Standing watch above the Mt. Baker Ski Area in Washington state is Mt. Shuksan, a towering mountain that steals your eye and sends shivers down your spine. Its glaciated terrain is always moving, letting loose torrential avalanches at a moment’s notice. Its northern faces are steep, wild and fraught with peril. It takes perfect timing along with a union of perfect conditions to ski it.
After ten years of waiting for that union, the time has come. Having spotted a solid weather and stability window, the Fifty crew camps out at the legendary Mt. Baker Ski Area parking lot and is joined by fellow Salomon athletes Stan Rey and Alexi Godbout for an attempt to ski the steep and heavily exposed Northwest Couloir. While conditions seemed perfect from afar, the mission gets thrown into jeopardy by a sudden shift in winds and a whole lot of question marks.
This is Episode 24 for The FIFTY, and line 24 completed by Cody Townsend. The FIFTY is a project following Cody Townsend as he attempts to climb and ski all fifty of the lines and mountains chronicled in the book, “The 50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.” The series documents Townsend’s journeys, travels, challenges and each line and mountain listed in the book. It’s a journey through the most majestic mountains and ski lines in North America along with a unique insight into how skiers make decisions in the backcountry, how they plan, navigate and safely move through the mountains and the people that dedicate their lives to the mountains.