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Shane McConkey, legendary extreme skier, dies in base-jumping accident


Legendary extreme skier and base jumper Shane McConkey died yesterday in an accident while filming a movie in Italy.

McConkey, 39, was performing a stunt in which he was to launch himself off of a cliff, then detach his skis and deploy a parachute.

Witnesses said McConkey was not able to get one of his skis off, which sent him spinning out of control and prevented him from deploying the chute.  McConkey died on impact.

"He did a double backflip off the jump and he has these releasable bindings. But one ski did not come off. When that happens the drag on the skis causes you to flip over so the skis go over your head. He got into a bad spin and may have never even pulled his pilot chute," filmmaker and McConkey family friend Scott Gaffney told ESPN Action Sports during a telephone interview.

The Lake Tahoe-area resident is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their 3-year-old daughter. 

--Kelly Burgess

In this photo provided by Red Bull, Shane McConkey is photographed in Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Photos courtesy of Red Bull

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Comments (30)

Play with fire. Get burned.

The movie Steep introduced me to Shane. On some strange level I felt connected to him. Shane made me want to be young again, to ski again, to live an uncompromised life. Shane was not crazy - Shane was totally sane. Probably more sane than most people I know who trudge thru life, never really doing what they want to do. That is crazy. Shane McConkey made this 50 year old man want to head to the mountains one more time.

if you have a child no matter how 'good' or 'legendary' you are, plain and simple irresponsible...way to go bro

I am so sorry for this huge loss that Shane's family has had come into their lives.
I want them to know that watching Shane made me live a bigger life, a life which expanded my abilities. His example will continue to do that for all of us. He was a large spirit. I am so grateful he was here, and that his child will have a great legacy which Shane lived and developed each day, he didn't waste one day, that is the greatest example to give a child. To his wife, what a remarkable person you must be, there are no words to express my sorrow for you, I will keep you all in my heart.

Evangeline Crockett

I do not want to add to anyone's misery by asking, why?...but if this was my daughter or son, I would be heartbroken, and the thought would never cross my mind that he died doing what he loved. Dying the death of a warrior in Iraq, as tragic as it is, is still dying the death of a peacemaker. Dying the death of a risk-taker is just tragic. As Jackson Browne once sang "I've seen men die for foolish pride".

He gave us pontoons, He gave us a reason to watch Warren Miller, He will always be remembered

The only surprise is how long it took for this to happen. He was just pushing the limits the way Danny Osman pushed rope jumping. Anyone who waxed lyrical about ski parapenting like it was just a game was bound to find out the Ulitmate Truth. Death always leads the way to that Greater Life.

I'm not part of the extreme skiing crowd and am not familiar with Shane, but judging by all the positive comments, he sounds like an absolutely amazing guy. Still, I must think -- should the father of a 3 year old really be doing stunts like this where the possibility of death is extremely high? It just seems unfair to his child. Yes, he must have been a truly alive and present person, but still. I have a 3 year old child and can't imagine purposely placing myself in a position so that she'll barely remember her dad.

I lived across the street from Shane's mother in Olympic Valley during the 96-97 season. Shane brought over a case of Red Bull to our house it was his new sponsor and no one had ever heard of it before. We thought it was O.K. and it sat on the counter for a week. He was still driving an old Subaru as the sponsorship money was not great back then. On Christmas his mother invited all of us over for dinner as we were all working for mean Jean Hagan at high camp and it was a gnarly winter so we could barely afford to eat as our job was constantly on wind hold. All of my interactions with Shane and his family were great he was really a nice man and not a bad skier to boot.

Great Canadian, sadly gone

"Shane is the sickest person that ever lived!!" a quote from Matt on a chair lift today at Snowbird. The amount of inspiration that Shane is responsible for is unmeasurable. I am watching STEEP right now and Shane's section of the film is SICK!!!


Always Hard when a hear news of a legend skier passing !!! my thoughts with family and friends !! RIP Shane and hope you look over all us skiers x Good nite God Bless.

Wow. I'm stunned.

I did a podcast interview with last year when Steep was released and he was such righteous person. So relaxed and matter-of-fact about his abilities.

A true loss.

My sincere condolences to his family.


May your family find peace knowing you transitioned to another realm doing what you loved best.

Ski movies wont be the same without you Shane, we'll miss you.

All my thoughts to his friends and family

the skiing world lost one of its' greatest. My condolences to his family.

Although I never met Shane I know his father Tom McConkey as a family friend and unbelievable skiier. As an ex-downhill ski racer now in my 50's I had a tough time keeping up to Shane's dad (30 years my senior) while skiing at Whistler in 2006 where his dad Tom was a legendary skier himself for many years .HIs father was so proud of Shane's abilities to take skiing to a new place by taking risks that kept the sport alive. As a child I recall the story of Shane's dad falling into a crevice in the Jasper area while filming a movie. He broke many bones, and barely survived. Shane has not survived-a very deep loss for his father and other family members.What will survive is the story of a father and son deeply passionate about a sport they challenged and brought to a respectable place on many levels.
Hang in their McConk-you have made a difference in the world and so has your son.A big hug from me to you
Dr. Margo Kushner nee Hamilton

Our thoughts and prayers are with your family friends all of whom are so very sad. You were a true friend to the Tahoe gang...and will be forever missed.

Was one of the pioneers, of the skiing sport so many love today. Every person who jibs, freerides or big mountians owes tons of respect to this man. Bella Coola forever.

BSBD fly free bro

Late in the 1990's the sport of skiing was saved because a few charismatic personalities took the sport’s latest innovation – the twin tip ski – and made skiing cool again. Leading the charge was Shane. His video segments resonated with youth everywhere for the way they combined humor, charisma and talent. A decade on and Shane was still inspiring both young and old while simultaneously pushing the sport to new heights. For me personally I’ve lost one of my childhood idols today. I know I’m not alone in saying that. Shane forever changed skiing for people everywhere – whether they know it or not – and I, along with countless others, will miss him.

You were already a legend Shane! RIP.

I ran into Shane at the Cookie Shop in Squaw a month ago. Goofing around looking for his ski that his buddy has hidden. I thought of Shane as age 19 not 39. The world needs more good people like Shane. But too many of the good die young. Base jumping or extreme skiing aside. Shane was really great to be around. My heart goes out ot his family and all those who thrived on his enthusiasm for life.

Great skier, awesome person, gnarley base jumper. The skiing community lost a real icon. Just rode with him last week and he was so psyched about this trip. My condolences to Shane's entire family. RIP.

A freind from Snowbird broke the news to me today. My eyes filled with tears! My heart goes out to your mother,father, your wife and your little daughter. I havent seen you in over 7 years but I thought of you often. We had some great times together way back when? You always had a possitive attude. Always good thoughts and good things to say. Not a mean bone in your body! We always joked with each other about picking your Sorels up, that you had left over to my house. Well my freind I will save them for the next time we meet. In that big beautiful sky that you loved so much. Always thinking of you, your old freind Joe



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.