Michelle Parker: Professional Skier

Michelle Parker: Professional Skier

I used to follow Shane and Gaffney and those guys around Squaw before I knew them that well. I don’t know if you could consider them the Squaw Gods, but they definitely were the icons that I wanted to be.

I met Shane right when I was starting to talk to K2. K2’s Mike Gutt asked me to do a photoshoot with the team, and Shane was the only person on the team I hadn’t met. I was nervous and got all shaky, but then I met him and was like, “Damn, you’re the raddest guy in the world, and I don’t have to worry about being nervous.” I was blown away with how nice and down-to-Earth he was.

Shane had a profound effect on Squaw, and on Tahoe in general. When the Spatula came out, there were so many people on that ski. That was the ski to have.

In the ski industry, there are athletes I look up to for their athletic ability and there are athletes I look up to as all-encompassing good human beings. Shane had both of those attributes.

He reached a lot of different levels of skiers. Old people, young people, everyone. I don’t think a park shredder from the East Coast would have any trouble watching There’s Something About McConkey and enjoying it all the way though.

Shane was the guy you wanted to sit next to at a meal. The person you wanted to ride up the chairlift with. He made you laugh. He enjoyed what he did, and was definitely a happy person. You knew if you were with Shane, you weren’t going to be bummed. One thing that sticks out in my mind is hitting him in the balls during the last MSP shoot. We were at Squaw and discussing different ways to claim. We thought, “What if Shane claims and I hit him in the balls and then I claim?” I was shy about hitting him in the balls, but he was like, “No watch!” and just started hitting himself in the balls really hard. He was hilarious and that made me laugh a lot.

Shane had a thirst for life. He lived life to the fullest, in every moment. If anything, his passing makes me more motivated to go out there, to have his legacy live on through me and through other skiers. Hell, I might ski off the Palisades naked, who knows?


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