The Shane McConkey Award
This special award recognises an athlete who embodies free riding in the spirit that which the legendary Shane McConkey shared with the world during his inspiring 39 years of life.
Shane lived his life to the very edge, took risks, challenged himself but maintained a complete sense of goofiness as he did so. He adored his skiing and carved a fresh and exciting new approach to the sport he adored.
The World Heli Challenge celebrates this passion, drive and commitment and seeks to acknowledge the athletes who may not necessarily deliver perfect runs in the competition but who inspire and excite with their riding and their attitude. This award is about identifying those who blaze a new path, try something different, show fluidity, a sense of fun and keep their sport fresh and progressive.
The Shane McConkey Award will be awarded to athlete in the World Heli Challenge who best shows these qualities in the event and in their edit.
The prize is a week at Points North Heli Adventures in Cordova, high in Alaska filming with World Heli Challenge founder and director Tony “Harro” Harrington and experiencing the majestic Alaskan mountains and heli-ski buzz first-hand.
We think Shane would have absolutely loved it!
A bit about Shane McConkey…
Shane was cut from a unique cloth of extremely talented skiers and fun and eccentric personalities. Shane was born in Canada where his father, Jim McConkey, started the Whistler ski school. ?Shane was never physically huge or a bulky guy, so ski racing did not really suit him. Technique and drive could only take him so far. He had a knack for the back flip, for competition and for having fun. Something about having skis on his feet made a lot of sense, but he did not know exactly what that was. Shane simply followed this intangible comfort and spent his college years doing exactly what made sense: having fun, and ripping it up on the hill.
By 1993, Shane had won a Pro Mogul Tour event and his antics on the mountain, flipping, spinning and skiing where no one else would, landed him sponsorships with Spyder and Volant. Shortly thereafter, with an un-sanctioned backflip and a naked spread eagle his “HEY, look at me!! I’m-having-more-fun-on-the-snow-than-you-attitude” was born, and he never set foot at Vail, or in a mogul competition again. He was 24 years old, a college drop out (to his mother’s dismay) and hell bent on making a career in skiing. At that time, a career in skiing outside of mogul skiing or racing, was unheard of. Shane was on a completely unproven, untracked path. He was exactly where he belonged.
Shane made it. Blessed with amazing athletic ability, a creative mind, and a hilarious sense of humor, for over 15 years Shane and Saucer Boy performed for movie audiences, trade shows, magazines, and newspapers. During his career Shane was featured in 26 ski movies (and still counting). His skiing dropped jaws, and his humour made sides ache. The impact of his stardom was dwarfed only by that of his direct contributions to the sport of skiing through his non-traditional thinking and persistence.
It was Shane, who coined the term “Freeskiing”.
“I preached long and hard to everyone that this new movement in skiing we were all part of should be called freeskiing and not extreme skiing. Extreme skiing is a specific type of skiing and only one part of what we were doing. The term was not accurate. What we were doing was free form skiing, free of rules and most any kind of boundaries. Whether it was steep, extreme descents or new freestyle what we were doing was freeskiing, free to ski our own style on our own terms”
Find out more about Shane, his legacy and the work of the Shane McConkey Foundation here.