‘Line of the Year’: Watch a Freeskier Rip Down an Insane Couloir

There's no greater inspiration to get out and attack the coming ski season than this jaw-dropping couloir ride by freeskier Cody Townsend. The video clip comes from the recently released ski film, Days of My Youth, by Matchstick Productions and Red Bull Media House.

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For his ride, Townsend earned three accolades at last week's Powder Awards: Best Male Performance, Best Line, and Full Throttle, an award for " the year’s hardest, fastest, strongest ripper." 

We spoke to Townsend about how the ride came together and what we couldn't see on camera.

How long was this line in the works?
I was looking for a line like this for five years. We'd been searching in helicopters and I actually flew past this four years ago without noticing it. From a helicopter it doesn't look doable. Later on, I went back, hiked to the top, and looked down before thinking I could ski it. 

Where is it?
I'll just say Alaska. It's not that we don't want other people taking our line, we don't want people not experienced enough going there. I've been doing this professionally for 10 years.

How was the ride?
Usually you start skiing and instinct takes over, then you're calm and relaxed. As I got in, I realized how steep and narrow it really was. It was the first time in my life I got more scared in the middle of a run. At the bottom I could almost put my arms out and touch both walls. Then the turn at bottom, exiting tunnel, was the most critical. There's a wall at exit of chute and I couldn’t tell how wide it was. I knew when I got through I was going to be making turn of my life to not hit the wall. 

How fast were you going?
About 70 miles per hour. In my downhill racing days, I got clocked above 90, and this is the fastest I've gone since then. 

Is there anything going on we don't see in the video?
You don’t see the sluff chasing me. It's like there are mini avalanches with every turn, and that was going behind me from start. If I stopped it'd roll over me.

How was the snow in there?
Super convoluted. The snow wasn’t great because snow piles up on top of the cliffs and falls into chute, putting a crust on it. Then there was a runnel down the middle from snow rolling down. It was an experience. You don’t get a line like that often.

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