It’s truly difficult to come up with words to describe the feeling I had when I learned of Shane McConkey’s passing yesterday in a Ski-BASE jumping accident in the Italian Dolomites. Though in my mind, this accident may have been inevitable, it’s always sad to see the life of such a vibrant personality cut short. I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll share my fondest memory of Shane with you.
It was at the 2000 Canadian Freeskiing Competition at Whistler-Blackcomb. Everyone in the ski scene had descended upon Blackcomb for the freeskiing and big air competition. The morning of the big air comp was met with a good 8-inches of freshies, so we were all lapping the runs surrounding the park as the hits were prepped for the comp.
Up the lift, I had noticed Shane McConkey a few chairlifts back. Then, when we all skied down towards the terrain park, I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. Upon stopping with a crowd of contestants, I caught everyone’s attention and said, “I saw Shane McConkey skiing down this way.”
The funny thing was just as I said “I saw…”, the man himself came skidding into our posse and he heard my star-struck announcement. I’ll never forget him smiling that huge smile and then looking around and saying, “No way, Shane McConkey! Where!?!?”. We all laughed and then skied off.
Now skiers everywhere and close friends and family of Shane are reeling from the loss of the freeskiing legend, ski-BASE jumping pioneer, Saucerboy and all-around good guy. May Shane’s wife and daughter feel the support they so desperately need at this time and may we all live our lives to the fullest in his memory. May he rest in peace.
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Photo Credit: Graeme Murray/Red Bull Photofiles