Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't Try This on Your Own

My heart dropped when I visited the Outside Online blog and read the latest post. I thought my eyes were deceiving me--after all it was late and I was tired--when I read of yet another accident involving yet another famous name while skiing. This time the skiing world mourns the loss of one of its own, and a name to reckon with when it comes to ski movies, Shane McConkey. The crew was filming in the Italian Dolomites when it happened on March 26.

McConkey, 39, was ski-BASing for a new Matchstick Productions film when the accident occurred. He had trouble ejecting out of one of his skis when performing the ski-BASE stunt--ski off a cliff, eject from your skis using hand levers and pop open a parachute--which caused an uncontrollable spin he couldn't break out of. According to the Outside story and ESPN, it's not entirely clear as to how it happened, if the chute got wrapped around the ski, how the skis wouldn't eject and if airflow around the attached ski contributed to the spin. The Red Bull athlete has performed the stunt several times before--he's even photographed above ski-BASing outside the Silver Legacy hotel casino in Reno, Nev.--just this time something decided to go wrong.

Not that I didn't respect the stunts he performed on two skis before when watching my yearly round of ski movies, but I'll have an even greater appreciation for them next time I see him flying through the air. McConkey did things on skis that some of us can only dream of--or would rather put in the hands of the professional, especially since they make it look so fluid and effortless. And I can't think of anyone who didn't respect McConkey and what he did for extreme skiing. Photo grabbed from RenoTahoe at flickr. Posted by Kate



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