Ski Legend Shane McConkey Dies in BASE Jump Mishap
Ski legend Shane McConkey died today while shooting a ski movie with Matchstick Films in Italy.
According to ESPN, McConkey died during a ski-BASE jump mishap, in which one of his skis failed to release after the cliff drop in the Dolomites.
Reps for Matchstick didn't go into detail regarding how McConkey died, but backcountry and big-air skiing are inherently dangerous sports, and both are heavily featured in Matchstick's movies. Among their most famous are Claim and the Shaun White snowboard feature For Right or Wrong.
Shane McConkey's father, Jim McConkey, is a legendary skier as well: he founded the Whistler Ski School has a run named after him at Whistler Blackcomb.
“He was a larger than life personality,” Gaffney continued. “He was one of the most gifted individuals you’ll ever meet, and one hell of a friend who never let who he was in the media’s eyes change him.”
Matchstick Productions, the film company for whom he 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. It’s also a fine line to walk ... But that’s how he wanted to live; it’s what made him happy.
A member of the Red Bull Air Force and pioneer of the ski-BASE-ing phenomenon, McConkey experienced problems in the air after launching off a cliff with the expectation of deploying his parachute canopy and then gliding down to the ground—as he had done successfully some 700-plus times before.