Shane McConkey Dies in Dolomite Ski BASE Accident

Shane McConkey, 1969-2009.

Legendary big mountain skier, BASE jumper, saucer boy and general sickbird, Shane McConkey died today in a ski BASE jumping accident in the Italian Dolomites. Details are hard to find, but word is that there were complications with one of his skis coming off during free fall.  Shane reportedly did a double front flip over a large cliff with the intention of ditching both skis before flying through the air in a wing suit.  When one of his skis didn’t come off, it forced him upside down and then into a bad spin.  It is unknown whether he was able to deploy his chute or not.  Shane was on location filming with Matchstick Productions and Red Bull at the time, and apparently working on a double-BASE jump project near the Val Scura Couloir, in which he ski-BASE jumps off one cliff, flies down to another patch of snow, cuts away from the chute, lands, and then ski-BASE jumps again.

Shane’s ski-BASE line on the Val Scura.

Previously, Shane (with JT Holmes) succeeded in ski-BASE jumping off a cliff next to the Val Scura Couloir, a line the I have always dreamed of skiing.  After skiing the first few hundred feet, Shane traversed skiers right on a ledge before successfully BASE jumping to the ground.  “Today was a good day.”, Shane commented about the line.  Unfortunately, in the world Shane lives in, even the smallest mistakes or problems can be fatal.   Though we’ve never met Shane, I have admired your talents and bold style from afar. RIP Shane…may you find the eternal flight.


19 Responses to “Shane McConkey Dies in Dolomite Ski BASE Accident”

  1. 1 randosteve Mar 26th, 2009 at 4:09 pm
  2. 2 joshg Mar 26th, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    sad to hear. RIP Shane, may the snow be deep and the saucers slippery.

  3. 3 News Review Mar 26th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    So sad that we have lost another legendary talent. Our deepest condolences to the family and friends left behind by Mr. McConkey.. We sincerely pray that may his soul rest in peace.. You will surely be missed! Fly High Shane!

  4. 4 gpatton Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for being the first in catagories that didn’t exist before you. SV cries.

  5. 5 gringo Mar 27th, 2009 at 2:49 am

    I am at a loss. He was more of an influence on our sport than most will ever realize. RIP to a true pioneer

  6. 6 casimiro Mar 27th, 2009 at 7:49 am

    Sadly, it appears he was not able to deploy his chute. ESPN did a good job of getting the story early, but I’ve added a few more details at The Adventure Life (.org) thanks Scott Gaffney, a close friend of Shane’s. If you want to see more, there are maps and some excerpts from a great story Leslie Anthony did on Shane in Powder.

    Thanks, Rando.

  7. 7 randosteve Mar 27th, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Thanks Steve. Feeling pretty introspective as I arrive at the trail head today. Wondering what we can learn from this.

  8. 8 gmon Mar 27th, 2009 at 8:36 am

    we can learn that when you have a three your daughter, you might want to reconsider an occupation that involves base jumping. Shitty deal, but is it really a surprise. the odds get stretched pretty thin when you are reaching 700+ jumps.

  9. 9 gringo Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Gmon, He was a pioneer. Lets try and leave the holier than thou speculation until folks who cared about and or looked up to him are finished dealing….what do you say?

  10. 10 Dax Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    What a loss. That’s all I can say. Shane was a greaet person, both in the ski world and living everyday life.

  11. 11 scottishroscco Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    R.I.P shane, you were a true Inspiration to our sport, who inspired me and probably many other’s.

  12. 12 gmon Mar 27th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Gringo, fully agree, though was not trying to be “holier than thou”, just saddened for his family, and responding to the “what can we Learn” question, as the answer i think is “not much.”

  13. 13 Barne Mar 27th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Tragic…for all involved. He will not be forgotten. A Tahoe legend and a real nice guy.

  14. 14 LesArcsUnderground Mar 28th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    There is nothing to learn from an accident like this one. At least from our standpoint of non wingsuited BASE skiers

    We only have to remember to cherish life and enjoy it to its fullest everyday. Smile, enjoy the company of people who are special to us and remember good memories of the ones who left us so abruptly.

    To quote Jean-Marc Boivin, a late French skier and BASE jumper who died BASE jumping from Salto del Angel in 1990 : “To live, you have to risk”.

    My thoughts to his family and friends.

  15. 15 casimiro Mar 28th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    shane wouldn’t have been shane if he didn’t take extraordinary risks. several people close to him said to me, i’m surprised but not surprised. of course, he felt like he could manage those risks. i mean, we all do that, right? we make decisions about snow, terrain, backcountry partners and we know/assume that they’re within the margin of acceptable danger. few of us think “i might die, but it’s worth it”, we think we’ve locked it all down so there’s no way we’re going to screw up.

    every man makes his own decisions and i’m not going to judge shane. we wouldn’t be lauding him and lamenting his loss if he weren’t such a visionary risk-taker. but if there’s anything to be learned, i think it’s that each of us needs to consider how our loss or injury affects others. without question, when my kids came along i notched it down a little. not just generally, but specifically–i skied away from extra-dodgy lines, i turned down assignments where i might not be able to manage the risks, etc. i know other guys with kids who are comfortable pushing it more than i do and i’ve known some who were offered free heli-skiing and weren’t willing to get in a helicopter. everyone chooses their own path.

  16. 16 tyler Mar 28th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    god rest you shane never will forget the drop in at the palisades

  17. 17 dwilliams Mar 29th, 2009 at 6:17 am

    I think we need to remember how Shane lived and not dwell on the cicumstances that happened the day he passed. I knew Shane and know for a fact he influenced thousands of kids and adults both with his skiing and adventures but more importantly with his conduct as a human living by a simple mantra…”The Golden Rule”. He made people want to adventure and find courage in themselves no matter what level they decide to adventure at. Kids looked up to him and adults admired him for many reasons that go far deeper than skiing or flying. Stating you feel that he was irresponsible and provided a morbid fascination to the public means nothing to those of us who knew him…but you are entitled to your opinion. I agree with you about the saying,”he died doing what he loved”. Shane died just doing what he does and who he is. If he did not live the way he lived, well then he wouldn’t be Shane McConkey and we wouldn’t all be grieving. I support anyone who lives in the manner I mention and many days wish I could find a bit more of what Shane had to motivate me. It seems to me he lived with zest and motivation to seize the day. I can find only good in living like that.

  18. 18 J Patnode Nov 16th, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I too will remember my buddy Shane as an amazing person with a magnetic personality. I will cherish ski days together all around the world. Ill never forget our duel at copper mountain at the Bud Mogul Tour where shane kicked my ass to get first place, I was 3rd, but we were both on the podium together, YEA!!! Rest in peace my brother Shane…..

  19. 19 randosteve Nov 16th, 2010 at 7:45 am

    amen amigo.

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