamers, and a very reflective, kind, and caring soul whose nicknames have included “Zen Ken”, “Kensei”, and “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. He still has a huge interest in philosophy and a soothing curiosity for simply contemplating life, and he also finds great peace turning wooden bowls when he’s not drifting about aimlessly through the heavens above. And then on blown-out or rainy days when flying isn’t possible, he likes spending time breeding and raising koi fish, running, rock climbing, hiking, gardening, studying nutrition, seeking wild edibles, and occasionally fasting, meditating, and watching any movie in a dark, windless theater.
Ken feels that paragliding inspires a higher quality of life, and is just the excuse he uses to bump into people in order to help them feel love.