Was Shane McConkey bored? Or was he just being Shane? When he created the self-proclaimed "stupendously stupid" Pain McShlonkey Open at Squaw last April, it was probably all of the above. Five bucks was all it took to sign up for the three-event moron-athon that included a Switch GS race, Sliding Small Air (on plastic saucers), and the Snowlerblade Chinese Downhill.
"At first, I didn't know what the turnout was going to be like," McConkey said. "But then people kept showing up, and we even had to turn a few away."
The 50 brave and foolish competitors included big-name freeskiers like Aaron McGovern and Shane Anderson (registered under aliases way too filthy to be printed here). A pack of McShlonkey Security Guards (course marshals) kept the herd in line throughout the day, sort of. They were unable to catch a poacher who snuck his way onto the Switch GS course-where competitors raced backward through an abbreviated set of gates. Professional sledders flew in from Vermont for the Small Air competition, which was won by Shawn Sullivan, who threw a Misty 540 on Snowlerblades and landed on a saucer taped to his butt.
The closing event was the 3.5-mile Chinese Downhill on Squaw's Mountain Run. Horrified Bay Area families looked on as 50 sweaty bodies wearing ridiculous costumes all sprinted on Snowlerblades through spring mush in this no-rules spectacle of an event.
"I've broken every bone in my body skiing," said Shane Anderson, after falling on the Chinese Downhill, "but I've never had a more painful wipe-out than that one."