Sherry McConkey

Last winter,  I visited Sherry McConkey, the wife of the late Shane McConkey, at her Squaw Valley home. I had met Shane only casually, but his death in a ski-BASE accident in Italy in 2009 hit me like it did most skiers: profoundly.

So meeting and interviewing Shane’s widow (and meeting his adorable daughter, Ayla), needless to say, was both an incredible privilege and completely nerve-wracking. Before the interview, I asked my own mother - who has dealt with more than her fair share of tragedy - what kinds of questions I should ask Sherry. I was worried Sherry wouldn’t want to open up to a total stranger or she’d feel bothered by the personal nature of the questions I wanted to ask, questions about life with Shane and life without him.

But that wasn’t the case at all. Sherry welcomed me into her home with a sense of utter warmth, and we spoke for more than an hour over cups of tea. She was graceful and strong, and she spoke candidly and emotionally about the husband she loved and lost. The interview just ran on ESPN’s Freeskiing site. You can find it here. For more about Shane or to donate to Shane McConkey Foundation, click here.