Legendary Skier, BASE jumper and freesports pioneer Shane McConkey dies

Shane McConkey died on Thursday (26/03/2009) after a ski BASE accident in Italy, where he was filming with Matchstick productions and Red Bull.

courtesy of Graeme Murray/Redbull Photofiles

Details of the incident are still vague, but Scott Gaffney, the man behind Matchstick, and Shane’s close friend gave ESPN action sports the following information:

“He did a double back flip off the jump and he has these releasable bindings so they come off in the air and then he flies off in his wing suit. But one ski did not come off. And when that happens the drag on the skis causes you to flip over, so the skis go over your head. So he was struggling with the one ski. Then he also got into a bad spin. So he may have never even pulled his pilot chute. And that’s coming from JT Holmes, who Shane was with in Italy and who reviewed the footage of the accident. So the combination of the ski, the spin and the pilot chute, apparently. Because you can’t throw the pilot chute like that; if you throw it while you’re upside down and it wraps around the ski, you’re done.”

McConkey, 39, of Olympic Valley, California, is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their three year old daughter, Ayla, our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

courtesy of K2 skis

Shane McConkey was one of the greats of extreme skiing, freestyle skiing, and ski-BASE. With podium places at the X-Games, an IFSA World Tour Freeskiing title, numerous public poll accolades, and many other top event prizes, McConkey proved himself as one of the best, and most popular skiers out there. More recently his film parts in ski movies have been something that people always look forward to, whether it be for his crazy stunts, or his light-hearted way of depicting the sport he loved. Shane McConkey not only lead the sport on his skis, but also off them. He pretty much invented reverse camber and reverse sidecut, which has now become a staple of nearly all ski companies, and has allowed the sport to develop so much. He was a pioneer of ski-BASE, and he was a founding member of the IFSA, the group responsible for the World Tour Freeskiing title. In short his contribution to the sport was immeasurable, and his death has come as a shock to all, he will be sorely missed by everyone. RIP Shane, and thankyou for all you have done.

Here’s a typical example of why Shane was such a loved personality in the world of freeskiing (From Matchstick Productions, Seven Sunny Days)
More Freeskiing >>


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