The Canadian freeskiing pioneer and ski BASE jumper Shane McConkey died tragically in 2009, when his skis wouldn’t release during a double backflip cliff jump routine that he’d pulled a tonne of times before.
Ahead of the release of McConkey, a movie celebrating his life, his widow Sherry McConkey talks openly about his death, coping with the criticism of him as a father and how she wouldn’t stop their daughter Ayla BASE jumping if that was what she wanted to do (though she obviously hopes she won’t).
How did McConkey the film come about?
It was a group idea. I think one person mentioned it to me probably nine months after his death, then someone else mentioned it and it went from there.
Everyone knew he was such an amazing man who deserved a movie of his legacy, so when they approached me I said yes. I don’t think I knew it was going to be as big as this.
It’s been really long and hard but I knew in the end I’d be proud – and I am.
Do you think he’d have been proud?
Oh yes, it’s so him, the attention… He would be so stoked.
How does it feel for you? Like it’s a good way to honour him?
Yes that and I’d have felt like such a loser if I didn’t do it, say if someone else did it without my consent.
All you usually see of Shane is his funny side. This is why the movie is so cool. It has footage that he’d done of himself which explains how college was for him and how he dropped out.
Seeing it edited is so much more heartfelt than I’d have imagined. It’s stuff he talked to me about but seeing it in the documentary was…
He did more in his lifetime than anyone would do in ten lifetimes…
I mean everybody is lost in the beginning and doesn’t know where to go but that he had that in his life makes you realise that in life, if there’s anything you want, you should go for it.
He pulled through and did so much in his lifetime, more than anyone would do in ten lifetimes. So that, for me and for Ayla our daughter, is incredible.
For the rest of the world who criticised him and thought how could he do that being a father and a husband, it’s just like there you go. It’s an inspiring movie.