In the fourth installment of Cody Townsend’s project “The Fifty,” the pro skier enlists big mountain skier friends Ian Provo and Pep Fujas to tackle a big mountain project: The Hypodermic Needle on Thunder Mountain in the Wasatch Range, Utah.
“It’s a line that you can see right from the top of Snowbird right across the valley,” Townsend says. “It’s this amazing looking couloir, but it doesn’t see much traffic because it seems pretty far away from the road.”
So to check off his fourth line included in 50 Classic Ski Descents in North America, Townsend and co. decide to take the road less traveled to tackle the Needle. It’s not an easy ascent, but as the crew points out when they reach the top, the journey itself is at least as rewarding as the ski down.
The descent that follows is a tricky one that involves some billy-goating over rocks and some tight—and we mean tight—maneuvers. Townsend’s textbook kick-turn in the choke of the Needle is reason enough to watch this episode. But viewers be warned—if seeing ski edges scrape against rock causes you physical pain, maybe look away during the first portion of the crew’s descent. Or, just repeat after us: Skis are tools, not jewels.
Watch “The Fifty” Episode 4
Watch: Episode 3 —Terminal Cancer