Cody Townsend wakes up early most days — around 2 AM. Cody is one of the world’s most recognizable pro big mountain skiers in the world always pushing the limits of his snowy pursuits. His skiing has taken him from the Arctic to Tibet, completing some truly white-knuckled lines. But, when he wakes up, he just needs a cup of coffee. He’ll then throw on his 30-pound ruck and climb for the summit. “Hours of sweating, struggling and suffering later, I arrive at the summit, tired but energized by the view and the vertical finish line.” Then all there is to do is “click into my skis, put the goggles on and gingerly step back out to the steeps.” For a pro like Cody — or for anyone looking to tackle any challenge — the gear you step off with can make all the difference. “My gear is essential because in the backcountry it truly can be the difference between success or failure,” which on some lines Cody takes on, can mean life or death. Read on for Cody’s insights on the pieces of kit that he relies on every day to tackle the next ski line where the gear can’t fail. What’s more: “It’s kind of weird how much happiness a good piece of equipment can give me.”
Salomon QST 106 Skis
The most do-it-all ski I’ve ever skied on. From the summit of Denali to the groomers of Squaw, it is light enough to walk with to the highest point in North America, yet powerful enough to carve like Mikaela Shiffrin on-piste. It also does pretty damn well in powder, too, being 106mm-wide underfoot.
YETI Rambler 20oz Tumbler
A day wouldn’t start for me without coffee, and that coffee always goes in a Rambler. It keeps my coffee hot for hours, allowing for sipping leisurely through a computer morning, or if I need to drink it quickly before a pre-dawn start. Its wide-mouth with a removed lid allows my hot “joe” to cool quickly to a perfect fast drinking temperature.
Le Bent LeSend Socks
Blisters can be a painful way to end any long day hiking in the backcountry and this first-ever ski touring ski sock is the absolute antidote to blisters. It has a specific fiber blend and composition that helps prevent cold and wet feet.
The app is the lifeblood of serious backcountry skiers seeking new zones and exploratory skiing. From discovery to research, tracking your moves, or guiding you through a whiteout, Gaia is probably the most essential software on a skier’s phone.
Ford Ranger Lariat FX4
I drive about 12-15k miles per winter. From highway miles to rugged back roads, my truck is the lifeblood fueling The FIFTY (2019 film project). Reliability, versatility and something that can go anywhere and do anything is a must. So far my new Ranger is checking off all those boxes.
When you live out of the back of your truck, organization is key. From camera equipment to my backcountry kitchen, I’ve started using multiple GoBox’s to make sure my gear is organized, protected and easily accessible when living on the road.
Arcade Adventure Belt
If your pants don’t stay up, well that’s a day ender right there. Stretchy and comfortable to not be restrictive when climbing or skiing, weatherproof to not get bogged down like leather belts do in snow and rain and micro-adjustable to the perfect fit. The best belt ever created for doing stuff outside.
The most useful item ever. From packaging your skis together to fixing a broken ski boot, medical emergencies to organizing your gear, I always have 4-6 of these on me in the backcountry. They’re as versatile for a skier as duct tape is for a handyman.
Mammut Barryvox S Avalanche Beacon
You trust your life to your beacon. Might as well get the one the best mountain guides in the world use. Reliable, simple and fast are the signatures of the Barryvox S all in a compact, high tech package.