Tag Archives: Dolomites

Shane McConkey – Dying To Fly

Shane McConkey 1969-2009 Dying To Fly

Fragment of story that appeared in the July/August 2009 issue of Men’s Journal, by Bill Gifford

Shane McConkey

Shane McConkey spent his life redefining what is possible on skis, and at age 39, he still went bigger than everyone else. But when he died in an over-the-top stunt on March 26, even devoted fans wondered: Have extreme athletes pushed too far?

That last morning, they rode the Sass Pordoi cable car to the summit. Deep in the Dolomite Alps of Italy, Sass Pordoi, at 9,685 feet, is more for tourists and hikers than for skiers; its table-like summit is almost completely ringed by cliffs. But Shane McConkey and JT Holmes had no interest in marked ski runs. They were there for the cliffs.
Clipping in, they skated across the plateau and skied down about 300 vertical feet before traversing a slanting ledge. The snow was firm, verging on icy, so they switched their skis for crampons. It had snowed during the night, and they had already managed to trigger a small slab avalanche, which slid away from under them and roared over the side, falling hundreds of feet. They paused to collect their wits, then kept going, reaching their destination just before 2 pm.
Shane McConkey had jumped this cliff before, in summer, and ski-BASE-ing it had been on his to-do list ever since. Now that he was pushing 40, he was checking items off that list as fast as he could.
To gauge the height of the cliff, they threw stones over the side and timed the drop. Eleven seconds later, Holmes heard one smack the scree field at the base. They guessed the cliff was about 1,400 feet tall, maybe more. Holmes remembers that the trees down in the valley looked really small, and he took comfort in that; it suggested they were high enough to pull off a stunt nobody else but them had ever done: a combined ski-wingsuit-BASE jump.

Continue reading Shane McConkey – Dying To Fly

On My Way

BASE jumping… it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
And the journey so far has been amazing.

On My Way: Jumping the Heavenly Pit in China, aerials in Thailand, wingsuit flight in the Dolomites & Switzerland…

“BASE jumping is a beautiful sport. It’s a respectful sport; we are respectful of each other and the environment in which we fly. It’s technical and often downright geeky.
And it’s taken me around the world, meeting some of the most inspirational, motivated, brilliant & humble people on the planet.”