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May 30, 2024 by Megan Michelson

Trade Secrets: Cody Townsend | Failure Can Be a Success


Home Base / Tahoe City, California

Activities / Skiing, backcountry skiing

Insider Knowledge:

Cody Townsend’s YouTube series on “The Fifty” project has redefined what failure and success mean in the mountains. Whether he makes it to the summit and skis the line on his first try is no longer the definition of success. Instead, it’s about the puzzle—and getting back safely. “I’d say I have a 75 percent chance of failing this project, as in not skiing all 50 lines,” he says. “That’s still worth trying because the process is worth it.” He also never wants to lose the reason he’s out there in the first place: to have fun. “I’m a strict believer of skiing with no rules,” he says. “My rule of skiing? Do it in the way that’s most fun.”

Long approaches give you time to weigh risks. Photo Bjarne Salen

Quick Tip:

Stick with what’s working. “I don’t have lucky socks, but if I have a good day in the mountains, then those socks don’t get changed until the luck runs out,” he says. “It’s sort of reassuring—despite the stinky stiff socks—to be in the same gear that I previously felt good in the mountains with. It’s less of a superstition and more of a comfort thing.”