Written and Directed by Rob Bruce, Scott Gaffney, Murray Wais, Steve Winter and David Zieff
Shane McConkey was a name unfamiliar to me, but I soon found out that he was a legend, hero, and driving force in the world of skiing. The documentary McConkey follows Shane’s life and captures his unique spirit while trying to convey what he meant to the people that surrounded him. His inspiring story that ends tragically and too soon is captured in a chronological documentation of his various endeavors throughout childhood and then professionally.
Always seeking the next thrill, Shane was a true adrenaline junkie with a knack for practical jokes. In addition to his humorous nature, Shane had a keen vision for ski design and his ingenuity revolutionized the industry. His positive energy and amazing determination made everyone around him fall in love with him. The directors joke that ‘Shane had too many best friends to count’ and the film showcases this aspect very well.
I was fortunate enough to attend the screening with some of my friends who knew Shane. They just kept reiterating how amazing Shane was and how much they missed him. One of my friends told me the story of how he got his skis stolen out of his car and when Shane heard about this he surprised him with a brand new pair of skis – no questions asked. This is the kind of man the world lost. This is why he is missed. His professional inspiration plays second fiddle to the inspiration people gained from just being around him.
The film is artfully shot and some of the scenery is purely breathtaking. It is quite fortunate for the filmmakers that Shane actually chronicled his whole life with home videos. It seems that Shane didn’t go anywhere without a camera. It wasn’t a question of acquiring footage, rather sifting through the thousands of hours of footage in order to show the world who Shane really was. The filmmakers succeed in giving the audience a glimpse into the life of a man who truly changed the world of skiing, but more importantly changed the lives of almost anyone who met him.