The classic line called “The Sickle” in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho is a ski line that at first sight, just begs to be skied. It’s a visual beacon that draws all eyes in with its dramatic, arcing, cleave in the side of Hortsmann Peak. This steep and narrow line combined with an adventurous and arduous approach served to be the perfect line for Cody Townsend to introduce the world of ice axes, crampons and laboriously long ski tours to his award-winning, world champion, professional freeride skier wife, Elyse Saugstad.
Though decorated as one of the most accomplished freeskiers of all time, the world of ski mountaineering is completely new to Saugstad and served up a day in the mountains that was the ultimate test of a marriage.
This is Episode 26 for The FIFTY, and line 26 of 50 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.