This time last year we were getting ready to welcome Cody Townsend and Elyse Saugstad on the tarmac at Sydney Airport. Since we're a far cry away from that happening this year, we thought we'd look back on what ended up being one of the best weeks of snow Oz has seen in years. Particularly our day riding with the resident groms of Thredbo resort.
Why rider's of such esteem as Cody Townsend (2019 Powder Poll male skier of the year) and Elyse Saugstad (2019 Powder Poll female skier of the year (second place)) would grace the Australian alps was a question on a lot of peoples minds. Well, we invited - or rather goaded - Cody and Elyse to come down under and sample some 'real skiing'. The 'best mountains in the world' we said, and they took the bait.
Cody Townsend finding a home among the gum trees out the back of Thredbo Resort. While best mountains in the world may have been a stretch, they sure got the best powder of anywhere in the world during their week here. Photo: Matt Wiseman
Cody dipping his toe into his signature Le Send sock, the catalyst for his trip down under. Photo: Jake McBride
From skinning over sheet ice up to the top of Kozi on the first day of #lesenddownunder to 120cm falling in the next three days, the duo sampled all Australia had to offer, and then some, while putting the world's first backcountry sock - the Le Send - through its final round of product testing.
"I figured it would be a bit like the East Coast, US." said Cody. "Small mountains, a little bit of snow here and there. But we don't see many photos of Australian skiing in the US , so I didn't really know. We showed up, and were like 'yeah, smaller mountains, not that much snow...' And then, when we got so much snow, I was blown away by how fun the mountain was. There's little terrain hits everywhere. We ended up skiing with the Thredbo Mountain Academy kids, and blasting off every little thing in sight. I was like, "this is honestly more fun than some of the places I've skied back East because of the terrain and playful features. It was a blast."
Thredbo Mountain Academy meeting Cody and Elyse. Photo: Matt Wiseman
Scoping out some hits. Safe to say froth levels were through the roof and one of the biggest culprits was Cody himself. Photo: Matt Wiseman
Post pole whack, pre team send. Photo: Jake McBride
Cody and Elyse gave a Q&A and talked about the perks and perils of pro skiing after the Mountain Academy kids showed them the ins and outs of Thredbo. A hot topic was avalanche safety in Oz and upskilling in the mountains. Photo: Matt Wiseman
After shredding with the groms all day, Cody then sat down with longtime Thredbo local and editor of Chillfactor Magazine Reggae Elliss to talk all things skiing, socks and what he thought of the terrain down under.
When asked by Reggae how he had come to join the Le Bent bandwagon, he said, "It was funny, I got an email out of the blue from Simon (Le Bent co-founder) and I've gotten tonnes of emails from small companies... It's hard for them to ask and it's hard for me because product doesn't pay my bills. But I liked something about what they were doing. So I said hey, I will join the team if you make this particular sock. "I've got this idea for the sock. I've had it in my head for a number of years and no one will make it." I had been telling people, telling other companies, please make this ski touring specific sock. So Le Bent did. I was in."
Since then, Le Bent's been working on a second generation Le Send sock with Cody. Elyse has also officially joined the program and has a women's specific Le Send sock set to hit stores and the skin track later this year... so keep your eyes peeled.
You can catch the full interview between Cody and Reggae below!
To read it in print head to https://www.chillfactor.com