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Remembering McConkey: Over a Decade Later, and the World Still Misses Saucer Boy

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Shane McConkey left a bigger mark on skiing than any other athlete has to date — this video reflects on one of the most powerful influences the sport has ever known.

He’s been called many things over the years — the greatest skier of all time, a pioneer, an icon, Saucer Boy, Cliff Huckstable, Shane McConkey.

No matter what you remember him as, everybody remembers McConkey and his wild, untamed passion for pushing skiing to the next level. He’d send huge cliffs wearing nothing but his skis and boots. He invented reverse sidecuts and reverse camber skis. He gave birth to the iconic character Saucer Boy.

And he pioneered the sport of ski-BASE jumping, which was how the legend finally met his untimely end.

An Immortal Icon: Shane McConkey

Shane McConkey; (photo/Matchstick Productions)
Shane McConkey; (photo/Matchstick Productions)

Eerily, this video opens with McConkey reading from an old essay he wrote in middle school. The teacher had tasked their students with a somewhat morbid assignment: Write what you’d do with your life if you only had a month to live.

“The first thing I’d do is find someone who could take me skydiving a few times. Then I’d go to Europe to a huge mountain where I could go helicopter skiing in waist-high powder. I’d also go cliff jumping off lots of huge 40-foot cliffs and land into nice soft powder,” the young McConkey had written.

“There are probably many other things I’d do, but right now, I can’t think of them, and up to my death, I would just keep doing fun things.”

McConkey got to do all of that in his life and so much more. Sadly, he still had a lot left to accomplish when he died. During a ski-BASE jump in the Italian Dolomites, one of his skis failed to detach and sent him spiraling out of control. He was unable to deploy his parachute in time.

This video remembers Shane McConkey as the wild, lovable misfit, adventurer, and adrenaline junkie that he was. And it shows how much he was loved by his friends and the ski community. Few have left a mark on the sport as McConkey did.

Runtime: 12 minutes

Shane McConkey Memorials at Burning Man 2009

Skier Shane McConkey, who died earlier this year, was remembered at Burning Man 2009. Read more…

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