Follow me in this webisode series as I attempt to climb and ski the fifty most challenging, beautiful and classic backcountry ski lines in North America.
While this project’s completion may stand as one of the biggest accomplishments in skiing, my paramount objective for The Fifty is to have one hell of a good time.
THE FIFTY – Line 1/50 – Messner Couloir, Denali, AK – AN ADVENTURE UNFOLDING IN REAL TIME
Follow me in this webisode series as I attempt to ski the fifty most challenging and classic backcountry ski lines in North America.
Run time 7:49
The FIFTY – Line 2/50 – Mt. Superior, Utah
Deep pow and avalanches on a Utah Classic
Run time 5:05
The FIFTY – Line 3/50 – Terminal Cancer, NV
A "First" Descent in the High Desert
Run time 37:37
The FIFTY – Line 4/50 – Hypodermic Needle, UT – A Utah Dream Line
After a quick jaunt to the deserts of Nevada, the crew returns to Utah for a long walk and narrow ski. The goal, to ski a line that many have gawked at but few have gone to. Joining up with Cody is Pep Fujas, who fulfills a dream 16 years in the making and Ian Provo, a Wasatch backcountry ninja.
Run time 16:11
The FIFTY – Line 5/50. – Mt. Currie, BC – A Sufferfest up a Canadian Giant
In the small town of Pemberton, British Columbia, the hulking north face of Mt. Currie dominates the skyline. Yet even after a decade of winters spent skiing in Pemberton, Townsend has never been up or down the mountain that steals your gaze from every spot in town.
Run time 8:31
The FIFTY – Line 6/50. – Aemmer Couloir – Skiing the Frozen Canadian Rockies
A last minute decision to go to a place not known for mid-winter steep skiing descents takes the crew to the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Yet just getting there is half the battle with sketchy highways, early cold mornings and a 13km walk just to get to the base of the infamously beautiful Aemmer Couloir in Banff National Park.
Run time 11:17
The FIFTY – Line 7/50 – Joffre Peak – Near Death on a Daunting Peak
North of Pemberton, BC lies a big, daunting and dangerous peak called Joffre. In a project filled with many intimidating lines, Joffre presents the first fear inducing challenge of the season. Low snow and sketchy steeps are met with a nearly tragic ending that teaches us all that bad things can happen in the mountains.
Run time 11:30
The FIFTY – Line 8/50 – Spearhead Traverse – The Fastest Men on Skis
In British Columbia, Canada, there lies a classic line that links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains via a 20+ mile long traverse. The ski tour first done over the course of many days in the 1970's has now become a test piece for ski mo racers seeking speed and records.
Run time 11:32
The FIFTY – Line 9/50 – Giant Steps Couloir – A California Monster Line
The Eastern Sierra of California is a mythical mountain range of massive mountains that rise straight out of the desert floor. Scratching the sky, Giant Steps Couloir, is a rarely tamed and hard fought line that takes careful navigation and strong legs to ascend and descend.
Run time 15:16
The FIFTY – Line 10/50 – The Grand Teton with Jimmy Chin
Often called a test piece of ski mountaineering, the Grand Teton is an icon in skiing and climbing. From an abundance of mileage and vert, to technical mixed climbing, the Grand presents a multitude of challenges for the way up and back down.
Run time 16:06
The FIFTY – Line 11/50 – Pyramid Peak, CO – The Scariest line in Colorado
The Landry Line off Pyramid Peak near Aspen, CO is considered a test piece of ski mountaineering in the Rockies. First skied by Chris Landry in 1978, it was a futuristic, world renowned and seemingly unrepeatable line.
Run time 9:30
The FIFTY – Line 12/50 – Middle Teton, WY – The Other FIFTY project
The FIFTY has always been about learning, so who better to learn from than the couple, Mark & Janelle Smiley, who attempted to climb all fifty of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America based upon the book of the same name that inspired the ski-centric book Townsend is now following.
Run time 17:28
The FIFTY – Line 13 & 14/50 – North Maroon & Holy Cross Couloir, CO – Double the Suffer
With an impeding storm on the horizon, the push to ski two classic lines in Colorado in back-to-back days presents one of the most exhausting challenges of The Fifty to date.
Run time 10:26
The FIFTY – Line 15/50 – Mt. Tukuhnikivatz, UT – Dził Ashdlai – Native American Mountain Culture
Mountains are a skier's passion, but for many people in North America, they're far more than that.
Run time 9:11
The FIFTY – Line 16/50 – Wilson Peak, CO – Skiing the Coors Light Mountain
The most famous mountain in the world that nobody knows happens to be beyond just an icon on a beer can, it happens to be a classic ski descent.
Run time 32:30
Peak Obsession – The Fifty – with Jeremy Jones – Line 17 & 18/50
Peak Obsession is a stand alone film premiered at film festivals around the world and dives into the depths of the mindset behind the project told through the story of two of the more challenging lines in the book, Meteorite Mountain and Pontoon Peak near Valdez, Alaska.
Run time 12:05
The FIFTY – Line 19/50 – Mt. Baker – Crevasse Dodging and Storm Evading
Mt. Baker is the third highest mountain in Washington state. The Watson Traverse is a tribute to the history of skiing in the Pacific Northwest and the 14 mile, 10k+ foot traverse was first accomplished by Dwight Watson in 1939.
Run time 11:09
The FIFTY – Line 20/50 – Mt. Shasta – Party Line
Mt. Shasta is a lot of things to a lot of people. For skiers, it's seven-thousand vertical feet of perfect corn skiing on a late spring day. For Cody and Bjarne, it represents the end of Year 1 of The FIFTY.
Run time 13:27
The FIFTY – Line 21/50 – Mt. Timpanogos, UT – An Avalanche Path and a Last Minute Decision.
The Cold Fusion line off of North Timpanogos, UT can be seen from the cities of Utah miles away and thousands of feet below. Its sight alone draws in skiers like bears to honey.
Run time 15:30
The FIFTY – Line 22 & 23/50 – Mt. Washington, NH – The Eastern King of Backcountry Skiing
Mt. Washington is home to two classic skiing ravines, Tuckerman’s and Huntington. The two ravines are a skier’s playground of steeps, couloirs, ice and powder.
Run time 16:06
The FIFTY – Line 24/50 – Mt. Shuksan, WA – “Pucker Factor 100”
Standing watch above the Mt. Baker Ski Area in Washington state is Mt. Shuksan, a towering mountain that steals your eye and sends shivers down your spine.
Run time 14:45
The FIFTY – Line 25/50 – McGown Peak, ID – How to do “The FIFTY”.
Celebrating the halfway mark of the project (in number only), this special episode goes into showing how the research, ski community and planning come together to make each line successful.
Run time 21:48
The FIFTY – Line 26/50 – Marriage Test in the Mountains – The Sickle, ID
The classic line call "The Sickle" in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho is a ski line that at first sight, just begs to be skied.
Run time 17:28
The FIFTY – Line 27/50 – Mt. Moran, WY – The Best Line Yet?!?!
At the northern tip of the Teton Mountains lies a ski line that in one continuous streak, stretches from lake to sky. The six thousand vertical foot Skillet Glacier route on Mt. Moran is a classic ski line that begs to be skied.
Run time 37:37
“The Mountain Why” – The Fifty – Line 28-30/50 – Cody Townsend and Michelle Parker
Riding over 1000 miles to ski three of The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America.
Run time 26:03
The FIFTY – Line 31/50 – Mt. Stimson – Misery Loves Company
In the NW corner of Montana, a ten-thousand foot mountain rises out straight out of the thick forest. Mt. Stimson dominates the skyline like a giant shark tooth turned upside down.
Run time 20:36
The FIFTY – Line 32/50 – Castle Peak, ID – Bad Beta & Backcountry Buddies
On the heels of a massive sufferfest in Montana, Cody Townsend and cinematographer Bjarne Salen, hurry down to Idaho to catch a favourable avalanche and weather cycle to attempt a line deep in the Idaho wilderness north of Sun Valley.
Run time 21:23
The FIFTY – Line 33/50 – Mt Whitney with Alex Honnold – Road Bikes, Climbing and Terrible Skiing
In the never ending quest to make The FIFTY more difficult, Cody Townsend is joined by legendary rock climber and free soloist Alex Honnold.
Run time 14:30
The FIFTY – Line 34/50 – How to Ski Big Lines – Backcountry planning on Devil’s Bedstead, Idaho
So you want to ski some big backcountry lines... So much of the process to climbing and skiing big mountain objectives is predicated on the research and planning that takes places in the weeks and days leading up to your adventure.
Run time 15:08
The FIFTY – Line 35/50 – Cody Learns How to Film, Skiing Silver Couloir
What happens when The FIFTY goes Freaky Friday and switches it all up?
Run time 15:30
The FIFTY – Line 36/50 – Shredding The Patriarch with Mountaineering Legends
Deep in the Montana wilderness lies a legendary line, skied first by some legendary ski mountaineers.
Run time 14:44
The FIFTY – Mt. Rainier – From Giant Surf to Giant Mountains
Mt. Rainier as known as the North American training ground of mountaineering. Which is why professional big wave surfer, Ian Walsh, joins Cody on Mt. Rainier in an attempt to prepare for his goal of climbing and riding Denali, the highest mountain in North America.
Run time 12:03
The FIFTY – Line */50 – The Sphinx – Fear in Alaska
An out-of-the-blue call leads Cody and Bjarne on a last second adventure to the mecca of steep and deep, Alaska. With conditions seeming to line up, they head to one of the most iconic ski lines in Alaska, the Sphinx, to attempt to climb and ski its legendary steeps.
Run time 8:18
The FIFTY – Line */50 – Pontoon Peak – Ice and Powder on an Alaskan Giant
The weather window for the strike mission to Alaska continues to hold. Yet the real question is will one of the most prized, exposed and magnificent lines in the Chugach be skiable.
Run time 36:28
The FIFTY – Summit Fever | Mt. St. Elias – Climbing and Skiing a Mythical Mountain
Along this goal to ski all fifty of "The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America", there lies a few cruxes. A few lines that stand out as the ultimate test for skiers. Lines that have seen one, maybe two, ski descents in history.
“All great objectives require faith to achieve the goal, doubt you can attain it and effort to ensure it.”Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America
The FIFTY is simple, it’s a goal I set out for myself, to try to climb and ski all fifty of the lines and mountains chronicled in the book, “The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America”.
The book is a visual tribute to the continent’s finest ski backcountry ski lines. Penned by Chris Davenport and Penn Newhard and designed by Art Burrows, it encompasses the lines and mountains a collection of the most prominent climbers and skiers around North America deem the most ‘classic’.
“The mountains will always be there the trick is to make sure you are too”Hervey Voge