Shane McConkey’s sense of humor honored at Squaw’s Pain McShlonkey Classic

Adam Jensen
Sherry McConkey, center, joins in the fun at last year's Pain McShlonkey Clasic at Squaw Valley.
Donna Reid | A Day In Your Life Photography

If you go

What: 4th annual Pain McShlonkey Classic

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, March 29

Where: Squaw Valley

Tickets: Free to watch, tickets for the after-party are $30


Among the vestiges of ski culture preserved by the Internet for generations to come is a little something called ski ballet.

A cross between skiing and a figure-skating routine, ski ballet competitions featured athletic flips and twists, over-the-top outfits and a more-than-a-healthy dose of flair.

This weekend’s fourth annual Pain McShlonkey Classic at Squaw Valley will feature all three, with an added twist: Snowblades.

The super-short skis were often a target of mockery for late freeskier Shane McConkey, who is the inspiration for this weekend’s shenanigans.

The event begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with a Snowblade race from Squaw’s KT-22 chairlift. The Snowblade Ballet Competition follows and features competitors displaying their Snowblade grace at the base of the resort’s Exhibition chairlift.

A public costume contest begins at 2 p.m. at Squaw’s KT Base Bar. Queen tribute band Queen Nation rounds out Saturday’s events with a 8 p.m. performance at the Squaw Valley Conference Center.

Saturday’s competitions are modeled after Snowblade races McConkey put on in the past and are really just about having a good time, said Shane McConkey Foundation founder Sherry McConkey.

“He always just liked to make fun of things and make everything so lighthearted and not so serious and this event is exactly that,” McConkey said. “It’s just such a huge celebration for Shane. People love him so much, it’s a great way to celebrate his legacy.”

Saturday’s events help raise funds for the foundation, which focuses on causes McConkey was passionate about. This weekend’s event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s environmental education programs.

“I can’t even tell you how stoked he would be. This is exactly what he would want,” Sherry McConkey said. “He’s not the type that would want anyone to be sad and get sad and that kind of stuff. He would want people to party and have fun and be themselves and goof around and just have fun and celebrate life and live life to the fullest. If he’s looking down, I know he’s got to be stoked.”

Tickets for Saturday’s after-party are available for purchase at and Le Chamois at Squaw Valley.

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