Cody Townsend Tries Bikepacking in Pandemic Pursuit of Ski Lines

What do you take when you combine a global pandemic, two pro skiers, and a thirst for travel? This epic adventure.

For 2 years now, Cody Townsend has been conquering his ski project, “The FIFTY.” Essentially, Townsend is working his way through the list of 50 ski lines chronicled in the book “The 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.”

But in the winter of 2020, things turned out a bit differently — which is how he and Michelle Parker ended up on a 1,000-mile bike-to-ski adventure.

cody townsend michelle parker

“The FIFTY continues … But with a twist,” Townsend wrote. The goal was simple: ride bikes loaded down with 100 pounds of climbing, skiing, and camping equipment, 1,033 miles to ski three classic ski descents (lines 28, 29, and 30). Or, as Townsend poignantly called it, “a tiring adventure and a sufferfest of course.”

It took 11 days to reach their first destination and peak, Mt. Hood. “We rode our bikes 600 miles to do this right here,” Townsend said in the film. And they’ve still got a long way to go.

Which all begs the question: Why? That’s exactly what Townsend and Parker hope to answer in this short film.

“The Mountain Why” was produced by Cody Townsend, Bryan Cole, and Bjarne Salen with Red Bull Media House.

Cody Townsend THE FIFTY
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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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