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Mar

28

2012

Strap On Your Snowlerblades

pain-mcshlonkey-squaw-david-carmazziA group photo finish at the Pain McShlonkey Classic. Note the Golden Saucer front and center. Photo by David CarmazziOn a windy Saturday morning in Squaw Valley, 30 competitors sporting snowlerblades lined up near the top of KT–22. Decked in leather, nylon, climbing ropes, and wigs, they dropped in for a no holds barred Chinese Downhill race to the bottom. It was the opening salvo of the second annual Pain McShlonkey Classic.

 

The PMS commemorates the legacy of Squaw local Shane McConkey, who died in a ski-BASE accident in 2009. McConkey pioneered fat, rockered skis, and was known for practical jokes and his hilarious alter ego, Saucer Boy. (Check out the trailer for a documentary on his life here.) This weekend, ski-related ridiculousness celebrated his memory with a cadre of talent ranging from amateurs to former U.S. Ski Team champions.

 

The masters of long-ski skills transferred nicely to the mix of classic Salomon snowblades, Big Feet, and even the odd pair of really short snowboards. World Cup veteran Daron Rahlves utilized years of quad-burning training on the Kitzbuhel downhill course to reach max snowblade speed. He beat a deep men’s field to the uphill finish line to secure the Golden Saucer, one of the most coveted trophies in skiing. After the Chinese Downhill wrapped, the Extreme Small Mountain competition kicked off. Competitors battled down a series of bulletproof couloirs and cliff drops, with local Kyle O’Neal rappelling down the 40-foot cliff face of Ice Goddess to secure the win. Professional big-mountain skier Rachel Burks won the women’s competition.

 

The après crowd gathered to take in the spectacle of a 80s costume contest followed by the awards ceremony. As disgruntled competitors marched on stage to chug beers in front of the deserving winners, it was clear no one was taking things very seriously. McConkey would have approved. —Ryan Dunfee

 

For more on the Pain McShlonkey Classic and the work of the Shane McConkey Foundation, visit shanemcconkey.org.


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