Cody Townsend is one of the most recognizable names in skiing at the moment. He’s been a regular in Matchstick Productions’ annual flicks since 2005’s The Hit List, has wowed mass audiences with his fast, fluid approach to big-mountain skiing and won over the hearts of ski enthusiasts the world over with his low-key demeanor and charisma. Last season, he announced his most ambitious project to date, the goal to ski all fifty lines in the beloved book, 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America, by Chris Davenport, Art Burrows and Penn Newhard.
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. Its glaciated terrain is always moving letting loose torrential avalanches at a moment’s notice. Its northern faces are steep, wild and fraught with peril; it takes perfect timing along with a union of perfect conditions to ski it. After ten years of waiting, everything aligned for Cody and his crew this spring.
Having spotted a solid weather and stability window, the Fifty crew camps out at the legendary Mt. Baker Ski Area parking lot and is joined by fellow Salomon athletes Stan Rey and Alexi Godbout for an attempt to ski the steep and heavily exposed Northwest Couloir. While conditions seemed perfect from afar, the mission gets thrown into jeopardy by a sudden shift in winds and a whole lot of question marks.