by Wagner Skis / Dec 21, 2020

Season 3, Episode 5: Timing is Everything – Cody Townsend

Big mountain super hero turned mountaineering master, Cody Townsend has piloted a career on skis unlike any other. He spent more than a decade skiing the burliest lines in Alaska as a ski movie superstar before "boredom and danger" turned him toward earning turns on the most challenging peaks in North America. the legendary Townsend is a little more than halfway through his quest to ski the lines detailed in the seminal book the "50 Classic Ski Descents of North America" his "Fifty Project" exposes not just the glory of skiing scary peaks, but the arduous and often unglamorous side of mountaineering. 

Listen in as Townsend shares insights into the challenge of transitioning from helicopters to hiking, the unrelenting mental game involved in navigating up and down daunting peaks, the importance of curiosity in skiing, leveling up your shoulders, and more. 

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Topics & Times

[03:40] How his family got him into skiing.
[06:41] Critical skills he developed as a racer.
[11:42] Cody’s experience as a heliskier and the ensuing transition to mountaineering.
[12:07] Boredom and danger were catalysts to his shift.
[15:54] The single most important skill in ski mountaineering.
[19:15] Heading into his Fifty Project knowing he had a lot to learn.
[24:25] Skiing the Sphinx in Alaska.
[26:45] Perceptions of pro skiers vs. the reality.
[29:05] The tendency to pull back when skiing intense steeps.
[32:40] A basic drill that helps change your mindset on the steeps.
[36:25] The experience that made him dream about skiing The Crack.
[37:50] Drawing on past experiences to help you reach the next level.
[39:40] Why skiing partners can affect your experience.
[46:35] A great piece of advice Cody received.


“I would recommend any person to put their kids in a ski racing program, just because it teaches you the fundamentals of a turn better than any other form of school on the mountain…”
“The true crux to keeping safe out there is what you bring out there in your experience, and your mindset, and how you evaluate the mountains.”

More episodes

S3, E1: Mike Douglas: The Godfather of Freeskiing
S3, E2: Roko Koell: Powder Skiing Is for Everyone
S3, E3: Doug Stenclik: Entering The Backcountry, The Gear & The Tips
S3, E4: Wes Wylie: Skiing and Healing, How to Ski Forever
S3, E5: Timing is Everything – Cody Townsend
S3, E6: More Than Just Avy Skills – Erik Lambert
S3, E7: Fancy Footwork – Ted Mahon
S3, E8: Be the Water, not the Rock – Skylar Holgate



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