Welcome to the Porters Sports Blog. We will try to keep you up to date with our Lake Tahoe thoughts and also rants about other stuff too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We will Miss you Shane McConkey....RIP

Yesterday, March 26, 2009, Shane died while skiing in Italy. There are some technical aspects that are left out from this statement, and it does not touch upon the beauty of the Dolomites and the skiing we shared before the accident or Shane’s typical shining persona, full of adventure, humor and life experience.

We chose to ski off of a cliff with our wingsuits and fly them away from the cliff wall before opening our parachutes for landing. We skied and hiked off of the Pordoi cable car to a spot Shane had base jumped once before, in the summer. We spent a bunch of time preparing for the jump, building a kicker, helping each other gear up, and finally we were pleased and prepared and went for it.

Shane did a double back flip in perfect McConkey style. As planned, afterwards, he went to release his skis in order to fly away from the wall and safely deploy his parachute. This is where the jump went wrong. He was not able to release either of his skis. He remained focused on releasing them by reaching down towards his bindings. This put him into a spin/ tumble/ unstable falling style, that may have appeared out of his control, but in reality, Shane was not concerned about flying position or style; just concerned with reaching those skis so that he could get them off and fly or deploy his parachute. He succeeded in releasing both of skis and immediately transitioned into a perfect flying position; then he impacted the snow, and died at that moment.

The whole thing took place in about 12 seconds. Once he released the skis, he was immediately in control of the flight and would have only seen the ground and imminent impact for a tiny fraction of a second before he hit. Shane’s parachute did not malfunction; it was never deployed.

-jt Holmes
March 27, 2009

UPDATE - 3:37pm

So now an hour or so later, we've talked with some of his friends like Daron Rahlves and Michelle Parker as well as third-hand through Jay at Thin Air here in town who had talked with JT Holmes. JT was BASE jumping with Shane at the time and had gone first. JT said that he didn't see Shane's actual fall but knew something was terribly wrong with how the helicopters started diving back down to the earth. We've now confirmed through him too that supposedly a ski didn't release and/or released but got caught in the chute. Either way, it was a terrible fall to Shane's death as he spun out of control and never slowed his descent. Shane was truly a pioneer in big mountain skiing and BASE jumping and it's still mind boggling to think of him not being with us anymore. As was mentioned on TGR's website, it's a bit like saying that "Superman" had died as we've all grown accustomed to Shane's daredevil BASE leaps and mind-blowing skiing segments. Again we're truly devastated to not only lose such an influential person in our sport.....but a great guy too......

Go to ESPN as another source for those who need more possible closure from this tragic event.

Details are still very sketchy at this point, but just 10 minutes ago we got the word that Squaw Valley / Tahoe legend, big mountain skier extraordinaire, BASE jumper, lover of all things snow and adrenaline, and great family man - Shane McConkey - has died in Italy while BASE jumping. Supposedly a ski didn't eject and sent him into an uncontrolled spin that he couldn't recover from. Again, not sure of the details, but very, very sadly we have confirmed that Shane is no longer with us. Please take a moment to say a prayer for him and his family that he leaves behind. We're all in a state of shock here at Porters....

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Anonymous Anonymous
If you want to learn more, the Sierra Sun has a lot of quotes from friends and some details.
Anonymous Danielle DeWitt
Dear JT-

I don't know if you remember me from Tahoe but I saw this article and I wanted to send my thoughts to you and the rest of Shane's family and friends. I never knew either one of you well- but it is a horrible tragedy and I am so sorry you had to be there and loose your friend. -Danielle DeWitt
Blogger Segal
found this.
Blogger jeremy
Shane was my hero, I always wanted to ski like him. He influenced the way that I and all of us ski. Let us never forget the life he lived and the way he changed our sport forever. Thanks Shane.
Anonymous Anonymous
RIP Shane. You will be missed. <3
Anonymous Mad Dog
Mad Dog is the name and thanking Shane is the game, Shane we were just thanking you on Wednesday for getting all the rocker and reverse camber into the ski industry and pushing the ski design envelope. Thoughts and prayers with you and your family RIP from the shop boys and girls in Denver
Anonymous Anonymous
The news was devastating. Our hearts are very heavy.

In 2000, at the ages of 3 and 4, our two young sons, my wife and I became enamored with Squaw Valley. Today, they have been racing for 8 years and, in so doing our family has shared a small piece of the Squaw magic and our lives have been enhanced by the very many friendships that have resulted from our time there.

Part of the mountain's magic, part of the mystique and lore that drew us was created by the daring exploits and magic of Shane McConkey. It was always gratifying to be on a mountain 'shared' with legends like Julia Mancuso, Jonnie Mosely, Daron Rahlves (pre Sugar Bowl!) Tamara McKinney, Jeff Hamilton and the superhuman exploits of Shane McConkey. These people defined the mountain and we became forever 'hooked'.

At Christmas, 2006 I purchased a large photo from Keoki Flagg...In graphic black and white, it shows Shane on Eagle's Nest.It hangs by our fireplace in Tahoe Donner. Always an attention getter, it will now command new focus, a reminder of a terrific talent with what appeared to be a wonderful joy, living a big life. I know that looking at it will always cause a pause...of sadness...and admiration.

Shane, thank you for being a part of our lives. You did not know us, but we watched you and admired your talent. Godspeed. Blessings to you an your family.

Blogger Chappy
Al -

That was a genuinely heartfelt tribute to Shane. You, like a lot of other people, were influenced and inspired from afar more than Shane probably ever knew. Please visit his memorial website to find out how you can help his family and pay your respects...
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