The FIFTY Episode 7: Joffre Peak

Cody Townsend discovers that sometimes, the skiing’s just not worth it.

In the seventh installment of Cody Townsend’s project to ski the 50 Classic Ski Descents in North America over the course of three years, Townsend sets his sights on Joffre Peak, a behemoth of a mountain located just one hour north of Whistler on the B.C. coast.

Joffre Peak, The Fifty Episode 7
One of Joffre Peak’s five couloirs. Photo credit: Bjarne Salen

At 8,927 feet, Joffre is known for its five exceedingly aesthetic yet spicy couloirs, the most famous and challenging being the Central Couloir which spans 1,110 feet at a ridiculously steep angle. Townsend recruits B.C. locals Jon Johston and Tobin Seagal to join him and photographer Bjarne Salen on a first attempt of Joffre. But when the crew reaches the peak after a grueling skin and bootpack up, they realize none of the couloirs are safely skiable.

So the crew decided to scrap the first attempt and ski down the backside of Joffre to ski another day.

On the second attempt, Townsend and Salen strike out alone, and this time climb up the Joffre Couloir to assess the conditions. Turns out, they’re not good, and though they do decide to ski it, they acknowledge that “skiing” is a loose term for describing their descent.

They’re relieved when they safely reach the bottom of the couloir, but their relief doesn’t last long. As they stand at the bottom looking back up, they see that another skier has attempted the Central Couloir—the line that “definitely doesn’t go.”

Watch “The Fifty” Episode 7

The Fifty Bonus Episode: Joffre Accident and Rescue

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