Michelle Parker, Ben Paciotti claim Golden Saucers at Pain McShlonkey Hot Dog Downhill
Dressed in everything from a Sasquatch outfit to a skier with deer antlers on his helmet, some of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s best winter athletes gathered at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this morning in celebration of the legacy of ski legend Shane McConkey.
JT Holmes, Bryce Bennett, and Nate Holland were among some of the pros competing in the ninth annual Pain McShlonkey Hot Dog Downhill — a race down KT-22 on snowblades — but none could outduel local skier Ben Paciotti, who topped the field of athletes to capture the coveted Pain McShlonkey Golden Saucer.
“It means everything to me,” said Paciotti. “I really wanted to take home the win. This is a very special event to me. It’s the most important event of the year … thank you Shane. This is the most fun ever, even when you don’t win. Everybody is having as much fun as I am.”
On the women’s side, local pro Michelle Parker came around the final corner ahead of the field of female racers and dashed up the hill to the finish line for a first-place finish. The victory was Parker’s first in three Pain McShlonkey races.
“This is the first time I’ve ever taken home this win,” said Parker, who shared a moment with Shane McConkey’s wife Sherry and daughter Ayla at the finish line. “I didn’t know I was in the front and I got to dive, and Ayla was holding (the golden saucer trophy) and I was with Sherry and I was pretty much crying through my goggles. It means a lot. I’m really, really happy right now … sharing that moment with Sherry and Ayla was kind of a dream come true.”
The annual event at Squaw pays homage to Shane McConkey, whose jaw-dropping style on the mountain was featured in 26 ski movies during his career. McConkey died in 2009, while executing a ski-BASE jump in Italy. He was 39.