We Interrogated the Man Who Conquered The Useless – Cody Townsend


Cody Towsend needs no introduction after a 10 year ski movie career and his ‘most insane ski line ever‘. And how does one top the most insane ski line ever? He went solo last winter for his own film project, Conquering the Useless, which just so happens to be launching – right now. We picked Cody’s brain about ski partners, motivations, and smelly tent partners…

Bondo: Cody my man, I just finished watching your new film Conquering The Useless. One word… baaaad-aaaaasss. OK that’s two words. Or is it one hyphenated word? Hey you ever notice this might be the only case in the world where two wrongs actually do make a right? Bad and ass both suck on their own, but combined it’s glorious.

Cody: Why thank you dude. Much appreciated. Word combo’s like that have always tripped me out. I mean hell, I studied linguistics in college yet it still makes no sense to me. I mean, what’s the deal with “pretty ugly”. Are you pretty or are you ugly and why would you combine two completely opposite words together to create a new meaning. Trippy.


Since we’re talking about ass, the downside of ski mountaineering is that you’re often looking at someone’s ass, or setting the boot pack. Ass: Chris Rubens. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Just so Dave doesn't get jealous of Rubens, we'll show his ass too. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Just so Dave doesn’t get jealous of Rubens, we’ll show his ass too. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Bondo: OK we got sidetracked there, but hey it’s kinda like you, Rubens and Treadway. Well non of you are ass, but you all have different ski expertise and came together for one bad-ass mission. Did it flow as well as the film made it look, or were you guys secretly a bickering $#*%show of conflicting opinions and egos?

Cody: It was full flow the entire trip. I tend to find people that spend as much time in the mountains on their own like Rubens and Treadway are incredibly humble people. The mountains teach you quickly that you ain’t the boss, ego has no part in being out there and the real decision making process isn’t made by you but by the mountains, weather and nature. So in all reality, there was incredible teamwork out in the field. Teamwork that kept us safe and let us accomplish some of our goals.

Seems like a good place for teamwork. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Bondo: And speaking of bad words that mean good, looks like you took ‘getting sick’ a bit too literally. What’s it like being stuck in a shack in the high alpine wilderness, sick as a dog, with only 3 stinky dudes for company?

Cody: I gotta say it was pretty fucking miserable being out there that sick. Imagine that feeling of not being able to get out of bed or off the couch because you’re so sick. Then imagine yourself having to navigate the most dangerous glacier you’ve ever seen, climb, ski and spend 14 hours out in the mountains feeling like you should probably be just in a hospital bed. It was pretty terrible and demoralizing.

Bondo: Well you pulled your $#*% together well. There was some heavy hitting ski porn in that film, especially considering much of it was without a heli. So what’s the real story behind this film. Did you sponsors shaft you, forcing you to soul search in the woods on a shoe string budget, or were you really eager to get out of your comfort zone?

Cody: It was one-hundred percent my decision to pull the pin on going down the same path. After last year, I had more support from sponsors than ever. Which was probably the thing that allowed me to convince them that this project was a good idea in the first place. Deep down, I was tired of sitting in heli-lodges spending $20k for a two week trip that was only deemed successful if the conditions were perfect and we threw down in a mind-blowing way. I mean, when it aligns, it’s the funnest thing on the planet. But while sitting in those lodges, I started dreaming of doing it on my own, camping in the mountains, climbing the lines I want to ski and overall just being less sheltered by false realities. This was the year to make that happen.

Cody getting rad. Worth it? Check. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Bondo: Couldn’t you have gotten uncomfortable some easier way closer to home? Like joining the circus, midget mud wrestling, or naked mountain rollerblade freestyle?

Cody: Oh yeah, I probably could’ve decided to become a park skier or something. That’d make me more uncomfortable then anything we did out near Stewart! But alas, I like big mountains, so this was my way of feeling uncomfortable.

Bondo: Who was the weakest link? And if you could have voted someone off the island, would you?

Cody: Not to throw him under the bus… but he’d already know this. Matt, the director and principle cinematographer was by far the weakest link on the trip. He hadn’t filmed a ski movie in ten years and we suddenly were dragging him out into some of the gnarliest snowmobiling on the planet. He was more out of his comfort zone than any of us times 10. But in all reality, none of us would ever have voted him off the island because he was a full trooper and ended up crushing it on the trip.

Bondo: Who was the best skier on the mountain?

Cody: Probably Elyse. She hit the biggest cliff in the movie.

Elyse gettin’ some. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Elyse turning up the gnar dial with some big mountain acrobatics. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Bondo: This one’s cliche, but did the whole thing feel more ‘real’? I know when I’m on a guided trip I use way less than half my brain and instincts. Similar can be said for places I’m too familiar with. There’s definitely something to be said for the unknown eh?

Cody: It felt way more ‘real’. Like you said, with guides, heli’s and a full operation behind you, you can kind of turn your brain off. Out there, own your own, responsible for everything from your own safety and rescue to the meals you cook at night make it feel that much more ‘real’. You come home feeling far more accomplished and more of a human than a stunt monkey. Plus it’s just rad to be out with your friends, solving problems, making good decisions and when it all comes together you celebrate far more as a team than a single person.

“We’re going where?” Who needs a guide anyway. Credit: Conquering the Useless screen grab.

Bondo: You pretty much nailed the title. It totally resonates when Dave talks about trimming back his big mountain gnar ambitions, acknowledging that it’s really just sliding on snow. Keeping it real. So what’s next for you? Raise the bar? Progress progression? Embrace regression?

Cody: What’s next? Hmmm, shit. I hate that question because I can’t answer that. Who knows, I might film some ski porn again, I might go full solo wandering and get lost in the mountains for a month by myself. I might try to produce another story based movie. I might not. All I know is whatever I’m doing, it better be fucking fun or it’s not worth doing.

Bondo: Words to live by. Thanks Cody. Hope everyone enjoys the film.

Cody Townsend is a professional skier who likes new adventures (other than park skiing), long walks on the beach, and women who ski harder than men. Or atleast that’s what we’ve gathered here. He’s sponsored by Salomon, Swatch, Kiehl’s, Smith Optics, Hestra, Squaw Valley, Backcountry.com, ABS, Kask, and Arcade Belt Co.

Digital Download Available in OCTOBER 24th on iTunes / Vimeo on Demand / Amazon / Xbox / Playstation / Google Play / MGo

Executive Producers: Cody Townsend and Team Thirteen
Directed and Edited by: Matt Sheridan
Principle Cameraman: Matt Sheridan and Athan Merrick
Artist: Nick Franchi dribbble.com/nickskinarnia
Trailer Music by Todd Casper
Color Correction: Lindon Williams


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