News of Shane McConkey’s death really shocked us this morning. The legendary freeskier, base jumper and innovator Shane McConkey was killed yesterday in a base jumping accident in the Italian Dolomites. According to several news feeds, Shane McConkey experienced problems in the air after launching off a cliff with the expectation of deploying his parachute canopy and then gliding down to the ground—as he had done successfully some 700-plus times before.
“He did a double backflip 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,” filmmaker Scott Gaffney, a longtime close friend of McConkey’s, told ESPN Action Sports.
“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”, said JT Holmes, who Shane was with in Italy and who reviewed the footage of the accident.
Shane McConkey’s death reported world wide
The fact is that Shane has died, but it’s not easy to swallow. He was so good and gifted that we really didn’t believe this could happen, even though the risks were usually high. Shane McConkey, who appeared in several ski films such as Steep, was one of the brightest stars in the industry. He was a role model to many of us. I really admired Shane’s positive mindset, smile, kindness and courage to live his life exactly the way he wanted. He lived large, every minute. Shane McConkey was truly an inspirational person whose lifestyle so many people followed, but now he is gone. Shane will be missed, just like Doug Coombs, Trevor Petersen and many other great skiers who died young.
Shane McConkey was known as the father of reverse camber powder skis, starting with the Volant Spatula and the more recent K2 Pontoon. He was a pioneer and motivator to thousands of skiers across the globe. Shane also won numerous awards and competitions. He started as a competitive freestyle skier, but moved on to be featured in a long line of extreme skiing movies.
Shane McConkey, 39, of Olympic Valley, Calif., is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their 3½-year-old daughter, Ayla. Our thoughts go out to McConkey’s family and friends.
Here are few videos of Shane.
Photos: Graeme Murray/Red Bull Photofiles
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