The FIFTY Episode 3: Terminal Cancer

Cody Townsend and co. get creative in the name of first descents.

Cody Townsend,
If you’re wondering ‘Is that a monoski?’ you wouldn’t be wrong. Photo credit: Weston Shirey

Salomon athlete Cody Townsend just bagged his third line of the 50 classic descents in North America he plans to tackle in the next three years. Terminal Cancer in Nevada is one the most iconic couloirs in North America, but it’s been skied—many times, by many people. That doesn’t disqualify it as one of the 50 most ski-worthy lines, but the idea that it’s been done before does kind of bum out Townsend.

“There’s been one thing on my mind a lot lately, and that’s a quote by Reinhold Messner,” Townsend explains in the opening of Episode 3. “He said ‘there are no more great ascents in the mountains,’ which kind of bums me out. I mean, I know he’s talking about the way up, but it kind of pertains to the way down as well. He’s saying that there are no more great things in the mountains—it’s all been done. And I don’t believe him. I think there’s a lot of great stuff to do, including a lot of great firsts.”

So in Episode 3 of Townsend’s three-year project “The Fifty”, Townsend, his wife Elyse Saugstad, photographer Weston Shirey, and pro skier Connery Lundin set out to disprove Messner and capture a number of Terminal Cancer firsts. 

Watch “The Fifty”: Episode 3

Tune in every two weeks to catch a new episode of Townsend’s big adventure of skiing the 50 most classic lines in North America. You can also follow along with Townsend’s project via Instagram