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The Inertia

Cody Townsend’s Fifty project is a beast. For several years now, Mr. Townsend has powered through logistical issues, insane terrain, bad weather, and a worldwide pandemic to try and complete this massive project, which entails completing all 50 descents from the book, Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America, by Chris Davenport, Art Burrows, and Penn Newhard.

It’s an absurd mission really, but one that Townsend is completely capable of — if it doesn’t drive him mad, that is. Take his most recent video release, Montana’s Mt. Stimson, which he completed with The Inertia’s avalanche course guru, Nick Russell, as an example. It took Townsend, Russell, and filmmaker Bjarne Salén 17 hours to reach the summit. Getting to the peak itself was horrible, to say the least.

“Guarding the mountain is a nine-mile approach filled with thousands of deadfall trees, thick forests, and nearly impenetrable willows,” he wrote. “Add in a narrow canyon, a slick cobblestoned creek that must be crossed hundreds of times, and no defined trail and you have the single hardest approach for any ski line so far in The FIFTY series.”

And that’s saying something. We’re glad Cody is back at it as he and wife Elyse Saugstad are expecting their first child together. Congrats Cody Townsend!

Editor’s Note: Learn to make smart, safe decisions on your quest for untracked powder this winter with the Essential Guide to Backcountry Basics and Avalanche Awareness with splitboard aficionado Nick Russell and avalanche instructor Sam Thackeray.


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