Shred the Devil: Watch Cody Townsend Climb and Ski Idaho Big Mountain

Watch the ubiquitous pro get granular as he researches, plans, and sends a famous backcountry skiing line in Idaho.

In the latest “The FIFTY” video, Cody Townsend not only rips the big line but also relates his entire risk assessment process involved in ripping it. Watch and learn how to apply avalanche safety skills to real scenarios, and stop tiptoeing around the backcountry in irrational fear. (Inevitable disclaimer: Do not go backcountry skiing without taking at least one avy safety course first.)

Spoiler alert: It’s all about being prepared. Or, in dadspeak: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before the fun of “How to Ski Big Lines” starts, Townsend talks his way step by step through his logical, layered backcountry ski prep approach.

Then, the fun does start. Cue outlaw country guitars, high winds, and toilsome upward progress. (Also, of course, ongoing safety assessments.) The video is essentially one long, picturesque risk assessment exercise — with a 2,500-foot ride as the centerpiece.

a man does a flip on skis into the back of a truck
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Sam Anderson

Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.


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