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Posts Tagged ‘shane mcconkey’

Pain McShlonkey Classic 2012

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

WHO: Kevin O’Hara

WHAT: Pain McShlonkey Classic 2012

WHEN: March 23–24, 2012

WHERE: Squaw Valley

GEAR: Contour helmet cam, Smith helmet, ABS avalanche airbag pack, K2 snowlerblades

Three years ago, I was working as the manager for a photography company at Squaw Valley. Our office was in a corner of the Olympic House, within good proximity of the best food in the valley. I was leaving the office one evening, when my friend Alan, the proprietor of Northern Lights (the best soup and chili shack on both sides of the Mississippi), asked me, “Did you hear that Shane McConkey died today?” I had not. And honestly, at that time I was only mildly familiar with him. I knew he was a big hucker on skis, and I had read about him in the book “My Favorite Place,” but my familiarity with Shane was unexpectedly about to grow tenfold. I’m only sorry that it didn’t happen while he was still pulling ripcords and slashing huge lines.

News in the valley spreads quicker than in most podunk Midwestern towns. By the time I arrived for work the next day, the mood at the mountain was heavy, and the heft remained until well after Shane’s memorial service a week later. I found myself wondering why he was so important, and being that this was my second winter in Tahoe I knew I had some work to do getting up to speed with my facts. After reading some articles, hearing stories from locals, and watching some more ski flicks, it was pretty apparent who Shane was to the local ski community. He’d molded skiing into what we know it as today—comparable to how Elvis Presley rocked the music world into a new way of playing (and dancing). More importantly, Shane was funny. He hardly took himself seriously. Really, he was only serious about living fully.

Fast forward two years: I’m working here at TMS, I’m a WAY better skier, I feel settled in Tahoe, I know my bartenders as well as my high school buddies, I am fully familiar with GNAR, I have my favorite hot tub poach spots, along with all the other eccentricities of living in a mountain town. I’ve also learned a lot more about not taking myself too seriously. And what do you know, last year I qualified for the Chinese Downhill at the Pain McShlonkey Classic. An event coined from a little stunt Shane pulled with some buddies one night at Squaw. 30 pros and 30 amateurs were to go head to head (actually side by side) from the top of KT-22 to the bottom of Exhibition. The race, was a spectacular display of crashes, costumes, busted egos, cracked skis, and lots of laughs. One guy even ended up with a broken arm. By the end I was panting, bleeding, and grinning from ear to ear.

It was not only the Chinese Downhill that left an impression on me, but also the positive attitudes, the immense camaraderie and ability of everyone involved to let go of the seriousness of skiing. You could actually feel Shane’s influence on the entire event. I was so psyched to be a part of it that I wrote Sherry McConkey a short letter, and gave it to her after the awards, along with a big hug and a “thank you.”

This year I was invited to the spectacular “Moulin Rouge” themed Shane McConkey Legacy Gala, and I was also invited back as a VIP to compete in the Pain McShlonkey. I always assumed it was a once in a lifetime event, and I was stunned to get Sherry’s invitation. At the Gala, I re-introduced myself to her, and asked, “Do you remember me?” She smiled, “Of course I do.” Greeting me with another hug. I asked her why I was invited back. Sherry answered very simply that people who love Shane are what make the event, and that the whole weekend, for her, is about good friends. I am humbled.

What I have left with, after both years at the PMS Classic, is an endless positive feeling and “get after it” attitude that this group of people embraces. Shane had no hesitations with the amazing things he did, and he built an amazing world for himself. Every time, I feel a bit out of it, or down, I put on my Big Truck McConkey hat and I repeat to myself Shane’s line from the movie Claim: “Now ski down there and jump off something for crying out loud!”

So you wanna know the nitty gritty? How the race went down? I’ll leave that to the Contour video and the photos. I can’t wait to totally crush the competition in 2013!

See the TMS Facebook album and Kevin’s recap from last year’s Pain McShlonkey Classic for more photos and videos.

Contour ROAM Helmet Cam
Contour ROAM Helmet Cam
MSRP: $199.95
Smith Holt Helmet
Smith Holt Helmet
MSRP: $74.95

5 Under $50: Shane McConkey Style

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

This March 26th, Tahoe Mountain Sports’ own Kevin O’Hara will vie for the Golden Saucer at the Pain McSlonkey Classic, where he’ll flaunt his freestyle skills in the Extreme Snowlerblading Small Mountain Invitational, then look to crush the competition in the Snowlerblade Chinese Downhill. This is a contest of epic proportions, so we had to dedicate this month’s 5 Under $50 blog post to outfitting Kevin for the task at hand. We thought, WWSW, What Would Shane Wear, and came up with a few ideas, all under $50 of course:

1) ContourHD Mount $19.95

With the Who’s Who of Squaw Valley competing, nare a helmet will go without a camera. Everyone will be sure to capture that POV footage to dole out to sponsors and impress the world with the epicness that is snowlerblading. Though you can’t get the actual Contour helmet camera for under $50, you can buy a tricked-out rotating mount to best catch the action at any angle for just under $12.

2) Dakine Quick Tune $39.95, now on sale for $29.95

Going up against the likes of Daron Rahlves, JT Holmes, Jeremy Jones and the Gaffney brothers, Kevin needs his blades to be lightning fast. While other competitors have talked of using bacon grease and old race horses to concoct magic wax potions, we suggest that Kevin sticks with the standard tune to get his snowlerblades and saucer in top shape.

3) Dakine Tall Boy Hat $19.95

Nothing says Squaw Valley steez like a slouchy beanie. We’re thinking if Kevin throws one of these over his tousled hair, and grabs a tall boy to drink outside the Chammy, that maybe just maybe Debbie Dutton will let him buy her lunch.

4) Suncloud Standby Sunglasses $49.95

These sunglasses don’t just look good. They’re glare-fighting polarized machines. Kevin surely can’t let anything get in his way of the Golden Saucer, especially not any pesky late March sun.

5) Chinese Downhill Hat $34.95

Who needs the safety of a helmet when you can have the aerodynamic properties of a rice paddy hat? Kevin’s going to look ultra authentic in this as he crosses the finish line first on Saturday!

5 Under $50 is a monthly Tahoe Mountain Sports blog series dedicated to showcasing some of our more affordable products. Each month we pick a theme, then show you the gear.

TMS Says Goodbye to Shane McConkey

Friday, March 27th, 2009

We, along with the rest of the ski world, are saddened and sorry to hear of the death of one of skiing’s most vibrant, talented, and devoted athletes. His blog is a testament to the fact that he died doing what he loved. After watching his movies for years and finally moving to Lake Tahoe in 2001, I met Shane in 2003 at the Truckee Sports Exchange where I used to work a few years back. He came in and kept bringing used kids beat up snowboards to the counter. He then proceeded to tell us about all the experiments he was working on in ski designs and ski base jumping and how he was using the kids snowboards as test planks and as skis that he would not mind losing over a 400ft cliff jump when he had to pop his skis off in order to throw his chute. Obviously, we were simply in awe and were totally pumped to hear his stories. Now, ironically, that is one of the reasons for his passing. Tahoe Mountain Sports expresses our condolences to his wife and daughter and wishes them the best. Rest in peace Shane, you will be missed and remebered by many.

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