Shane McConkey Extreme Athlete | Not Afraid of Dying, but of Not Living Fully

Shane McConkey, extreme skier, base-jumper, wingsuit

Shane McConkey always wanted to make people laugh

By chance, or rather synchronicity, I tuned in to a documentary about Shane McConkey, an American skier whose style was so over-the-top, that he continually raised the bar in the extremes he displayed in his maneuvers. Skiing down narrow shoots, performing multiple somersaults off cliffs more often than not, was eventually replaced with base jumping. Naturally, when wingsuit flying was introduced because of the technology of fabrics, he was all over it.

His father had been a professional skier, whose involvement in his own pursuits impelled him to follow this path rather than that of remaining with his family.

Shane McConkey surprising the audience skiing naked in a slalom race

Shane McConkey surprising the audience skiing bottomless in a slalom race

Endlessly, Shane was clowning; doing all sorts of stunts to make people laugh. He was continually the life and light of whatever event. Such as competing with other contestants in a slalom race, with no pants on.

Wherever he’d arrive to ski, he’d blow people away with his graceful and daring ski jumps and runs. Throughout his career he had multiple injuries; broken bones and dislocations.

He changed the face of skiing;

both in the maneuvers he pulled off and in his designs. He came up with the concept of the fatter ski, now the standard. He also designed ski boots.

A movie is coming out documenting his life. Here’s the trailer.

Watching the documentaries about his life, one follows his path to the most majestic mountains and glorious terrain; witnessing in awe his spectacular feats. The quest of Shane and his buddies was to seek out extraordinary heights and challenges worldwide. They traveled the globe to the most venerable peaks to plot the cliffs they would jump off; in the States, Norway, Italy, South America, Asia and the Arctic circle…

Majestic peaks in view with one of Shane McConkey's ventures

Majestic peaks in view with one of Shane McConkey’s ventures

Shane proceeded to do this in more and more complex ways: combining skiing while wearing a wingsuit – launching off cliffs – doing multiple somersaults  – then sailing the cliff like a bird before deploying the parachute. It’s phenomenal to see how much courage he had. Talk about squeezing every last drop out of seeking the ultimate experiences in life!

Quoting his friend, “People like Shane and I are not afraid of death, we’re more afraid of not living fully.

Shane McConkey, BIG Air

Shane McConkey getting BIG Air


Shane McConkey extreme sport athlete Wingsuit jumping

Shane McConkey extreme sport athlete Wingsuit jumping

If was when he was performing a ski jump – wingsuit maneuver in the Dolomites in Italy on March 26, 2009, that he died. Though he’d already performed this successfully multiple times, he had technical difficulties when the skis didn’t release from the bindings properly. He had executed a double back-flip and when the skis didn’t properly eject, it sent him into a spin. Though he did manage to manually release the skis; moving at 110 mph, by the time he had ejected them he was already too close to the ground when the parachute opened.

The feature I saw was on the cable station “Animal Planet”. The link below is a comprehensive article about his life.

Shane McConkey Extreme Skier, Basejumper, Wingsuit diver

Shane_McConkey Extreme Skier, Basejumper, Wingsuit diver