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Of the Powder Awards, the late ski legend, and two-time Full Throttle Award winner Shane McConkey once said (and I paraphrase): Screw Best Male, Full Throttle is the award you want. Cody Townsend, a friend and protégé of McConkey’s, left nothing to chance at the 2014 Powder Awards. He won both, Full Throttle and Best Performance by a Male, and added Best Line and 10th place in the Reader Poll for good measure.
Townsend, who appears in “Days of my Youth”by MSP Films, is the second person to sweep Full Throttle and Best Performance, a feat matched only by Sean Pettit, in 2010. Unlike Pettit, who won his awards at 17 years of age, Townsend has steadily climbed to the pinnacle of skiing. He worked his way up through the ranks at MSP and with his ski sponsor, Salomon, to the point where he is now the marquee name for both. In the interim, he also started his own company, Arcade. Townsend’s wife, Elyse Saugstad, won Best Performance by a Female at the 2013 Awards.
Though Townsend has enjoyed steady success over the past decade, 2014 was his banner year. In addition to his segment with MSP and the largest individual haul in the history of the Powder Awards, the Santa Cruz, California, native and Squaw Valley skier also landed on the cover of four different magazines, including the September issue of Powder, Skiing, Aka Skidor in Sweden and Snow magazine in the Czech Republic. “It’s one of those things where the snow ball just picked up speed real fast,” Townsend says.
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While sitting with Powder’s John Clary Davies after winning the awards, Townsend emphasized that sports like skiing should be fun, first and foremost. “I never skied to win an award,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of followed what I want to do. So many things that went into it this year, it was because that’s what I thought was going to be the most fun.”
Other big winners on the night include the crew from Teton Gravity Research, who won Movie of the Year for the first time since 2004 for their release “Almost Ablaze.” Angel Collinson won Best Performance by a Female for her part in “Almost Ablaze.” Olympian Henrik Harlaut won Best Man Made Air and Phil Casabon got Best Jib, both from the Armada Skis team film “Oil and Water.”
In the most emotional moment of the night, J.P. Auclair finished first in the Reader Poll, the fan-voted portion of the awards. J.P. was killed in an avalanche in Chile along with his good friend Andreas Fransson in September. An eight-minute tribute produced by Sherpas Cinema and Poor Boyz Production brought cheers and tears from the crowd.
Ingrid Backstrom won the female Reader Poll for the 10th year in a row.
To help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the award show, Powder magazine brought in a number of past winners, ski icons, and industry stalwarts to present awards. Among the guest presenters were skiers Kent Kreitler, Aaron McGovern, Kim Reichhelm, Gordy Peifer, Pep Fujas, photographer Scott Marketwitz, and Powder magazine founders Dave and Jake Moe.
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