Harro's Heroes Shane McConkey

snow action team 09.02.2017

For our final #TBT Harro’s Hero who better than the late great Shane Mcconkey who did so much to shape the future of skiing we are all enjoying now.

Shane McConkey’s first ski mag cover shot © Tony Harrington www.harroart.com

I shyly walked up to Shane McConkey back in the mid 90’s in the car park of Thompson Pass in Alaska and asked if I could do a run with him and take some photos.
He looked at me with a big smile and said,
“Sure, just buy me a heli lift chip”, grinning and knowing he’d at least get a free heli run in off the Berlin Wall, one of the legendary peaks in the Valdez region.
The sun had already gone down when the heli landed us at the top, and I banged out just 27 photos off a roll of 36 film before it got too dark. From this I scored his first ever two front covers (the first of which, shown above, I had the pleasure of choosing while editing another long defunct ski magazine at the time a few years before we launched Snow Action – Owain Price) , a couple of double page spreads, and ad images for his sponsors.
We regularly caught up in random places, and it was Shane who helped me to launch the skiing component of the NZ World Heli Challenge. I was shooting him BASE jumping in France when that same smile came across his face, just like the first time I met him, and he said that the Berlin Wall run was the most successful photo run he’d ever done.
A few weeks later he died when his parachute failed to open after a ski BASE jump in Italy.