A third-generation Alaskan, Elyse grew up in the mountains and on the wild rivers of that state. Her passion for the outdoors and love of speed led her to become one of the best women downhill racers in the country at the age of 16. After graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno, Elyse turned her eyes once again to the wilderness and became a professional skier with a long list of film credits and awards to her name.  She lives in Olympic Valley, California, with her husband professional skier Cody Townsend.



  • Freeskier Magazine’s “2018 Female Skier of the Year

  • 2 x Winner Powder Video Awards' "Best Female Performance" 2013, 2018

  • 2 x Winner IF3 International Freesport Film Festival "Best Female Freeride Performance" 2014, 2018

  • Named one of ESPN's "Top 50 Women in Action Sports" in 2014

  • Nominated for Powder Video Awards' "Best Female Performance" in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

  • Voted Top 5 Powder Magazine Readers' Choice Poll in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018

  • Voted Top 5 Overall in Teton Gravity Research's Co-Lab contest in a field of over 40 men and was the only female to make it into the final


  • 2008 Freeride World Tour Overall Champion

  • 1st Place FWT Stop #2 Sochi, Russia 2008

  • 1st Place FWT Stop #3 Tignes, France 2008

  • 1st Place FWT Stop #4 Verbier, Switzerland 2008

  • 1st Place US Freeskiing Open Squaw Valley, CA 2008

  • 1st Place FWT Stop #2 Squaw Valley, CA 2009

  • Won/Voted Freeride World Tour's "Best Female Line of the Year" 2009


  • TEDx Golden Gate San Francisco CA 2013

  • Friends of the Chugach Avalanche Center Fundraiser Anchorage, AK 2016

  • Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop Whitefish, MT 2012

  • Northwest Avalanche Association's Fundraiser Gala Seattle, WA 2012

  • Sierra Avalanche Workshop South Lake Tahoe, CA 2014