24th August 2017

Speech

Why Shane McConkey was the most influential free ride skier.

Gaffney’s numerical assessment of radness or G.N.A.R, wide powder skis, and skiing a line butt naked while talking to your mum on your phone. None of this would have happened without the legend, Shane McConkey.
Shane McConkey was a professional big mountain skier and base jumper. He realized that the sport had veered away from the original purpose of having fun, instead gone towards a professional and elitist sport. To counter this, Shane stripped completely naked and skied the professional mogul course in front of a crowd of thousands. Needless to say he was banned from Vale, Colorado for life.

 

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The Game of GNAR started off as a stupid game between Shane and his friends but it steadily became an international phenomenon in the ski scene. The basis of the game was to have as much fun as possible whilst skiing some of the most technically lines in the world. Each line was given a certain number of points, but you can earn extra by throwing tricks or doing one of the Extra credits points. Example of such Extra credit points are, skiing Butt naked, talking to your mum on the phone while skiing, telling a stranger that you’re the best skier on the mountain. The list goes on and on. The more Shane laughed at something the more likely it would be added to the game. Shane had a quote which states, “If youre getting rad, but there is no one there to see it, are you really getting rad?”. This is pretty much the reason that on any day of the week at Squaw Valley you could hear a radness yell or see pole wacking. The idea of these to things was to generate the largest crowd you could. Shane loved the idea of having an audience and making people laugh. This lead to him embracing butt naked skiing. Could you imagine skiing completely naked in front of 50 people or more? It was nothing more than a walk in the park for Shane.

Shane was able to use the Game of GNAR as a platform for numerous ski movies which in turn gathered the attention of thousands of people. Pro athletes and amateur skiers were hooked into what he did. He bought hundreds of people to his home town of Squaw Valley, California generating thousands of dollars worth of income for the small community. Without Shane, Squaw would never have become the multi million dollar resort that it is today.

Shane McConkey made huge improvements on the technology of skis themselves. Previously most skis were super thin and wooden. Shane had been looking for something better that could glide straight over the snow. So naturally he decided to strap a pair of water skis to his ski boots and drop one of the gnarliest lines in Alaska. They worked perfectly. Within weeks all major ski companies had prototype “powder” skis under production. Another thing created by Shane, which had a huge influence on modern skiing.

Unfortunately Shane died in a horrific base jumping accident in 2009. i can say without a doubt, that even though his life was cut short, in the 40 years he was alive he did more for the sport of big mountain skiing than any other athlete. Can you name a more influential or pioneering professional skier? No you can’t. Cause there are none.

 

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