Shane McConkey, Legendary dare-devil skier, died ski-BASE jumping in Italy. McConkey, from Squaw Valley, Calif., was ski-BASE jumping in the Italian Dolomites Thursday, March 26, when his ski failed to release, getting caught in his parachute and sending him into an uncontrollable spin. McConkey died on impact with the snow on the ground.
McConkey was filming with Matchstick Productions and Red Bull at the time. After double-backflipping off the cliff, McConkey was meant to release his bindings in the air, then fly off in his wing suit.
Filmmaker and close friend, Scott Gaffney, told ESPN Action Sports: "But one ski did not come off. And when that happens, the drag on the skis causes you to flip over, so the skis go over your head. Then he got into a bad spin. You can't throw the pilot chute like that; if you throw it while you're upside down and it wraps around the ski, you're done."
It is thought the cliff was at least 400 feet high. McConkey had successfully performed some 700 ski-BASE jumps in the past, including one off The Eiger, and had won numerous awards and competitions and has starred in numerous extreme skiing films. McConkey, 39, is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their three-year-old daughter, Ayla.
Ski-BASE jumping first became popular with extreme skiers when Rick Sylvester skied off the cliff of Canada's Mount Asgard and popped his parachute for the beginning sequence of the James Bond thriller, "The Spy Who Loved Me."