SINCE HE BEGAN SKIING AT TWO YEARS old, Shane McConkey, now 35, has mastered everything from racing to skiercross to moguls, and he's brought it all together to create his own brand of big mountain skiing. He's appeared in at least 20 ski films, and in '96 he founded the nonprofit International Free Skiing Association. In 2003, inspired by James Bond stuntmen from the '70s, McConkey started ski-BASEing: skiing off cliffs, like the one atop 13,024-foot Eiger-and pulling a parachute.
ADDING A PARACHUTE made me look at big mountain lines totally differently. You're kind of like "Whoa. Instead of taking a left away from the exposure, I could head right, straight into it."
I'M JUST DOING WHAT I THINK is really fun. If the industry wants to embrace it and call it a step forward in big mountain skiing, then cool, that will prolong my career. But if not, then so what?
ALL THESE NEW RIPPERS come out who think they're the first ones to ever do something. There are assloads of old-timers who did everything first, and no one's ever heard of them.
YOU ASK THE KIDS, "What's next?" and the first thing they tell you is "style." I'll take balls over style any day of the week, just 'cause it's more fun.
I LOOK AT ALL THESE YOUNG KIDS trying to make it in the ski industry. I was in the same boat just a short while ago. The competition is fierce. So many people are so good. Any one of them could be the next big name. But it doesn't matter how good they are. Fuck, you gotta be lucky too. I think I'm pretty damn lucky.
I DON'T LIKE HAVING TO BRO-BRAH with people I don't want to bro-brah with at a bar. When I go out with my friends, I want to hang out with my friends.
"FUCK IT, JUST HUCK IT, DUDE." I'm a hedonist. Have as much fun as you possibly can, and quit thinking so much.
RIGHT AFTER YOU FINISH pointing it and you get up to about 30 miles an hour and your skis plane out on top and you start to accelerate and you know you can start turning in powder: That's the moment.