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Cody Townsend presents The FIFTY: Giant Steps Couloir, California

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. This 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.

Officially one fifth of the way through North America’s 50 classic ski descents, Cody Townsend heads to the Eastern Sierras in California for his biggest single-day mission to-date: Giant Steps Couloir. Before heading up California’s second tallest peak–sixth tallest on the continent–Townsend calls in snowboarder Nick Russell and author of Backcountry Skiing the Eastern Sierra, Nate Greenberg, to join himself and videographer Bjarne Salen on this giant ascent. Roughly 20 miles, 12,000 vertical feet and 10-plus hours later, these guys experience first-hand the skiing fruits of their slogging labor.

PHOTO: Bjarne Salen
PHOTO: Nate Greenberg
PHOTO: Nate Greenberg


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