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Interview: Staying Home With Pro Skier Cody Townsend


The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted the day by day lives of everybody on the planet. For skilled skiers, the untimely finish of ski season resulted in canceled movie initiatives, expeditions placed on maintain, and a sudden lower of labor.

To learn the way the athletes main our sport are dealing with the pandemic and listen to what they’re doing to remain wholesome and sane, we’re catching up with a couple of of them in a five-part interview sequence rolling out this week. Read our first installment with Utah’s Drew Petersen here.

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Cody Townsend, primarily based in Lake Tahoe, California, has captivated a worldwide viewers with his attempt to climb and ski all the lines in the 2010 book, “Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America,” whereas producing an ongoing video sequence. The primary episodes ran in early 2019. Watch the newly released Ep. 25 right here.

Previous to the pandemic, Townsend and filmer Bjarne Salén had been nonetheless touring the continent, ticking off strains from their mission, dubbed “The Fifty,” because the routes got here into mid-winter type. The coronavirus pandemic has since put that on maintain, however the 37-year-old is staying busy at dwelling along with his spouse, big mountain skier Elyse Saugstad, finishing home initiatives, and focusing his consideration on the better good throughout this era of uncertainty.

Earlier than COVID-19 modified all the world, what was the standing of the mission?

We had been on a extremely good tempo. It was a gradual tempo to start out the winter however then we ticked off seven strains in 4 weeks. We had been about to enter the busy level of the season, March, April and Could, when the massive strains are available in and had been prepping for what was shaping as much as be a ridiculous run, due to the situations we had been seeing.

Your authentic aim for this mission was to finish it in three years. Has this pandemic altered that timeframe?

I’ve needed to consider a number of danger on this mission and I didn’t foresee the chance of worldwide pandemic being a problem for finishing it in a three-year timeframe. In order that three-year aim is totally out the window now. Belief me, I attempted to determine a method, I stated, “I guess we are able to do that, I guess we are able to proceed,” after which it simply bought to some extent the place it grew to become fully socially irresponsible to proceed this mission whereas the world is at a standstill.

Within the meantime, I see you’ve been exhausting at work retaining the mission within the highlight. You hosted a reside Q&A in regards to the Mount Washington episode. Something related within the works?

We now have three extra regular ski episodes to launch by way of April however, within the meantime, whereas everyone seems to be caught inside I wished try to do among the stuff we’re not in a position to do usually, as a result of we’re engaged on the ski portion. It’s a great alternative to attach with followers of the mission. There appears to be such a wholesome fandom behind it, it’s been a blessing to have the ability to discuss with the individuals which have been asking questions straight.

You shared some fan art work pertaining to “The FIFTY” in your Instagram. Have you ever seen some other inventive works or responses which have acted as a silver lining by way of all of this?

I’ve been getting extra direct emails from individuals as a result of they’ve time and know we’re all inside. I’ve gotten extra emails previously few weeks with ardour behind them, individuals telling their story about turning round, due to one of many movies the place they noticed that we circled.

Additionally, listening to about children being into it, desirous to backcountry ski someday and approaching it with a secure mentality; messages from individuals saying it’s impressed them and so they’re doing backcountry snowboarding the fitting method with training first reasonably than simply going out and getting after it. To assume that this mission is having this influence is one thing I couldn’t have foreseen once I began it.

You personal a small enterprise, Arcade Belts. How is the corporate working throughout the pandemic?

Once you personal an organization and have 13 staff whose salaries and livelihoods are primarily based on choices you make, it’s disturbing. We don’t wish to allow them to down or minimize them apart, so our primary focus proper now’s survival and retaining individuals on payroll.

We’re in a wholesome place, however on the identical time it’s extremely disturbing as a result of nobody is aware of when it’s going to finish. I feel each firm of our measurement on this planet proper now’s pondering the identical method. In addition to survival, our CEO has been getting abroad shipments of N-95 medical masks and donating them on to the hospital. I had nothing to do with that call, it was all Tristan Queen, and it jogged my memory of the eagerness of small companies which have a connection to their communities, combat for his or her staff and the individuals round them, as a result of it’s the one factor we now have.

Plenty of firms will likely be judged by how they reacted throughout this disaster. It’s admirable that Arcade isn’t taking the short-view on issues.

I simply noticed the information the place Interest Foyer laid off staff over e-mail—no severance bundle, no healthcare, no lifeline, nothing aside from the CEO saying, “God is in management.” He’s value $6.5 billion.

You see that stage of disrespect to humanity and also you counter it with the truth that these small companies, that are on a disaster line, going out of their method to assist individuals, maintain individuals employed, and maintain preventing for the group. It turns into evident how small companies might be good for the group, whereas others are simply extracting from communities.

Do you’ve any techniques you’re counting on that you simply’d wish to share with others to assist keep sane and wholesome proper now?

What I’m attempting to give attention to is pondering not when it comes to my very own survival however what can I do to assist individuals. I’ve some fundraising concepts and issues I can do that may make the most of my place and fanbase to perhaps do one thing that helps us get out of this reasonably than simply keep at dwelling. I’m in a singular place to have the ability to assist and never be confused to combat for my family’s survival.

This text initially appeared on and was republished with permission.

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