The Sky Piercer

Skier Sam Smoothy describes his style as “fast and loose with a good deal of risk,” which seems applicable to his objective to climb and ski the East Face of New Zealand’s Aoraki Mt. Cook. Directed by Jace Hancox and presented by Audi and The North Face, The Sky Piercer follows Sam and his team as they battle extreme weather and difficult conditions to achieve their unlikely goal.


Hailing from New Zealand, Sam Smoothy is one of the biggest names in the Freeride circuit, having been competing in the Freeride World Tour since 2011. His highlights include first place in the Freeride World Tour, Andorra in 2015 and victories in Chamonix 2012 and Austria 2014. Though he has retained his freeride approach to skiing, Smoothy has delved into ice climbing and ski mountaineering over the past few years, tying into his Aoraki Mt Cook climb and ski.

His desire to ski the East Face of Aoraki Mt Cook stems not only from his natural sense of adventure and curiosity of the unknown, but from a familial connection. Smoothy’s parents climbed Zurbriggens Ridge, located near the team’s ascent route in 1976, followed by the more traditional Linda route in 1977, and finally traversed the entirety of Aoraki Mt Cook’s summit ridge in 1978, leading Smoothy to want to emulate their path whilst carving out his own. Check out the trailer above.