cody townsend headshot

Cody Townsend’s The Fifty Project

Stay tuned here for a digest of all things Cody Townsend and his “The Fifty” project.


What Are The Fifty Classic Ski Descents?

This project spawned from the book “The 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America” written by Penn Newhard, Art Burrows, and onX Backcountry Ambassador Chris Davenport. With a mix of lines ranging greatly in technicality, Cody is trying to do something that’s never been done before—ski all of them. The lines represent the steepest, most aesthetic terrain available to the skier’s eye, most above 45 degrees. This multi-year project has taken on a life of its own as a Youtube series, consisting of 50 ski-oriented episodes with a few bonus episodes littered throughout with showing the viewer behind the scenes, updates, and fun interviews.

cody townsend climbing

Who Is Cody Townsend?

The ski industry is saturated with colorful characters who huck huge cliffs, carve spines, and throw out their fair share of shakas. Yet none really compare to the hilarity, relatability, and charisma that Tahoe, California, resident Cody Townsend brings. Born on the shores of Santa Cruz, California, he grew up as a beach bum with a mix of weekends up in the mountains. Now, he’s one of the most notable skiers you’ll find in films, deep in the backcountry, or patronizing your favorite local après-dive bar. Stripped of the ego many skiers carry, he provides a tactical and philosophical approach to the mountains that has drawn thousands of followers to his adventures. And that audience has been helpful in launching his latest endeavor, “The Fifty.”

Cody Townsend Using onX Backcountry

How onX Backcountry Helped Make It Happen

Cody is highly tactical, sourcing beta from myriad sources, including avy forecasts, friends, and other skiers. This approach to the mountains made for a symbiotic partnership. We’re happy to be Cody’s mapping partner providing him with those avalanche forecasts, a place to take photos, and a navigation tool that allows him to confidently head into these zones. With Offline Maps he’s able to take all his annotations with him, track his progress, and make it back to the car safely. As Cody charges forward with his project, we’ll be adding his lines to the app so you can get a taste of the difficulty that went into shooting the project.

Southwest Face, Mt. Stimson, MT

After a long hiatus, onX Backcountry Ambassador Cody Townsend returns this fall with a six-episode run of his “The Fifty” project in which he’s attempting to ski all 50 lines in the book, “50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.”

Castle Peak, ID

In this episode of “The Fifty” Cody Townsend sets his sights on the tallest peak of the of Idaho’s White Cloud Mountain Range—Castle Peak.

Mountaineer’s Route, Mt. Whitney, CA

Known for his world-famous free solo ascents, Alex Honnold joined forces with Cody Townsend in this episode to tackle the Mountaineer’s Route of California’s Mt. Whitney.

Devil’s Bedstead, North Face, ID

Situated just east of Ketchum, Idaho, Devil’s Bedstead is an iconic slope visible from town. Watch Cody Townsend and Bjarne Salen climb and ski this classic line.

Silver Couloir, Silverthorne, CO

In this episode of The Fifty, Cody Townsend becomes the filmmaker for his principal videographer, Bjarne Salén on Colorado’s Silver Couloir.

The Patriarch, Glacier Peak, MT

The Patriarch lies on the north face of Glacier Peak, within the Beartooth Mountains of south central Montana. Watch Cody, Bjarne, Hilaree Nelson, and Jim Morrison ride the Patriarch

Mt. St. Elias, Alaska

In the last episode of this season of the Fifty Project, Cody Townsend sets his sights on an elusive peak, Mt. St. Elias.

The FIFTY – Year 3 – Highlights and Project Update

The Fifty returns for 2021. Despite the challenges of a low snow year, a record breaking avalanche year, the lingering effects of a global pandemic and a closed border between Canada and the US, the winter of 2021 had its successes for Cody Townsend’s goal to ski all 50 of The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America.
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