Legendary big mountain skier and BASE jumper Shane McConkey lost his life while performing a ski BASE jump off the Sass Pardoi cliff in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy on March 26, 2009.


A pioneer of the ski-BASE-ing phenomenon, Shane 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. Shane was filming with Matchstick Productions and Red Bull at the time (much of the footage from MSP and Red Bull went into the production of McCONKEY, a documentary celebrating Shane’s life – trailer above).

Much of the text below is courtesy of Scott Gaffney, one of Shane’s closest friends.

As one of the most versatile skiers in the history of the sport, during his 17-year professional freeskiing career McConkey won everything from mogul tour events to big mountain competitions to skiercross races to big air events. He starred in more than 15 popular ski movies including the heralded “There’s Something About McConkey” and was honored as "The People’s Choice for Male Skier of the Year three years in a row. In the latter stages of his career, McConkey discovered BASE jumping and quickly became the forefather of ski BASE jumping, seeing potential to ski lines never thought possible.

One of the most forward thinking individuals in the sport, in the mid 1990s, McConkey single handedly convinced the ski world to get on fat skis to ski mountains faster and more easily and, seeing that skiing powder is more akin to floating on water, he proceeded to convince his ski sponsor, Volant, to produce a reverse sidecut, reverse camber ski he dubbed the Spatula that challenged decades of ski design. Knowing the ski would be scoffed at by the industry establishment, McConkey illustrated his point by mounting a pair of 1970’s jumping waterskis and shredding a massive British Columbia peak with ease in MSP’s film, “Focused,” and inadvertently gave rise to a functional sliding turn now fondly referred to as a “McConkey Turn.” Today, nearly every reputable ski manufacturer produces a reverse sidecut, reverse cambered ski born from Shane’s original idea.

Shane was a constant entertainer. His ability to bring fun everywhere he went was legendary and the mere mention of his name always made the people who knew him smile. Countless magazine articles and film segments revealed a man who enjoyed the lighter side of life. When a season was cut short in 1997 by a knee injury, McConkey gave birth to Saucerboy, a saucer-riding, Jack Daniels swilling character who brought hilarity to the industry. McConkey’s comedic, fun-loving personality was ever-present on screen and off.

Oakley offers its heartfelt condolences to his wife Sherry, daughter Ayla and the members of his immediate and extended family around the world.

Shane McConkey


Date of Birth:
December 30, 1969
Squaw Valley, CA
Red Bull, K2, Oakley Sessions clothing, Dalbello ski boots and Marker bindings.

Career Highlights

    • 2005: Nominated for Laureus World Sport Award - World Alternative Sportsperson Of The Year, Ranked #1 Powder Magazine Reader Poll and Won Powder Magazine�s Full Throttle Award again
    • 2004: Ranked #2 again in Powder Magazine�s Reader Poll, Won Powder Magazine�s Full Throttle award, Won Powder Magazine�s Best Helmet Cam award, Went ski base jumping all over Europe and even got to bust a double front off the Eiger and Got Married in Thailand
    • 2003: Ranked #2 in Powder Magazine�s Reader Poll, Won the Chinese Fruity DH at my own event! (Beat Daron Rhalves!) and Skied bitchen lines that closed out to 500ft cliffs and then aired off em with my parachute
    • 2002: Ranked #1 in Powder Magazine�s Reader Poll and Invented world�s greatest powder ski! The Volant Spatula with reverse camber and reverse sidecut
    • 2001: ESPN Action Sport Awards Skier of the Year, Red Bull Ultra Cross�s Big Air Comp - 1st and Ranked #1 in Skiing Magazine�s Top 25 skiers in North America
    • 2000: Nea Award Winner - Freeskiing Male, Bridge Day Championships - 5th Overall 3rd Exit Style Winner of Judges Choice Award, Gravity Games Big Mtn. Champion, Gravity Games Skiercross - 6th
    • Gravity Games Big Air - 7th, X-Games Skiercross - 5th, Japan Core Games Skiercross Champion and Jonny Moseley Invitational - 3rd
    • 1999: ESPN X-Games Skier Cross - 2nd Place, IFSA World Tour of Freeskiing - 5th, US Freeskiing Nationals - 5th and World Tour event at Andermatt - 3rd
    • 1998: IFSA World Tour of Freeskiing Champion, European Freeskiing Champion, U.S. Freeskiing Nationals - 2nd Place and Canadian Freeskiing Championships 4th Place
    • 1996: IFSA Overall World Tour Champion - Unofficial tour, European Freeskiing Champion, U.S. Freeskiing Championships - 4th place and World Extreme Skiing Championships - 6th place
    • 1995: U.S. National Freeskiing Champion, South American Freeskiing Champion, Pro Mogul Tour Overall - 16th - 1st seed and Japan Super Mogul - 7th
    • 1994: South American Freeskiing Champion, World Extreme Skiing Championships - 2nd, Pro Mogul Tour Overall - 8th - 1st seed and Pro Mogul Tour Event at Copper Mtn. - 1st