There are not many opportunities to see pro skiers like Timy Dutton and JT Holmes hold hands. Or Robb Gaffney blow a horn before hucking himself off a cliff. Or some of Squaw’s most notorious skiers tackling each other as Cody Townsend emerges from the bottom of the pile with a golden saucer — all of this while wearing snowlerblades. The Pain McShlonkey Classic is just one of those rare moments, and the debauchery is back this weekend at Squaw Valley.

‘We don’t have to be so serious all the time,’ said Sherry McConkey, who organized the event in celebration of her late husband, Shane McConkey. ‘We can break out and look like idiots and have fun doing it.’

In its second year, the Pain McShlonkey Classic will feature a Chinese Downhill and Small Mountain Invitational, as well as the Shane McConkey Legacy Gala, costume contest, and after party. The weekend celebrates the lasting spirit and legacy of Shane McConkey, who forever changed skiing and yet never took things so seriously that he couldn’t laugh at himself.


‘The whole thing is Shane’s attitude,’ Sherry said. ‘Take the serious out of life. Be funny. Be yourself. Just enjoy and stop worrying what people think of you … It’s about absolutely having fun and laughing at yourself.’

Moonshine Ink caught up with a few of the standout performers from last year’s Pain McShlonkey Classic — Squaw skier Mat Jackson, Robb Gaffney, and the snowlerblader who took home the Golden Saucer, Cody Townsend.

Moonshine Ink: Tall and Fat, or short and skinny? How do you prefer your skis — excuse me, snowlerblades?
Mat Jackson: I like my snowlerblades tall and fat — the wider the better.
Robb Gaffney: I actually like them short and fat. A bit of taper on the ends helps reduce swing weight for turning in demanding situations, like 2-foot wide chutes. The tighter the chute, the better. That’s what small skis are made for.
Cody Townsend: I don’t discriminate on any physical feature of my… skis.

MI: What’s your strategy for choosing the biggest little line and/or knocking out your foe in the downhill?
Jackson: Cheating
Gaffney: Last year I wanted to try and knock out Daron Rahlves. But then he knocked himself out by straight-lining into a huge hole he couldn’t see. That was handy for the rest of us. I think my strategy will continue to be to let the fast guys knock themselves out and then laugh on my way by.
Townsend: Strategy? I just go down there and do it. You’re either a natural on snowlerblades or your toe-hooking onto your face.

MI: Shane McConkey/Pain McShlonkey — Who is your alter ego?
Jackson: Yuya Takeshita
Gaffney: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Whoever I am in the contest is who I truly am.
Townsend: Barry McKochner

MI: So seriously though, why do you love the Pain McShlonkey Classic?
Jackson: Shane inspired me to quit racing, ski powder, and ultimately move to Squaw Valley. It’s an honor to strap on snowlerblades for a day and send it for one of my heroes!
Gaffney: It is Sherry’s baby. She created it from scratch and the event represents who she truly is. She is one funny, classy gal — really.
Townsend: It represents all that Shane McConkey was. It’s centered on being goofy, looking stupid, and making sure to always have fun.


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