Hundreds of friends, family members and complete strangers came to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort to honor one of skiing's all-time greats.
Thirty-nine-year-old Shane McConkey was killed last month during a ski-base jump in Italy.
Ski patrollers wrapped up McConkey's memorial by honoring their fallen friend with a loud shelling atop the resort. Afterward, a group of mourners talked about a man who revolutionized his sport.
"I think he was an inspiration," said Mary Findler, who's children were close friends of McConkey.
"He was a great friend," said McConkey's friend "Blue." "And probably one of the greatest if not the greatest ever on skis."
But skill doesn't even begin to tell the story of one of skiing's ultimate characters.
"He was funny," said Franco Guida. "He was a crack up. He was unpretentious."
And friends say he loved playing practical jokes almost as much as he did ski-base jumping. Whether it was hiding his friend's wallet or making a ridiculous bet, Shane had a way of leaving just about everyone he came across with a smile.
"Everybody who got up to memorialize him said 'Shane was my best friend,'" said Pat Keane, who knew McConkey for 20 years. "And that's how everybody felt. Everybody loved Shane."
Although the loving husband and father was just 39, the videos of his stunts and the stories of his humor leave behind a lifetime's worth of memories of a man who died doing what he loved.
The McConkey family is accepting donations at:
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