Now in its sixth year, this action packed on- and off-mountain event serves as a hilarious tribute to legendary skier Shane McConkey where the winner is crowned fastest snowblader on the planet.
Celebrated for his playful spirit, McConkey was the mastermind behind the original Pain McShlonkey Open that debuted in 2003. The event began as a behind-the-scenes late-night race between competitors at the 1998 Winter X Games and in 2010 the event took on new shape attracting top athletes from around the World.
Hosted by the Shane McConkey Foundation (SMF) the event has raised over $236,000 for local non-profits over the last four years. “The mission,” says SMF founder Sherry McConkey, “is to celebrate the life of a man who revolutionized the ski industry and kept us on the edge of our seats with laughter - and in doing so we can support causes that Shane cared about.”
The event kicks off on Saturday morning as 30 of the World’s top winter athletes take on 30 amateurs in an anything-goes Hot Dog-style Downhill. Amateurs earn their spot in the lineup by completing Random Awesome Deeds (RAD) and posting photos on the Shane McConkey Foundation Facebook page.
Contenders include everyone from Olympic Gold Medalists like Jonny Moseley to everyday Joe skiers and snowboarders. “Snowblades even the playing field a little bit,” says Sherry McConkey. “The pros have the natural advantage but we’re all rooting for the underdog,” she says. “With a very ‘loose’ rulebook, anything can happen.” The winner will take home the coveted Pain McShlonkey Golden Saucer trophy.
Later in the morning, competitors will put push their snowblade skills to the limits during the Backwards Snowblade Slalom. Olympian Julia Mancuso and Squaw Valley’s Michelle Parker are among the cast of celebrity judges who will help decide the winner of this wildly hilarious crowd favorite.
“The idea is to remind people not to take themselves too seriously,” says Sherry McConkey. “Shane constantly laughed at himself and taught others to do the same and that’s part of his legacy that we want to celebrate. The whole day is unpredictable,” she adds, “but in a feel good, all inclusive way.”
Next up is the PMS Costume Contest held alongside a huge raffle held on Squaw’s KT Base Bar Sun Deck.
After the on-mountain antics, transcend into the decade of prohibition for a 1920's Speakeasy-themed Shane McConkey Legacy Gala, held at the Squaw Valley Conference Center. This incredible fundraiser includes drinks, appetizers, entertainment and a live and silent auction.
Proceeds from the weekend will benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sierra Avalanche Center, The Shane McConkey Eco-Challenge, Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s environmental education programs and others.