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It all started with the Spatula. Made by now-defunct ski company Volant, it was the first rockered ski to hit the mainstream. It was the brainchild of ski pioneer Shane McConkey, a Volant athlete at the time. “The Spatula, at its time, was so far out of the box it was absurd,” says K2’s Global Brand Director, Jeff Mechura. “At first glance, there was absolutely no logic to it. But it got everyone thinking about skis on a different wavelength and got our own creative juices flowing again. We started asking What if? more. Shane was the poster boy for the youth movement challenging the conventional wisdom of an old-school ski industry.”
When McConkey joined the K2 team, they hatched plans for the Pontoon, a ski that would go on to gain cult status among powder skiers. “McConkey drove the development of the [Spatula-like] Pontoon from conception to production,” says Mechura. “There was no bigger voice in the room when it came to this project because nobody could really grasp how the ski would work except Shane.”
And there’s more: “What people didn’t know is that while Shane was playing the role of the quirky face of K2, he was sending us 2,000-word dissertations on the future of modern ski design. He changed the way we all think about skis.”
And this fall, in memory of the man who changed the way we all think about skis, the man who died last March in a tragic ski-BASE jumping accident, K2 is releasing a limited edition Shane McConkey Tribute ski. Approximately 500 pairs of the ski will be available at specialty dealers and on K2skis.com starting in October. All net proceeds of the sale of the skis will be donated to Shane’s memorial fund, which supports his wife and daughter. The graphics were inspired by Shane’s personality.
“Shane was a part of our K2 family,” says Mechura. “This ski is but one way to remember him and pay tribute to a legend of our sport.”
-Additional reporting by Rob Story.