Ski legend Shane McConkey dies | SierraSun.com

Ski legend Shane McConkey dies

Ryan Slabaugh and Sylas WrightSierra Sun
Sierra Sun file photo/Court LeveShane McConkey studies a jump in 2005 before basejumping 400-feet near Lake Tahoe.
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Tell us how Shane McConkey affected your life in a live blog at http://www.sierrasun.com/mcconkey. Also watch video of McConkey at http://www.sierrasun.com/mcconkeyvid.

Shane McConkey’s final blog post:Dated March 25, 2009: “Today was quite cool! We finally nailed that line variation off the Val Scura couloir on Sassongher. This was extremely satisfying getting to ski such a unique line. Conditions in the couloir were still very hard and icy in places so the skiing was slow and careful…”

SQUAW VALLEY USA Ski legend and Olympic Valley resident Shane McConkey, 39, died today in Italy where he was filming his latest movie. The news shocked the ski community.McConkey, who moved to Squaw from Colorado in 1994, had grown popular for his BASE jumping talents as well as his big-mountain film exploits, and had won several national and international skiing competitions, including the X Games and World Extreme Skiing Championships.Friend Scott Gaffney had known McConkey for 15 years.I was pretty much floored, Gaffney said. Everyone is the same way. Theyre floored. With what he does, you picture it happening at some point, and yet at the same time, you think its never going to happen. The bottom fell out today.He was a larger than life personality, Gaffney continued. He was one of the most gifted individuals youll ever meet, and one hell of a friend who never let who he was in the medias eyes change him.Matchstick Productions, the film company for whom McConkey worked, confirmed the death Thursday afternoon, but said they were denying comment at this time.C.R. Johnson, 25, a professional Squaw skier who lives in Truckee, knew McConkey for about 12 years. He spoke somberly about the news: He lived life at the highest level and to the very fullest, and for that we all admired him. Its also a fine line to walk … But thats how he wanted to live; its what made him happy.Ill remember his beautiful personality. He was just a strong character, for sure. … He and other athletes like him riding at Squaw were the ones who inspired me to do what Im doing today. They made it possible.Gaffney said McConkey had discussed the inherent danger of base jumping and extreme skiing, but added, He was calculated and very conscious of what he was doing. In a lot of peoples eyes, he was absolutely crazy. He took away a lot of the risks to make sure what he was doing was safe.In 2005, McConkey became one of the first to ever complete a triple back flip while basejumping with skis on, a trick he completed off a 400-foot drop near Lake Tahoe. Further proof of McConkeys meticulousness and safety consciousness was when he called off a BASE jump at the 38-story Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno. He later executed the jump.Todd Offenbacher, an Outdoor adventurer, RSN host and creator of Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, was stunned upon learning of McConkeys death while on a ski trip to Canada.Its horrible news, and Im just devastated, said Offenbacher, who became friends with McConkey through his BASE jumping adventures. Everybody loved Shane. We was always pushing the limits of sports, creating new sports and creating good energy out there.On the lift today I was just talking about Shane and what a cool person he is. He was James Bond kind of cool. He didnt try to be cool, but he was.McConkeys thorough prep work always impressed Offenbacher.He was incredibly calculated with his preparation. Absolutely nothing reckless with what he did in the sport, Offenbacher said.Proof of McConkeys meticulousness and safety consciousness was when he called off a BASE jump at the 38-story Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno. He later executed the jump.There was a big trade show and everybody was there, and it was marketed that he was going to do this thing, Offenbacher said. He waited and waited, looking at the wind, and called it off. There was a lot of pressure for him to do it, but he was willing to walk away because the conditions werent perfect.A number of media reports said that McConkey had suffered an equipment failure while he was BASE jumping, but that has not been confirmed. Tahoe Daily Tribune sports editor Steve Yingling contributed to this story