Families — Parents — Kids

The Short, Passionate Life of Skier Shane McConkey

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"I get up and go to work everyday, and I'm stoked."

He may have been an inspiring professional skier of epic pioneering proportions, but Shane McConkey was much more, too. The charismatic, high-energy, grinning, infectious and exceptionally funny guy was also a husband and father. The news of his death in 2009 hit hard and fast, creating a tremor of emotion through the skiing world. Tragically, he'd left behind his bride of just under five years, and a three-year-old daughter. He was a favored and lovable freeskier who, in 2003, pulled off his first ski-BASE jump. That's exactly what it sounds like, a BASE jump on skis: big air, parachute landing. Over the years, he completed over 700 of these jumps sometimes with a wingsuit added to the recipe. In March of 2009, he took a jump in Italy's Dolomite Mountains that went terribly wrong. His friend and partner J.T. Holmes issued a statement at the time that explained the nuts and bolts:

Shane did a double back flip in perfect McConkey style. As planned, afterwards, he went to release his skis in order to fly away from the wall and safely deploy his parachute. This is where the jump went wrong. He was not able to release either of his skis. He remained focused on releasing them by reaching down towards his bindings. This put him into a spin/tumble/unstable falling style, that may have appeared out of his control, but in reality, Shane was not concerned about flying position or style; just concerned with reaching those skis so that he could get them off and fly or deploy his parachute. He succeeded in releasing both of skis and immediately transitioned into a perfect flying position; then he impacted the snow, and died at that moment.

The trailer here is for a 90-minute film due out in 2013 that helps paint the full picture of McConkey for the rest of us. While there's no doubt some folks may feel the need to say he irresponsibly risked too much because he had a family depending on him, that's not the conversation I care to conduct here. It's the snapshots of the talent, legacy, and inspiration of one man's quest to be happy and live out his one shot at this life that make the bigger impression. One day, we'll all hit the ground. However, Shane McConkey seems to have lived an awfully short life that moved so many people that it warrants a documentary about him. That he lived a life that was so inspiring and enthralling — what are the words to summarize here?

He once said this: "I just love the feeling of catching air. It's the combination of being completely out of control yet knowing that you're in control. And your stomach going up through your chest and out your mouth. It's just the scariest, coolest thing in the world."

Reminds me of how my daughter loves being thrown in the air and landing on the bed.

shane mcconkey 001

shane mcconkey 001

shane mcconkey 001

shane mcconkey 001


Melanie Murrish
+3 / 0
# Melanie Murrish 2012-11-05 08:38
A life lived in fear is a life half lived!
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