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Tahoe Nugget #169:

Tahoe Loses Ski Star
March 27, 2009

Extreme skier and Olympic Valley (Squaw Valley) resident Shane McConkey was killed yesterday jumping off a cliff with a parachute while filming a movie in Italy. He was 39.

Shane was a pioneer in Ski-BASE jumping, a sport where skiers soar off giant cliffs, jettison their skis, deploy a parachute and then glide safely to the ground. Apparently, when Shane launched off the cliff in Corvara, Italy, one ski binding did not release, which sent him into a spin and he could not release the chute. He died on impact.

McConkey founded the International Free Skiing Association (IFSA) and had earned a well-deserved reputation for his BASE-jumping competitions and big-mountain film exploits. Despite the seemingly reckless nature of the sport, Shane had a reputation for being very careful and was always meticulous when it came to prepping his leaps.

Professional Squaw Valley skier C.R. Johnson knew Shane for 12 years. He said that Shane "Lived life at the highest level and to the very fullest, and for that we all admired him. It's also a fine line to walk…but that's how he wanted to live; it's what made him happy."

During his career, Shane won the IFSA world tour of freeskiing in 1996 and 1998, and finished second in the 1999 Winter X Games Skier X competition. In 2001, Skiing Magazine ranked him as the top skier in North America. Powder Magazine voted him skier of the year three times.

Shane lived and trained at Squaw Valley. He is survived by his wife, Sherry, and three-year-old daughter, Ayla.

It's been a tough season for Lake Tahoe's North Shore community. On Christmas Day, Tahoe City resident Randall Davis died in an avalanche at Squaw Valley, the first inbounds avalanche fatality there since 1959. In February, Squaw Valley ski patrolman Andrew Entin was killed in a slide while conducting snow safety procedures, the only patrolman avalanche fatality of record at the 60-year-old resort.

Yes, Shane McConkey died doing what he loved, but all who knew him would say he left us too soon.

Click here for a short video of Shane in action.

Photo #1: Shane McConkey
Photo #2: Map of Italy where movie was being filmed
Photo #3: Line down Val Scura couloir in Italy.
Photo #4: McConkey nailing flip at Squaw Valley. Photo by Mike AK.

Shane McConkey Photo

McConkey Italy Map

Val Scura couloir

McConkey Flip at Squaw

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