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The snow was bulletproof, crusty, and sketchy. The skies were grey as fire crackers exploded next to the eagle atop McConkey's run at Squaw Valley, Calif. For some, it was survival. For some, it was a chance to shine. For everyone at Squaw Valley this weekend, it was a way to remember a legend: Shane McConkey.
McConkey passed away three years ago today in a ski-BASE jumping accident in Italy. This weekend marked the second annual Pain McShlonkey Classic, an event resurrected last year in McConkey's honor.
Sherry McConkley said, "It was once again so cool to see everyone get together and celebrate Shane. I am in shock by how amazing it all was. It was such a beautiful ode to his life and his legacy."
When the gun sounded at the top of KT-22, 40 or so skiers in the Chinese downhill slid down, some on their feet, some on their butts. As the Chinese Downhill winner Daron Rahlves put it, "The faster you go the better off you are. There's no point in checking your speed. It will only create problems on snowlerblades."
Competitors and visitors dawned gaper getups, saucer boy outfits and other costumes. From the Chinese downhill competitors moved to Enchanted Forest for the Small Mountain Invitational. To really paid homage to McConkey's legacy, Kyle O'Neill stashed a rope before the event, skied above Ice Goddess, retrieved the rope and rappeled off the cliff to the roar of spectators. Kristian Geissler went bigger then everyone with a snowlerblade air off Tombstone onto hardpack. While Jim Morrison showed his snowlerblade prowess by carving up the hill, dropping small chunks of granite and tumbling down.
"Shane was always about being silly and not caring what others thought of him," said O'Neill after his Small Mountain win. "By being a goofball and scheming up funny gimmicks makes everything more entertaining and fun to watch."