In memory of Steve McKinney...

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captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 10, 2007 - 11:17am PT
I would like to take this moment to remember and honor Steve McKinney, whom was my best friend and who was also the good friend to many of the people on this forum. It was on this day November 10th-(1990) that Stevie ventured onto the next dimension... For many of us it was a very hard time and difficult to comprehend, as this guy was as tough as they came, he survived helicopter crashes, hangglider crashes, high speed crashes on skis, and a really bad climbing fall where he broke his back in 3 places and shattered his wrist and elbow... yet he would always come back and surprise us all and pull off the unbelievable again. We're not talking any ordinary person here, this boy had the right stuff and he was as strong as they came, he was loved by all and had a magnetic personality that oozed with brilliance, and had an air about him that stopped most in their tracks with awe when he walked by. Stevie was possibly one of the most naturally strongest people I have ever seen, I watched him almost rip Burtons arm off in an arm wrestling match, and he did the same with John Riggins of the Washington Redskins, yet he never worked out a day in his life. The boy set five world speed skiing records, was the first person to fly an hangglider off Everest, went on many climbs in the Himalaya and did a few big wall climbs with Burton and I and never batted an eye, he was a warrior in the true sense, and he's heavily missed not only by me, but by all who knew him. Anyway, without going overboard which I could easily do, I'll let some of you make some comments and maybe tell a few stories.

Below are a few photos I think some of you will like seeing. Two are photos when he flew off of Everest's North face with an hangglider in 1986, and one was when we were doing the ski mountaineering trip around Lake Tahoe in 1978. In that photo are McKinney, Dick Dorworth, myself, Otis Kantz, Tim Tilton and Bill McKinley.

In Jimmy Hendrix's words... "I'll see you in the next world and don't be late" here's to you my brother, you had a good ride and you did well-






McKinney, Dick Dorworth, myself, Otis Kantz, Tim Tilton and Bill McKinley.


McKinney & Dorworth on Lovers Leap...



bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Nov 10, 2007 - 11:25am PT
Let's here some Steve stories. One of my favorites is how he tried to perfect his aerodynamic technique for setting speed skiing records by clicking into his boards on top of a ski rack on a car and going 100+ mph down the road. The first ghetto wind tunnel.

Bruce
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Nov 10, 2007 - 12:19pm PT
For me Steve was my first brush with a world recognized record holding athlete. Just standing in the same group absorbing his energy was almost too much for an unworthy teenager. Even Bridwell as he told me of Steve McKinney’s exploits assigned him legendary status. When he would follow us around the boulders he would become just one of the guys and that really grounded the group in a fashion that made us feel all equal.

Always a treat Craig when you guys would show up in the valley.

Good thoughts deserved on this anniversary.

Mike
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 10, 2007 - 01:34pm PT
I met him once maybe twice, heard him tell some good stories with a sincere and infectious enthusiasm.
He did have an unmistakable charisma, Catherine Cullinane was smitten with him for awhile there, and as well she should have been.
Lean, wiry and ready to strike, the dude had an aura like a romanticized gunslinger, slipped through a crack in time.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2007 - 03:05pm PT
Thanks you guys, you got Stevie right on all accounts. Just so you know, he was always heavily impressed and inspired by you guys, and talked about all of you as if you were super human by the way you moved on the stone, we were both always in awe with you guys, you always made everything look so easy that it was hard for us to conceive as being real, especially after we gave it a go, it was at this time we found out it was not so easy, but then again, you guys were the masters, what can I say... The spirit and brotherhood everyone shared during this time was one of the things that I think shined the brightest.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2007 - 04:49pm PT
Yes, Kath... its hard to believe that 17 yrs has gone by already since that tragic day, as it seems like it was only yesterday. As the old saying goes, time waits for no one, in this case that reality couldn't be any more true.
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 10, 2007 - 08:34pm PT
Thanks so much hermano Craig for posting this tribute up. I remember that terrible day so clearly, standing with Bridwell amidst about 500 people at the CityRock grand opening. Steve was driving up to Sacramento and then was supposed to join us the next day. We got the call about the accident and hopped in the car, arriving at the hospital about an hour after he died.

But so many better memories, times in the trailer park, times in the valley. When as an eighteen year old, for a small period I let myself get sucked into the Tahoe blow scene, Steve one night took me aside, grabbed my shoulders, looked me in the eye and said you are way too smart for this sh#t Peter. I took it to heart and moved back to Yos, met Lynda, became a dad etc.

He was a force of nature, and I miss him.

Peter
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Nov 10, 2007 - 08:53pm PT
I think that was Mr. Sylvester.
At least he was the one on thr front page of the SF Chronicle doing that, never saw the poster.
WBraun

climber
Nov 10, 2007 - 09:21pm PT
So one day Steve gets Bridwell and Bardini into his porsche carrera and they do 100 mph down Chapel straight away. Then around towards Camp 4 over the Lower Yosemite falls bridge with all 4 wheels off the ground going over the bridge ..... hehehe.

First time I see Steve.

Squaw Valley, KT-22 with Bridwell. Bridwell says Steve's on his way down "Let's wait."

It's the worst breakable crust snow and I'm fighting hard to keep from breaking my leg on this sh'it.

Here comes Steve. Fuk! WTF was that that just went by at Mach 6?

Bridwell gives that Bridwell classic smile. "That was Steve"

I was blown off the face of the earth .....
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 10, 2007 - 10:29pm PT
I like your anecdote Peter.
I was gonnah say all you Too High guys could, at first blush, be kinda' scary, except skinny Mayfield.
DHike

climber
Nov 11, 2007 - 12:02am PT
For so many of us younger skiers, Steve WAS the Ski-God of Squaw.
An enlightened buddah of the steep and fast, who claimed when once asked if he saw god on one of his speed runs, Steve's reply, "I passed him on the way down".

No one had the vision and daring to ski the lines out of the Palisades that Steve and the posse first pioneered. We looked up to them, wanted to ski like them, wanted to know them.

No one had ever straightlined 'Xtra Chute' or hucked huge out of the 'box', only to sink into a deep tuck on the run out and hit the warp factor button, like Steve. We used to be in awe at the sight.

I think it was Steve, in regards to Werner's post, that actually coined the term 'crud skiing', summoning all the skill, strength and talent to make those kinds of worst conditions 'fun', on a pair of Atomic 225's, later, becoming a rite of passage for the younger KT crew. Today, it's easy on the fats.

It was Steve and the posse who were the first real American 'freeskiers' of the ski world, before the term even existed. The freedom to seek out all the challenges the mountains had to offer, on skis, other than just chasing sticks on a perfectly prepared course, or on a pair of really short skis like the Euros.

I finally met Steve around the late '80's, while working at one of the local ski shops. An imposing figure, legendary for sure, but always polite and encouraging to the young neophyte skier. I was always so stoked to be able to fetch his skis from the back after a fresh tune-up, or rivet a new buckle on a boot, later to tell some of my friends up on the Palisades that I 'knew' McKinney. An inspiration to all of us wanna be's as well as such up and coming talent in the 'extreme' ski world like Scot Schmidt, Glen Plake, Tom Day and Kevin Andrews.

The day I finally got to ski in his presence was, well, awesome. We were hiking up to the Palisades, the first group off the chair as soon as they turned the sign. Halfway up, and this being a pretty short hike, almost running, we were sucking air, determined to still be first. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Steve appears, taking one step for every two of ours, passes us, and on the way, all casual, not a sign of increased breathing says, 'Hey Dan, thanks for fixing my boot, see you up there." BAM, instant cred in front of the crew.
Granted this is after his broken back too, he waited for us, gave us some beta at the top, dropped in, and was gone. Later that day, in KT liftline, just before he got on the chair, Steve sees me and said, 'you guys shredded that". That was it, my chest puffed out, head snapped up, Steve McKinney saw me ski the Palisades and complimented me on it! Holy Sh#t! What was unusual is that Steve never stopped, always doing non-stoppers, top to bottom. Why he stopped and watched is beyond me, but somehow he did and stoked a younger skier so much, that I still do it, McKinney style, top to bottom, non-stoppers, mach-schnell, to this day. Only not on 225's, though I still have a pair of DH race boards I haven't parted that were a direct inspiration in using 'off piste', because of Steve.

Steve's exploits and the tales made the media and the industry take notice too. Outside of what was becoming a dying sport of way too many dudes in stretch pants, smacking gates, Steve made freeskiing credible and eventually marketable. We all skied on racing skis, in part, because McKinney proved, racing skis worked well off the course too.

Thank you captain chaos, for this rememberence, we are all still saddened by the loss of this icon of the ski world.

God speed, Steve McKinney, I am grateful to you for showing us how it's done.

Dan

captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2007 - 03:11am PT
Just got up (I'm 9 hrs ahead of you guys) and was pleasantly surprised to see all the new posts... all of your stories bring a smile to my face and warm my heart, as you managed to put in words Stevie's spirit, and defined his extraordinary ability on skis that the ski world does not see too often. For those in the know, Stevie took the ski world by a storm, and Werner's and DHike's stories tell why, he was on another level, at times it seemed that he was from another planet, at least it seemed that way sometimes as he was able to ski some of the lousiest nastiest conditions as if it was prefect spring snow, Werner's description of the shitz crust snow day on KT-22 defined this well. Peter, I remember that night perfectly, like you I got to the hospital too late, when you and Brid came to Chuck's house (where we went after the hospital in Sac) it was a blessing in disguise, you guys were shelter from the storm for me... Steve's loss was felt around the world, yet his legend lives on, this is clear by all of the posts that have been made here. I thank all of you for the kind words and stories, you don't know how good it makes me feel to hear your stories about Stevie. Crowley, Billy was a ski patrolman in Colorado, he may had gone to a small speed race one time or another, but that would have been about it. Tamara is in Squaw raising her daughter Francisca, the next generation of a probable super skier. Again, thanks to all of you for your kind words, your all great- Craig


PS
That was Sillyvestor who skied off of El Cap with an parachute, one of the original base jumpers, he later did the same thing off of Asgard for a James Bond film...
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2007 - 06:00am PT
OK, knowing Stevie was mostly known for being the king of Speed Skiing and not having Speed Skiing pictures of him for this tribute makes it incomplete. Problem is all the Speed Skiing photos I have of him are not with me at this time, and so to put some of the essence of speed into this tribute, I did find a picture of Speed Skiing, but its of me at the World Championships in Silverton Colo entering the time warp, and so it will have to do until I can get my hands on one of the master himself. If any of you happen to have one, please feel free to post it up. I am also including some other photos I think some of you will appreciate.



Speed track in Les Arcs France


Some of the Tahoe gang at Fermins Mexican restaurant in Truckee, in the photo are left side: Sherman, Kim Schmitz, Bridwell, myself, Loonie & Dick Dorworth on the right side are Crazy Carl, Steve McKinney, Fritz, Paul Buschmann & Galen Rowell.

Pretty wild group to say the least, when the waitress saw all us walk in she turned pale white. Fermins was well known for powerful Margaritas and well this gang drank the stuff like water and of course we were all known by Fermin and the waitress for having our share of fun, and the results were well... lets just say we had to leave a big tip. Anyway, here's to Galen & Stevie, may you guys be doing some wild adventures together out there in the perimeter... your brother- Craig




Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 11, 2007 - 08:59am PT
Thanks for the photos Craig! I saw and spoke with Carl just last thursday. Crazy no longer, he has been sober for many years now. We both volunteer for Truckee Watershed Council, and spend some time counting bugs under a microscope. He is really knowledgable about aquatic insects, though he is starting to protest more consistantly about the need to kill them to assess stream health.

I have reconnected with Paul Bushman as well, he is a new enthusiast to nordic racing. His kids got into it, now he is too.

What is Steve's son up to?

Peter
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2007 - 09:17am PT
Ciao Peter, your right about Carl, he did quite the sauce quite sometime ago... good thing too as he always got carried away. Its good to hear your seeing him, and Bushy as well, the guy is an animal. Stevie's boy Stefan was living in Truckee, but is currently with Tommy Simons, I think he's living near Napa? Good to see your words on Stevie, he really liked you and had the utmost respect for all of you guys. We will probably be heading over next summer, I'll let you know when so we can connect. Until then you take care, tu hermano- Craig
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 11, 2007 - 05:20pm PT
I was in Sweden visiting inlaws several years back. We went skiing at a fairly remote ski area called Tandadalen. I think this was not long after Steve's death. While there, I was amazed to see a framed news clip about Steve McKinney having set the speed record on the Tandadalen hill. Made me proud that an american had put it up.

Didn't they cover his speed skiing a few times on Wide World of Sports?
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2007 - 05:56pm PT
Yes, Wide World of Sports did cover one of the races, it was the one in Cervinia Italy. There were many of the races televised throughout the years that were aired on different networks. The Tandadalen race in Sweden was one of our mini races, if I remember right, we hit around 182 kph there. It was a small hill and they built a big ramp to start from, and we only used a 10 meter timing trap to amp up the speed some, on the record tracks we had to use a 100 meter long timing trap. Anyway, thanks for bringing that race and memory back, the mini races were fun and we always good times at them, the Swedish girls were quite nice to us as well.
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 11, 2007 - 08:21pm PT
Swedish girls offer the same huge untapped potential as heli skiing in the Himalayas.

Fine lines everywhere you look....
Strongerdog

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 11, 2007 - 08:25pm PT
In the Les Arcs photo above, wasn't the track normally located in the center chute? When did they move it to the shoulder?
WBraun

climber
Nov 11, 2007 - 08:42pm PT
So Craig?

What's that place in Tahoe were I went with everyone and there's peanut shells all over the floor.

And everyone at the table doesn't get up to go piss in the toilet.

They pee in the beer pitchers and pass em to the waitresses.

The waitresses seemed to know this was normal because it was happening all night long and there was never a protest.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 11, 2007 - 09:17pm PT
hey there captianchaos, sorry to hear of the loss of friends, even though it was long ago--these losses are never forgotten...

say, there peter... so very wonderful to know that such a friend had made such a dramatic change in your life--and--led to lynda and the whole works...

thanks for all these many shares conerning the honor of your friend's name....
Mimi

climber
Nov 11, 2007 - 10:45pm PT
I never met Steve but do remember watching his sister. After reading these posts and doing some research tonight, I found another nice description of him that echoes what his friends already know. It's easy to see, Craig and those who knew Steve, why 11/10 is unfortunately a marked date in your lives.

Excerpt:
McKinney, from Reno, was the Steve McQueen of speed skiing. With his blond, flowing, lion’s mane of hair, and sharp, fine-boned features, McKinney cut a dashing figure on skis. His younger sister, Tamara, was a three-time U.S. Olympian and 1983 World Cup champion. He was dubbed the “High Priest of Speed Skiing,” and for good reason, as he introduced rubberized suits and aerodynamic helmets to the sport.

While most men carry about them a feeble incandescence, McKinney radiated sheer magnetism. He skied around the length of Lake Tahoe before there was a Tahoe Rim Trail. He hang-glided off Mount Everest.

“Steve was probably the most important speed skier who ever lived,” (Dick) Dorworth says. “He marked it more than anyone. He was special.

Dorworth’s voice grew quiet. In 1990, while sleeping in his car on the side of Interstate 5 in Northern California, a drunk driver slammed into the back of McKinney’s car and killed him. He was 36 years old.

“He was a beautiful man,” Dorworth says. “He had that ability to dig deeper than other people, not only in terms of athletics, but in his relationships in trying to see what was true and what was not. He was a real seeker.”


Entire article:
http://rgj.p2ionline.com/magazine/ss/index.aspx?adgroupid=33269&webstoryid=8183776&articleID=8183775&adid=1257835&type=art&&menu=43
WBraun

climber
Nov 11, 2007 - 10:57pm PT
Well one day Steve gave me a pair of 220 long board downhill racing skis.

I was so blown away for that generosity. And on top of it Steve and Craig both taught me so much how to be crazy at high speed and still keep it together.

You guys rock!!!!!

Then Steve and all his US team buddies and a host of others kept their skis in my room at Mammoth mountain. One day the head guy there walks by my room and sees some 30 or more racing skis in my room.

He asks me if I'm the guy ripping off all the skis on the mountain.
Mimi

climber
Nov 11, 2007 - 11:00pm PT
You are always getting into trouble like that, WB. LOL!
taorock

Trad climber
Okanogan, WA
Nov 11, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
That photo of speed skiing from Silverton brought back memories. I was on the Silverton SAR back in the late 80's and we provided some services for those events. Crazy stuff. I remember one person's ski going through their visor (during a fall) and causing a major bleed. Being right next to the course gave me great respect for the SPEED!

I also thought that the slope groomer was hanging it out as well ;). That terrain was steep. Are these event still happening in the States?

My respects to Steve may he rest in peace and to his friends.

tetonhack

Social climber
jackson wy
Nov 12, 2007 - 12:13am PT
I remember Kim Schmitz telling me a Mckinney story. Steve had just set the world speed skiing record and had money, fancy new car etc. They were partying at Squaw and Steve decided to let Kim drive his new car (bad decision). Kim lost it on the way down and rolled the car and both were pinned inside. Kim said he could just smell the scent of the new car smell because of the ripped up interior and the tape deck just kept repeating "she's got Betty Davis eyes". I think they both walked away. One of many for both.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 12, 2007 - 12:55am PT
Craig, as you know I never really knew Steve, but through guys like you and Dick I got a glimpse of his incandescent arc. I remember talking with you about staying within the "egg", or bubble while on the track. Any part of the body creeps outside tyhat zone and down you go! You told me Steve had taught you to think that way. Remember the speed skiis you gave to me, that I was always going to join you at one of the contests on? One of my life's regrets is that I never got around to melding with Steve, you and the others on that esoteric zen-search to exceed the speed of free-fall while wearing a pair of long boards and skimming down a 45-degree slope of ice, staying within the bubble.

But do I remember a day at Mammoth, with you, McKinney and me, bump skiing at high speed on those long skis? My memories are somehow deficient. But Dorworth has always been a mentor, Steve an inspiration and you a great if infrequently in contact brother-in-arms.

-Jeff
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2007 - 11:21am PT
Jeff, Stevie and I were always hoping to see you join us for a few rides, for sure you would have had a good time, by the way, did you ever get to take those boards out for a spin? I don't know if you have been watching the World Cup races but Cerro's daughter is kicking ass, she's winning lots of races, picked up an Olympic gold at the last games in Italy, and is scoring wins in all four events... Also, that photo of Stevie and Dorworth was taken by Joe Bryan somewhere around 78, every time I see that photo I think about him again... which is good as Joe was a good guy and friend. Do you ever hear from Cactus anymore? Next time you come to Europa, stop by and visit, we have a room with your name on it waiting for you, it would be good to see you again me hermano-

Funny story Werner with all the skis in your room, those were some great times ripping it up with you, we have to do it again... like I said, I have big quiver of boards and boots... so if that will get you back on the boards again, let me know and I'll send you some stuff out. The bar you were talking about if I remember right was the bar at Tahoe House? Brid & Dale were Hobart technicians there (dish washers) is that the one your talking about? Brid had a girlfriend who was working there as well, nice looking one if I remember right.

Thanks Mimi for digging that story up, its a good compliment to Stevie's persona, he had many admirers which is apparent just from the comments being posted here.

Tetonhack... funny you mentioned the story about the car crash, as I realized I didn't add it in when I mentioned some of the beatings Stevie survived, as this one was as good as any of them, both Stevie and Kim used up one of their nine lives on that one. Your story was pretty close, to what happened... The actual story is they were coming back from the east side of the sierras from a preparation climb for the 83 Everest expd. on the north side. Stevie just got a new Datsun 4 x 4 truck that week, and like you said made the mistake of letting Kim drive, because as you know, Kim is a disaster when it comes to driving, the odds when he gets behind the wheel are 50/50 that he'll crash, well maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but probably not by much. Anyway, they were coming down from Conway summit on 395 heading towards Bridgeport at the bottom of the hill there's this corner which normally is not a problem, but with Kim behind the wheel anything can happen, and it did... from what they told me they hit some ice going into the corner and began a sideways slide, and then hit a dry part of the road and which launched them into a roll? and from there were launched off into the wild blue yonder doing rolls in the air and landed out in the middle of the field upside down, luckily both ducked just before they landed which obviously saved them as the cab of the truck was flattened to the bed level, somehow they managed to crawl out and walked away pretty much unscathed.

Taorock... cool to hear you were one of the guys helping out in Silverton, that was quite a wild race, and the location added to it. I remember that crash, blood everywhere... it always made me a bit queasy watching people explode before you were to make your run... not the most encouraging thing to have to witness when its your turn next. I remember this one time at a race in France, I think 5 or 6 people exploded in front of us, they would scrap them off the track the chopper would come in and take them away and the next guy would go down and it would happen all over again. It was raining and snowing, and I remember looking up at Stevie and said what the hell are we doing here, this is completely insane, you know were going to push ourselves too far one of these days, and that's going to be it... think we should say something? Stevie looks at me and say naaa... these guys were destined to blow up anyway, we'll be just fine, beside it will be interesting to see what this is going to be like in these winds... and it was. The top of the track was protected from the winds, when you came out into the wind exposed area you were going around 120, when I entered this area I got hit by a crosswind and got blown sideways and off the track, I had one ski go out and was now behind my head, I'm one ski heading for a boulder about 70 high and 100 ft wide basically it would be a cartoon type splat, except not so funny when its you who's going to splat. I don't know how, but I made a high speed crude turn on one ski and got back onto the track got my ski back under me dove back into my tuck and held on with everything I had. I got to the bottom and Stevie looked up at me and said what the hell you doing up there man this ain't no freestyle event, I looked up and said four words, time for the bar... Surprisingly enough I was 3rd on that run, whew... the things we used to do.

Last but not least, Stongerdog your right the track in Les Arcs has been changed, the old one was always getting taken out by slides, and so they put a bunch of dough together and carved this one out. To date and recently I might add, two racers have died just sitting at the top of the track waiting for their run. They somehow slipped (without skis on) and took of down the steep icy face which is bumped out and didn't stop until the bottom. That's the down side of the slippery suits we wear for this event, when you go down you can slide forever.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Nov 12, 2007 - 04:01pm PT
Is Steve the guy reffered to in the Bird's book, in the story where they do impossibly scary skiing (60' airborne, etc) in Taos or somewhere, then poach shiprock?
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2007 - 04:47pm PT
Yes, Jaybro... that was him- they had an epic on Shiprock, if I remember right Brid almost got the chop getting off the thing, can't remember the details now though.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 13, 2007 - 06:11pm PT
So, Steve bounced back really fast, went from that broken back to breaking the world speed record in something like 4-6 months. One day he told me the secret of that recovery: Accupuncture. Not just accupuncture, but electronic acupuncture. The needles went in his back, and then they applied juice to them. The accupunturist gets him all stuck and wired up, and she's very reassuring. He notices her adjust the current, then she leaves. The minute she's gone, Steve reaches around and cranks it!
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 12:55pm PT
Doug... good to see you here, I was wondering if you were going to jump in and tell a Stevie story, as I knew you had a few... Anyway, its been awhile since our last connection, I hope all's well- Craig
scuffy b

climber
The deck above the 5
Nov 14, 2007 - 01:30pm PT
I heard a report of him skiing the Mountaineer's Route on Whitney
late Spring, maybe Memorial Day, slush knee deep or worse,
on 250s.
I think it was the year of skiing dozens of volcanoes up and down
the Cascades and Andes.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 03:03pm PT
Scuffy B- The longest skis Steve would have used to ski any of those peaks would have been 220's. For speed skiing we used 240's, but that was the longest ski made and allowed for the event. Speed skis were made for going straight not for turning, although we could and did, we would have never used those things for something like that, they were also very heavy, as were the 220's which we skied on a lot in those days. We humped those things up peaks all over the Sierra's while wearing our alpine ski racing boots, not exactly in line with the light is right philosophy.

Kath, I don't know about using Red banks as a pro jump, but we certainly went in on that side with some heat. For many years in a row we would go up there every spring and ski that mystical mountain. Unfortunately we never got to see any of those guys who supposedly live inside the mountain, did you ever see them?
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 03:35pm PT
He didn't poke his head out and take a look? I know of several similar stories where friends of mine out in the middle of nowhere heard foot steps outside the tent, but when they looked, no one was there. They laid it down, and it would begin all over again, they would look outside the tent again and still no one was around, strange... some say it was a ghost, yikes... Buschmann and I had something very big walking down on us (stalking us) out in the middle of the Andes one night. We were hiking up to ski a big old peak outside the Portillo ski area at the far end of the lake in the middle of the night, about halfway up I noticed some snow coming down on us, afterwards we heard footsteps that were in sequence with the falling snow. When we stopped it would stop, when we began walking again, it began walking and the snow would start coming down on us again. We did this a few times, and then decided to high tail it out of there, we put our skis on and hit Mach I back to the hotel where Stevie was have a pretty wild experience. Long story, but a good one...

captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 03:45pm PT
Yes, there are some strange things going on out there, maybe we need to start another thread on the paranormal, as I have a few wild stories that happened to me and many of my friends, some of the wilder ones directly involve Stevie. One in particular which I'm certain played a major role to his exit.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 04:32pm PT
OK, but its late here, and so it will have to be tomorrow, as these things will take time to get down in words, some are lengthy stories and complex and they deserve the time spent to get them right.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 04:42pm PT
by the way and off subject... we just got 2 ft of the white fluffy at home and probably 5 to 6 ft up high in the last 24 hours... nice start to our winter, hope it keeps it up and also moves east towards those little mountains called the Himalaya.
unimog

climber
windy corner in the west
Nov 14, 2007 - 04:52pm PT
Hi Captain
Ware are you thes days

Sasha montagu
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2007 - 05:13pm PT
Here-


and within walking distance to this-

golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
Nov 14, 2007 - 07:23pm PT
Capt. Chaos, are you the guy that posted those ski pics in the Himalaya a while back? Pretty damn fine.

I never knew Steve but did follow his ski racing career as I ski raced myself eons ago. But I sucked. Now I live vicariously through my kids racing...Sad that such adventurous individuals are taken from us so needlessly...
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 15, 2007 - 01:32am PT
This list is missing two records Stevie set in Portillo Chile in 1977 & 78. It was in 78 that he first broke 200 kph, if I remember right it was 200.222 kph. Also, there was no race in Cervinia in 77 the Italian's cancelled it, but Stevie did set a record in Portillo in 77 and then one in 1978 in Cervinia, it was 198.0?? kph. Anyway, since the Italians cancelled the race in 77 McKinney, Buschmann and Kalavev Hakkinen and I went to Portillo knowing Dorworth set a record there at one time, others were to show up but they didn't, although they all did in 78. The track Dorworth used had a huge boulder field in the run out area and so we found a new track and pretty much handled the entire track preparation on our own in 77, needless to say it was a bumpy ride. In the end Stevie set a record on that track in 77 and 78. In total he set 5 records, two records in Cervinia (74 & 78), two in Portillo (77 & 78)and one in Les Arcs in 82.
brodix

climber
Maryland
Nov 15, 2007 - 05:47pm PT
/Users/johnmerryman/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Modified/2007/Roll 2/DSC_0081.JPG

My sister send me a link to this thread. I'm a cousin of Stevie's from back east. His mother and mine were sisters. I don't have much to add in the way of stories, as most of his exploits were repeated through his sisters in Kentucky and the ones that come to mind have already been covered. The family grew up between Lexington in the summers and Tahoe in the winters. Horses and sking. They would come east for a few weeks in the summer, as kids and I passed through Tahoe in the late 70's. Other then that, he would stop through every few years. If this picture posts, that's his mother behind him. It was taken about '85.

Oh, well. The picture didn't go through. I know more about horses then computers. See who I can email it to....
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2007 - 02:38pm PT
Yes Rolling Stone did do an article on Steve, and all of us involved in Speed Skiing at the time, if I remember right it was in 78. The writer Ed Zuckerman stayed with us for a couple weeks, we took him climbing at Lovers Leap and many other things (no snow to take him skiing though) and for a thanks he wrote things about us that the ski companies didn't like, think 78, think Lake Tahoe which was similar to Aspen in those days and you can imagine what the guy wrote about. They did the same thing to Bridwell a few years later, the title was The Bad boy of Climbing, or something like that. Stevie and I warned Brid about it, but he didn't listen and made the same mistake as us and let the guy in on things we wished to keep private. C'est le vie...
brodix

climber
Maryland
Nov 16, 2007 - 05:17pm PT
Let's see if this works;


When you die, I figure you get smeared out across the universe, rather then just pop up somewhere else. Stevie had us all beat. That why he didn't need to wait around.
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Nov 16, 2007 - 05:48pm PT
Nice to see the photo, Thanks
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2007 - 05:58pm PT
Good to see it worked John... my best wishes to you and your family- Craig
Fletcher Wilson

Trad climber
New Hampshire
Nov 18, 2007 - 01:58pm PT
I am posting this message with a heavy heart. I knew and loved Steve. He is my true love and I have been feeling him near, in my dreams, next to me at the end of the bed, walking close up my mountain with me and definitly in my heart.I spoke to my very dear friend this morning to find him also knowing Steve is near with a sadness in his heart. Somehow he watches over us and his son Stephen. I know he would want all his friends to keep his son close and share with him the love of the man who gave us all a part of him and in return give back a piece of yourself. Fletcher Wilson wrote a poem on the day of his celebration of life and he wanted me to share it with all of you.

From: KT

"I had a friend, he was one of a kind
Strongest of body, strongest of mind
He always looked beyond the door
And always felt he could do more
Always a smile and always kind
he showed me things he would find
He would teach me all the lessons he learned
And tell me things he yearned
He had his dreams and most came true
But now it's up to you
Now it's time to rise above
To pull together all our love
Listen hard and try to hear it
The message left by his great spirit
To always help your fellow man
Carry on the best you can
For if we try I know somehow
We will find a way to make him proud"

By Fletch

captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2007 - 02:48pm PT
Karen... is that you? Craig
Fletcher Wilson

Trad climber
New Hampshire
Nov 18, 2007 - 03:01pm PT
Yes, it is me. Hello Craig.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 18, 2007 - 03:23pm PT
Nice surprise Karen... I'll send you an e-mail if the one you listed here works- Craig
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 19, 2007 - 11:36pm PT
Hey Craig -- big thanks brother for starting this thread. Glad to hear you are still living the Alpine life. Of course you're right, I have a few more McKinney stories after living a winter at his place, and here are some:

A blown VW engine led me to Steve McKinney. Mid 1970s, not sure what year. Time was fluid then. Claudia Axcell and I had been nosing along the western approaches to the Wind Rivers hoping to find a cabin to winter in, maybe a fishing lodge to caretake. But we looked too much like California hippies, got snubbed by cowboys and turned west. Spent my 30th birthday at the City of Rocks; we were the only ones there. My yellow ’58 Bus drove us down long dirt roads toward Wells, Nevada. Goose Creek and Duck Creek were shocking emerald oases meandering through low sage hills. They still seem like some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

With a good Nevada ramble going, we crossed Interstate 80 to get back on gravel running between the eastern scarp of the Ruby Mountains and another lush expanse, the Ruby Marshes full of birds. The old Pony Express route took us onto a sketchier road west over Overland Pass. Down in the Huntington Valley it got weird. This old stage road ran through intense dust wallows. The finest silt like glacial till puddled up bone dry in low spots. Maybe thirty feet long and up to 8” deep. I had to get out and walk them like checking a stream crossing before gunning the old 36 horse engine and fishtailing through. Well we made it past several of those wallows, but the engine finally choked on silt and threw a bearing.

Now my John Muir (sic) Complete Idiot’s Guide to VW repair counseled that the first thing you should do when it breaks down is “get in back and ball your old lady.” Unfortunately, the bus would still run, a little. Fortunately, Claudia knew this guy living at a ranch at Steamboat, over toward Reno. So we limped west at 15 mph, max, with the little engine clanking and whining. It was a long ride at Pony Express speed to finally pull up in the yard of Steve McKinney.

With typical graciousness Steve welcomed us to his spread that had the whitewashed corrals of a former “horse property.” I pulled the engine and began scattering parts across the floor of a tack shed, but first we had to smoke a joint in the house and get to know each other. Steve was towering and lanky, restless with energy. Yet at the center of him was an amazingly calm. His piercing blue eyes would settle on you really curious, just hungry to suck wisdom out of you that maybe you’d forgotten you carried. And he was kind. Of course we could stay.

The rebuild dragged on and I went to work in a Reno ski shop to pay for it. An itinerant medical student named Louie showed up to live in our loft room. We pushed the bus parts aside, put in a wood stove, fixed up the tack shed and settled in for the winter.

One morning in the dim grey of first light a battered pickup with New Mexico plates pulled into the yard. I stumbled out of the tack shed pulling on my pants to see two big Indians dragging gunny sacks out of the back. Slit the sewn top and Peyote buttons poured out onto the floor. Fresh ones. We sat with paring knives at the fussy task of cutting out little tufts of white hairs that held most of the strychnine. Like cutting the eyes out of a potato, only the buttons were tougher, more fibrous. Then into the blender, crawl away to barf anyway, and the fresh day began to shimmer.

What could be more natural? I wandered out the back to get to know these new surroundings. We were half way between Reno and Carson City. The Post Office down off 395 said Steamboat, but the hot springs that lent the name were a mile away, steam escaping from rundown buildings. It seemed seedy and I never got a close look. West of us a creek ran out of the first ridges of the Sierra, enfolding an old mine. An apple orchard was going to seed, bordered by a wall of river stones.

Steve drove out mornings to go skiing. Often to Squaw Valley, where his family had another house. Bridwell was patrolling up there. Sometimes to the closer lifts this side of the Lake at Mt. Rose and Slide Mountain. Tagging along one day I quickly got schooled in world-class skiing. Now I had been around hot skiers for years. My partner skiing 250 miles of the Sierra Crest was Carl "Peanut" McCoy, a downhill specialist and alternate to the Men’s National Team. And I had lived awhile with Heidi Holmes, who ran second in downhill at the Junior Nationals.

None of that prepared me for the sheer power of Steve McKinney on skis. Here was the main face of a good sized ski area, and the full width of it was diced into the square bumps from a lot of skiers hacking around on the new short skis we disdained. Steve launched it in a huge arc that took in the whole run. The rest of us were picking our way through the bumps, but Steve just set a major trajectory without even looking at the bumps. It seemed like he was skimming right over the tops of them. I looked closer. Those steel-spring legs were actually pressing in and out of the hollows at warp speed, but so fast that at first you didn’t see it, seduced instead by the rock-steady arc of his upper body, serenely on course. I’ve never seen such power applied to snow with such grace, before or since.

Peter Markel was a Buddhist living with us. One morning he and Steve were up early and drove off into the storm. Three feet of fresh at Mt. Rose and they went east under the ropes. Peter was first into the steep gully and what he said about it later was, “The first two turns were worth it.” The second turn kicked off a good big slide, which sucked Peter down hundreds of feet and slammed him into some already shaking trees. His upper arm went right across a trunk and snapped. Steve skied down the debris, put Peter over his shoulder and broke trail out to the road. That was their only choice: call the patrol out of bounds, lose your pass. It was an adrenaline pumping haul for Steve.

Meanwhile the storm had settled down into the Valley and freezing rain turned 395 into a skating rink. Steve was driving Peter’s VW van toward the ER. Peter was sitting shotgun holding his broken Humerus, a pretty unusual and serious fracture, when he looked up to watch a semi coming toward them begin to lose it and drift into their lane. Watching it come at them, Peter’s thought was, “I can’t wait for the day that makes up for this one.” They got sideswiped pretty hard, putting the van out of commission. Minutes later Steve is working with the cops and there’s no ambulance so Peter folds his considerable frame into a tiny Triumph Spitfire for the ride to the ER.

Five minutes later I happened by on my way to work. Steve was OK so I hustled after Peter. He was all wrapped in blankets but shivering so violently he banged the steel table. I walked in and took his hand. Suddenly the color returned to his face and the shaking stopped. I’ve never seen such a dramatic leap out of shock. And all it took was lending a friendly hand.

Steve’s speed skis banged around the living room, and it was interesting to flex them and imagine how they worked to keep that abbreviated tip down on the snow or the ice at the speeds that were just edging past terminal velocity. Those skis are now on display, along with Snowshoe Thompson’s mailbag, at the cool ski museum up on Donner Summit.

The helmet was always underfoot too. It had twin fins that arose off the back of the head and got bigger as they ran down toward the upper back. Steve said that once sucked into as tight a tuck as possible, he could steer just a bit with those fins. The helmet was as big an advance as those new speed suits. A lot of respect went down for Dick Dorworth, who not so many years before had maxed out the record to as fast as a round helmet could go. Steve also said that the biggest danger was getting a hand just started away from the tuck, and demonstrated how the hundred plus mph wind pushing on a hand would have enough force to completely uncoil a tuck and blow up the run. His scariest moments were beginning to lose a hand, feeling the disaster start and using huge core strength and maybe a dose of that arm wrestling power to pull it back in.

The famous shot of him being carried on the shoulders of the crowd after his first record run at Cervinia was on the wall. Steve glanced at it and said, “That was pretty intense. I was on acid for the run and peaking right there in that picture.”

Steve’s girlfriend Linda really was almost too beautiful to believe. Also high maintenance at times, though Steve might have been too. Anyway, the house was pretty intense when they got into it. Amazingly high flow was the rule most of the time, which was remarkable if you thought about all the diverse intense people thrown in together seemingly at random though of course there was really little random about it. We attributed it to Jung who after studying the I Ching coined the word Synchronicity and who near the end of his life remarked at a dinner party: “This is the magic circle; here only the right guests meet”

Come spring Peter went to New Mexico, Louie moved on to a med school in the Caribbean, and I took Steve south to Bishop to ski on some bigger peaks. One day we tracked Basin Mountain with Tommy Simons, another speed skier. The overcooked corn was thick, deep and so wet you threw a rooster tail. Shroomin and inspired by the company I found myself skiing way faster than I actually could control, with my toes curled under as if to grip the skis and maintain a sense of...well, maintaining. That’s when I noticed a very large very solid granite boulder right in my trajectory. Adjusting my course without pulling an egg roll felt as delicate and as proud as pulling an escaped hand back into a tuck at warp speed.

When sage finally trumped snow we fell over laughing and Tommy jumped up on a rock, flapped his arms and cackled, “It’s a wild mountain GOOSE day!”
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 19, 2007 - 11:56pm PT
Doug, you still write about those days like no other. Except Dorworth brings it back like that, too. You guys are my mentors. Thanks for the Steve stories.

-PsychedelicJello
WBraun

climber
Nov 20, 2007 - 12:01am PT
Hey Dr

That was fuking awesome. Just fuking awesome.

I felt I was right there reliving some of those days.

Carl McCoy was "Peanut" right?

Thanks man for taking the time to write ..........
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 20, 2007 - 12:11am PT
Thanks, both you guys. Got up at 3:00 this morning and couldn't wait to write about Steve some more. On a writing roll lately, and so inspired by Craig's thread to round out more word on this way Intenso Man.

Yeah Werner, you right. Now why didn't I think to just say "Peanut"? Story goes that when he first popped out his grandpa took one look and said, "That's not a kid, that's a peanut!" Guy never had a chance...
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2007 - 03:05am PT
Great story Doug, you brought back some great memories... every single one was spot on, you have managed to express the spirit, energy and magic of those times perfectly, simply put its the best recollection of those times and Stevie's spirit that I have ever seen, I can't thank you enough for that. I will print out a copy and keep it close to me so I can read it from time to time to remember our very special and gifted friend, and those great and magical times. The part you quoted from Jung described the circle of friends during those times perfectly... “This is the magic circle; here only the right guests meet” all of you guys were these guests and what a great time it was, I would change nothing... with a big heartfelt smile- Craig
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Nov 20, 2007 - 12:02pm PT
Thanks, Craig, for starting this. It is always a pleasure to remember Steve and to communicate with you. And it is wonderful to be reminded of old friends.....Steve, Kim, Carl, Doug, Claudia, Heidi, Galen, P-Nut, Jim, Linda, and so many others. The first time I met Steve he was in a bassinet at Sky Tavern Ski Area where his mother was teaching skiing. The last time I saw him was at the Squeeze Inn in Truckee where we had breakfast in the company of both his son and mine, less than a month before Steve died. In between were many miles, turns, climbs, conversations, adventures, good times, bad times, some craziness and much joy. He was a great friend and we are all fortunate to have had him in our lives. William Faulkner's truism comes to mind: "The past isn't dead, it isn't even past."....Yeti
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 20, 2007 - 12:38pm PT
Dick.. so glad to see you here, as you know you played a major role in Stevie's and my lives, you guided us along with great care and knowledge of the things you knew well, and had the insight to know we were heading straight into these things with no looking back... Thank you for being there for us, you've been a lifelong inspiration, tu fratello- Craig
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 20, 2007 - 01:03pm PT
Real nice read there DR,
So full of life’s texture.
And while the sum is greater than its parts (much greater), these were nice parts:

-Time was fluid then

-“I can’t wait for the day that makes up for this one.”
Felix St. Clair-Renard

Social climber
Sweden
Nov 25, 2007 - 08:55am PT
First time I met Stevie was in Portllo 1978. Of the many things I remember from one crazy week was when I noticed that he had no gloves before he started on this run that became the first over 200 km/t and the new world speed record. I asked him why he was skiing bare-handed on a pretty radical slope with course summer snow that really can make a mess of your skin and he just told me that falling wasn't something he had planned on he's run.

Quite a few years later I skied with Stevie and Tamara in Chamonix after a nice storm and we realized the snow wasn't very stable and abandoned the line we wanted to ski and turned down a bit earlier than we had planned. We got a very nice run and after Stevie gave me a little stone eagle as a souvenir and told me it was he's favorite symbol that also protected him. After our run we found out that some skiers just behind us had taken the line we decided to skip and two of them got killed by an avalanche.

I'll never forget that first week with speedskiing in Chile and the epic bus ride back to Santiago after the race with all the amazing characters that I met and I ended up following the speed circuit for years and made a bunch of friends of which there are some that I had lots of fun with. Terry Watts that I shared room with is also tragically gone but with Craig, aka Captain Chaos, I still spend many nice moments every winter in Chamonix.



Double D

climber
Nov 26, 2007 - 08:21pm PT
Stevie was an incredible guy. Thanks for the memorial Craig. I know you really helped him through some tough times…a model friend.

I still can hear his infectious laugh…a bit like Goofy. He was such a blast to hang with. I remember one afternoon in the trailer park we started riding his unicycle which soon turned into a competition of obstacle courses which we carried on over the next couple of years. His competitive spirit was not at all about ego…it was about pushing the limits and raising the bar. He was always encouraging to those in his sphere of influence as the great stories above illustrate. He’s gone, but will never be forgotten.

DD
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 27, 2007 - 01:16pm PT
Is that you Dieg?
Double D

climber
Nov 29, 2007 - 12:40am PT
Hey Craig, yep it's me. I just happened to be looking for a picture of Steve on the web the other day when I ran across this thread.

Did I hear you mention daughters???

I'm now a proud grampa...but feel really like a late bloomer. Billy (price) beat me to it by about 7 years!

Hope life is treating you well.

DD
Maysho

climber
Truckee, CA
Nov 29, 2007 - 09:03am PT
Hey Dave D., congrats on grandpahood! Great to see you here.

And Karen T. wow! The trailer park days come flooding back in. Hope all is great with you and yours. It warms my heart to remember our friendship back then.

One of the most memorable "trips" I have taken was with Steve and Karen in the old VW bus, a few little square pieces of paper, and a night spent wondering amongst the bizarre rock formations around Pyramid Lake. When we made it to the top of the pyramid, Steve recounted his weeklong solo kayak around the lake. I remember being so inspired by his story of such a deep and contemplative experience of that landscape.

He who is remembered lives, he who inspires transforms.

Peter
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 29, 2007 - 10:52am PT
I thought it was you Dieg... you were the only one who could ride those things other then Stevie. Your a grandpa? christo... your boy didn't waste any time did he. I have one daughter, "Ellie" turns 9 in March, so I still have a ways to go before I hit the gramps stage. Where you at and what are you doing these days?
Double D

climber
Nov 30, 2007 - 12:39am PT
Congrats on your daughter!

I'm here:
(a really cool photo but i have no idea how to paste it)

and walking distance from here:
(another really cool photo but again...no clue)

I'll email you the picts.

DD
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2007 - 06:32am PT
Dieg, go to www.photobucket.com and download your photos into it straight out of your computer via clicking the browse box, then after its downloaded the photo copy the IMG link (you will see this once the photo has been downloaded) and past it here, and that's it... Good to see you around Dieg, its been awhile- Craig
Double D

climber
Dec 1, 2007 - 11:57am PT
Thanks Craig...your killing me though...I'm a total technophobe & this sounds like work. Great to hear from you and at some point I'll try to post some Stevie photos.
CJACKSON

climber
Dec 28, 2007 - 10:55pm PT
I saw Steve ski one time at Squaw Valley in 1977 and have never seen anything like that since. We were standing at the top of a difficult run and along came a guy with long hair and very long skis. As described by someone else on this thread:

"Steve launched it in a huge arc that took in the whole run."

The Rolling Stone article came out the next year and he came became big role model to me. I was in High School at the time and it motivated me to learn climbing, hang gliding, sky diving, become a Navy SEAL, live a adventurous life as opposed to taking a 9-5 job. I came across this thread because I was thinking about him tonight and wondering what kind of info was out there on the net.

Thanks everyone for the stories.
DHike

climber
Jan 30, 2008 - 01:22am PT
Had a few surreal ones down the 'Chute 75' the last couple of days. Made me think immediately of Steve. Must've been feeling his spirit's presence as he was smiling upon us. Yee HAAAW, Thanks Steve.


Loonie

Boulder climber
petaluma
Nov 9, 2008 - 02:33am PT
All: His spirit will always be with us. He was a spirit king. A warrior in time. A gifted story teller. A legend. May we always remember his great sprit. Lo Fon
brodix

climber
Maryland
Nov 10, 2008 - 09:21pm PT
Jeez, another year.
Double D

climber
Nov 14, 2008 - 08:58pm PT
I ran across some old Stevie pics from Vern Clevenger's wedding.

Crazy Carl, Steve, Karen and Jennifer

Steve, Karen and Layton Bridwell



Sorry for such poor quality pics. I'd love to say the main reason was my battery was out on my camera but judging from the focus being all out of wack, I'd say it was more case of the haze I was in that day.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 15, 2008 - 05:10pm PT
Nice pics Dieg... I don't think I ever saw them before. I remember that wedding reception (well kinda) it was wild. The gash on Carl's forehead tells his story, he looks better then I remember though-
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Nov 15, 2008 - 06:52pm PT
That was quite a day!

I first met Millis at Vern & Margaret's wedding: he had quite a persona... one part regal, two parts counterculture, and 10 parts Millis!!!

A lot went on; maybe it was you DD, who took that picture of Michael Graber leaning through the window and snagging a fistful of wedding cake…

Nice pictures of Steve for sure.
Garcia

climber
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:20am PT
I can't believe I found you guys...leave it to Steve!! Craig awesome tribute! Steve was like a big brother to me; kind soul, strong spirit. The memories of the Valley and Tahoe days are floodin in. The night he passed he came to me in a dream and then the next morning I got a call from Karen and Peggy, not wanting to believe a thing they were saying. The other day (it was probably Nov. 10th) I was showing property and there was a ski photo of him on the wall.

Diegleman, I can't believe you are a Gramps!

phyllis
Anastasia

climber
Not here
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:29am PT
Bump...
To not be forgotten is the greatest honor. McKinney is one worth remembering.
AF

captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 16, 2008 - 02:30pm PT
Hi Phyllis, god has it ever been a long, long time since we last connected. I didn't know about this dream you spoke about, but can believe it, Stevie had a connection with something that was beyond this space and time. Anyway, we need to reconnect, we have lots of catching up to do... at the crossroads- Craig
Double D

climber
Nov 16, 2008 - 02:54pm PT
Welcome to the Taco Phyllis! I hope this season in your life is going well. Somehow it's fitting that Steve brought several of us back to re-connect.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Nov 16, 2008 - 08:53pm PT
Keeping the memory alive tonight. Great pics DD. They are nice portrait shots and give one a sense of who this man was ....eyes are very telling.

Although not on the planet with you his best friends any longer, several of you helped me over the past 11 months to process the death of my husband using Steves life and death to give me strength to go on.

A life is lived....and continues to give life and hope to others.

Sadness and Joy, Tears contain both.

Peace, Lynne
tbag

Social climber
ny, ny
Dec 17, 2008 - 04:10pm PT
Q: in high school, I had a public speaking class. I did a number about speed skiing -- it was mostly about Steve, his innovations, and how it was home grown in California.

I remember that one of Mckinney's friends was killed in, I think, Chile. I believe the name was harold mussner. Does that sound familiar, or close?

Curious all these years later.
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2008 - 04:38pm PT
Hi tbag... I don't recall anyone by that name, nor do I remember any of our friends dying in Chile. If you can you be more specific, I might be able to help you resolve your curiosity.
tbag

Social climber
ny, ny
Dec 18, 2008 - 12:09pm PT

There a chance the man was Italian? The story was that he caught an edge. and was torn up his groin to the chest. The article would have been in a magazine from '78. Or '77.

I even think a guy from Chile with the last name of Wilson (?) mentioned this. Rojas Wilson. A speed skier, too.

Not a pressing issue, but I'm curious.

tbag
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 18, 2008 - 01:28pm PT
OK, now I know... it was in 1974, it was the first year we went speed skiing, the race took place in Cervinia Italy. The accident took place during the normal series race with 220's and regular dh helmets. The guy stuck his head between his legs and veered off the course and hit the timing post going around 100 mph. If I remember right, he was Swiss, but his name isn't coming to me right now. No one ever died speed skiing in Chile. As a matter of fact very few people have died speed skiing. More people die from racing downhill, and surprisingly enough more people die from recreational skiing then all the ski racing events combined.
tbag

Social climber
ny, ny
Dec 18, 2008 - 03:23pm PT

That sounds about right. I think I read that Steve got kicked by a horse once, and that did some serious damage. Only thing I wont' let my kid around is a motorcycle and horses. Nothing good ever comes of either one. Guns and pools seem safer to me.

Where was Steve interred? Does his kid have the ski gene?
sherry

climber
santa clarita, ca
Jun 1, 2009 - 01:17am PT
Wow, what a beautiful memorial and oh so apropos. I wondered to this site because I was looking for Karen Trask, one of the best friends of my life. Wouldn't you know, it would be Steve, who helped me find her. I remember looking at his trophies. There was one in general that caught my gaze. It was a triangle with several squares in the interior. He walked in behind me, and said "What does that mean to you," I remember thinking that for sure I would answer it wrong, I was so nervous, When suddenly there was this strange silence that fell over the room, It was so surreal. It felt , for a moment, that time had stood still. He just stared at me, almost as if he could see inside, as if he new, I knew. Suddenly, out of, what seemed nowhere, I said "Inner Strength". He promptly responded. "You are right!" I was so relieved, We all started to laugh and well, the rest is history! The time we spent, was magic! I remember the day he passed, it was clear & windy. When I went out to close my gate, it felt as if someone had shut it and was standing next to me. I remember thinking of him, but dismissed it. I must be losing it, it had to be the wind, I thought. It wasn't until several months later that I realized, he had passed on that very day. I had moved and lost touch with most. An unfortunate habit that I am now trying, (with, I believe, Steves help), to rectify. It has always haunted me that I did not listen, that fateful day. He truly touched the hearts and minds of all he met. He, Karen, Craig, and Tahoe in general will forever be weaved across mine. I will never forget him or you for giving me and so many others the opportunity to say, Thank-you for sharing your time on this earth, we are all the better off for it.

I'll see you on the other side!
Till Then,
Sherryan' Lima(sherryanlima@yahoo.com)
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 1, 2009 - 01:35am PT
A Very Special Tribute Sherry.....
janky

Social climber
innsbruck
Jan 15, 2010 - 04:42pm PT
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 15, 2010 - 05:27pm PT
Just saw this for the first time.

Years ago while cruising through Fiji we had a young lady on the boat by the name of Rosalie Mason Van Ness and I remember she too was a cousin of Steve McKinney. Rosalie, aka Mimi, had grown up with my lady Nancy in Carpinteria and had some fascinating stories about the family history. If I remember correctly Baltimore was the ancestral center of the family?
Double D

climber
Jan 15, 2010 - 06:03pm PT
Nice photo janky. Stevie & Franz Webber?

If memory serves me right...which it often doesn't, his family was from Kentucky.
tbag

Social climber
ny, ny
Feb 3, 2010 - 04:08pm PT


Does anybody have an email contact for Dick Dorworth? He wrote an article in 1999 about S.M. It was in the third issue of Skiing History/Skiing Heritage.

Is this article available in a WORD doc?

Calls to the publisher are unanswered.

tbag

guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 3, 2010 - 04:13pm PT
You can find him here under- yeti
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 3, 2010 - 04:20pm PT
I skied with Dick on Shasta maybe 5 years ago. He used to post here, may still, not sure.

Best contact I can suggest is his latest book, Night Driving. Write c/o his publisher First Ascent Press, PO Box 2338, Livingston MT 59047.

Good luck and tell him hi.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Feb 4, 2010 - 01:23am PT
Chaos...whatever became of bill mckinley and his friend tim t? ....rj
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 5, 2010 - 05:49pm PT
Bill McKinley and Tim Tilton live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, are involved in construction work and still ski
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 5, 2010 - 05:56pm PT
Here's something I wrote about Steve a few years ago as well as contact info for anyone tracking.....cheers....




Steve McKinney: a brief memoir of a friend
by
Dick Dorworth

I first met Steve McKinney in the winter of 1953. He was in his bassinet on the porch of the Sky Tavern Lodge at the Sky Tavern/Mt. Rose Ski Area outside Reno, Nevada, and I was a 14 year old ski racer. His mother, Frances, was a ski instructor at Sky Tavern, who made sure all of her seven children were, literally, born to skiing. Frances was a graceful woman of refined intelligence who loved life and her children with an intense passion which she passed on to each of them.
The last time I saw Steve McKinney was in October 1990 at the Squeeze Inn in Truckee, California. Steve and his son, Stephan, and me and my son, Jason, had breakfast together at the Squeeze and talked about our climbing expedition to Bhutan that had collapsed suddenly and unexpectedly a couple of weeks earlier. We exiled disappointment about not going to Bhutan through plans for future expeditions and adventures and with discussion about our present good fortune to be able to have breakfast together in a favorite restaurant with our sons. Steve McKinney loved his life and his son and family and friends with an intense passion that touched everyone who knew him.
A month later, November 1990, Steve was driving from southern California to attend a U.S. Ski Team fund raising function in San Francisco with his sister, Tamara. It grew late and Steve was tired and he pulled his small Volkswagen off the side of the freeway and crawled into the back seat to sleep. While he slept a drunk driver veered off the highway and crashed into the car and Steve was killed. Had we gone to Bhutan, he wouldn’t have been in that car by the freeway in the middle of the night.
But Steve was the sort of man who believed that when his time here was up it would not matter whether he was in California or Bhutan, and his time was up.
Between his birth in 1953 and his death in 1990 Steve McKinney lived a full life because he was the rare man who followed his passion. I was a friend to his family and we were all in the world of skiing, and so I followed his junior ski racing career and was aware of his extraordinary talent and athletic ability. By the early 1970s he was among the most promising young downhill racers in America. He was skilled, smart, strong and courageous. He was also ambitious and loved the game of competition. A fine athletic career as a downhill skier for the U.S. Ski Team was easily his for the taking, and many thought that would be his path. But Steve was restless and independent, and he was definitely wary of the kind of authoritarian politics that inescapably plague conventional organizations like the U.S. Ski Team. To some, Steve was considered a rebel, but, in my opinion, Steve was not so much rebellious as he was independent and proud. He had and knew the value of personal integrity.
In the spring of 1973 he bowed out of some World Cup races in California and went to Alaska in search of new adventures. Most young people who have spent their formative years in junior ski racing do not willingly pass up the opportunity to participate in World Cup races; but, as indicated, McKinney was unique and independent, restless and curious, always on the prowl for new horizons. When he returned from Alaska he showed up unexpectedly in Yosemite Valley where I was living and climbing. He was in the company of ex-U.S. Ski Team downhill racer and rock climber Craig Shanholtzer. Steve had decided to take up speed skiing and rock climbing at the same time, and with typical enthusiasm and intensity he committed himself to learning the basics of both. He planned on going to the Kilometro Lanciato in Cervinia the following month, and we talked at length about what he needed to do and know in order to be prepared.
Before that could happen, Steve returned to Tahoe and took a hundred foot leader fall attempting to climb a route beyond his novice experience called “Rated X” on Donner Summit’s Black Wall. He wound up in a body cast from his neck to his hips. Never one to let a broken back keep him down, Steve went to Cervinia anyway and skied in his cast and observed the speed skiers and what they were doing. Later that summer, he and I went climbing for the first time since his accident. After a couple of easier climbs we did “Rated X.” Steve did not lead it but he climbed it, and afterwards he was both mentally and physically back on track. He spent the winter thinking about what he had seen in Cervinia and getting ready.
The next summer, 1974, Steve and Tom Simons went to Cervinia. Steve was ready and won the KL competition, setting the first of his several world records. The world of speed skiing would never be the same. Steve was the right person in the right place at the right time to attract the media’s attention and give speed skiing a public profile it had never before known. Steve exemplified that elusive term “charisma.” He had the 6’4” 190 pound physique of a Viking warrior, the long blonde hair and good looks of a rock star, the confidence of a King, the personality of a fun loving sage, and he was THE MAN in an endeavor that answers a question that occurs to every person who has ever put on a pair of skis, even to those who do not wish to find out the answer: how fast can I go?
For the next ten years McKinney either held the world speed record or was very close to it. He either won every big speed race or he was one of the favorites. He was the first person to ski over 120 mph and the first to break 200 kph. He was instrumental in starting the first professional speed skiing circuit, and he was a principal in International Speed Skiing, the organizing body of that tour. More, he was the pace setter, the leader, the example and the inspiration for a generation of speed skiers. And despite the effects of age, numerous serious injuries and personal traumas, and the natural evolution of his sport which always leaves yesterday’s heroes behind, he invariably came through. He tried very hard to do his best and he inspired others to do the same.
Steve became a serious and accomplished mountaineer in the 1980s. He climbed 24,785 Mustagh Ata in the Chinese Pamir Mountains. After returning from the summit he turned around and climbed it again to help a British double amputee (both legs below the knee) accomplish his goal of reaching the peak. Steve was on two expeditions to Mt. Everest. On the first one he was instrumental in saving the life of John Roskelley, one of America’s greatest climbers who came down with pulmonary edema at 25,000 feet and was practically carried off the mountain by McKinney. On his second expedition he flew a hang glider off the West Ridge of Mt. Everest from 22,000 feet despite an earlier crash at a lower elevation on a trial flight.
Steve McKinney was my friend. He is known primarily as a speed skier, as well he should be; but he was also a talented writer, musician, horseman and climber; and he was a philosopher and thinker and seeker of the truth. Steve was generous, forgiving, funny and honest, and he was very easy to be with. We had a lot of fun together on skis, in the mountains, traveling, climbing and, yes, partying, all the while discussing the endless mysteries, impasses, challenges and ideas of what it is to be a human being. Like many others, I am grateful to have known him, but I miss his presence in this life. In my mind, Steve McKinney was a great speed skier because he was a great human being, not vice-versa.
END
Dick Dorworth
Box 4561
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
208-720-6718
dorworth@mindspring.com
10b4me

Ice climber
Ice Caves at the Sads
Feb 5, 2010 - 06:18pm PT
not to cxhange the subject, but does anyone know what his sister is up to nowdays?
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 5, 2010 - 07:12pm PT
Which sister? Tamara is in Squaw. The others are in Kentucky...
Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Feb 5, 2010 - 09:01pm PT
That was a very nicely written tribute, Dick. Thanks. Seems like a lot of climbers ski well. Bridwell, Werner, Petigrew (sp?).
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 5, 2010 - 09:22pm PT
Beautiful tribute Dick, you are such a wonderful writer!

We will be back this summer and hopefully we can get together.

cheers

joe
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 6, 2010 - 12:27am PT
Joe: Yes, I'll be in Santa Cruz. Hope to see you there. Happy Sailing....Dick
WBraun

climber
Feb 6, 2010 - 01:12am PT
Thanks for the memories of Steve, Dick, we miss him.

And thanks for teaching me how to ski and saving me from ski patrol ......
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 6, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
Werner: Like Steve, you have followed your passions in life. I thank and commend you for that and hope we get to make some Sierra turns together before all the snows melt. Best.....Dick
tbag

Social climber
ny, ny
Feb 11, 2010 - 09:51am PT

The book Driving at Night was an excellent read for a flight to Melbourne from ny.

Kind of like Krakauer without the negativity.

What is Tom Simons doing these days? And Mckinney's son, Stephan?

A question I have is why would SM pull off on the side of a highway (was it 5) to sleep? No exits for miles?

Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Feb 26, 2010 - 01:48pm PT
Happy that you like Night Driving. Steve was at a rest stop where he should have been. His son is in Sacramento and is going to mechanics school. Tom Simons is living around Tahoe City.
Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Feb 26, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
Yeti- I hadn't heard that Tamara was with Steve on that trip. Was she in the car at the time?
I was once skiing with Steve at Squaw, before Tamara became a great and famous racer. At one point when I finally caught up with him and complimented him on his skiing. He replied, "You should see my little sister."
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Feb 26, 2010 - 08:31pm PT
Yeti, we need you to join us at one of our Wyde wednesdays, at Soquel, maybe you can carpool with Doug Robinson....
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Mar 2, 2010 - 07:17pm PT
Dick: No Tamara was not with Steve. He was on his way to meet her in S.F. And, yes, as a young girl it was evident that Tamara had the skiing talent to become.....Tamara the World Champion, and it was a great process to watch unfold. And Steve was very proud of her. And Jaybro: I'll check in with Doug next time I'm in Santa Cruz.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 3, 2010 - 02:33am PT
Hi Dick,

That will be great, as I too am looking to reconnect. But you gotta watch out for that Wyde crowd. They have built torture devices more stringent than any rock slots; they are fit, and cackle in a nearly kindly way at those of us struggling to hold a core.

Incisive company, of course, which makes all the difference.

Thanks for the words on Steve; I can still taste that aire about Steamboat.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Mar 13, 2010 - 05:09pm PT
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Mar 13, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
T-Bag: In July 1965 a young Italian skier named Walter Mussner died after a horrific fall in the KL in Cervinia. I wrote about it in an unpublished book titled "The Straight Course." I later took three sections from that book, including the description of Walter's fall, and made an essay out of them titled "In Pursuit of Pure Speed." The essay was published in Mountain Gazette and then included in "The Ski Book," published by Arbor House and now out of print, but it is the best collection of ski writing I know of. You likely read it in MG. I'm currently working on putting together a collection of my own ski writing and the essay will be included. Here's part of it:

I965: Second Year at Cervinia: The Death

(From my journal) The morning of July twenty-sixth the track was ice down to the blue disc (the one Gasperl hit), about IOO meters above the trap. Solid, wind-blown ice. Below that, the track was covered with soft, new snow, about 8 inches deep, blown there by the laws of terrain and wind. Those in charge prepared it in the same, masterly fashion. We were two days without skiing and this day was added to the schedule; it was an extension of our time. We went up to the Plateau Rosa early. The weather was beautiful, a slight bit cold.
At the top we joked, wished each other luck, did warm-up exercises, adjusted equipment----just like always. I was completely absorbed in what had to be done. The two days off skis were noticeable.
Mussner went first. His time came back up as I72.084. I was really excited when I heard that. The first time over I70 this year! The record was in sight! I ran fifth or sixth and held my position. It was a wonderful, free run; but I felt the change going off the ice onto soft snow. My time was I70.373, but I, and everyone else on the outrun, thought they announced I73. I hurried back up thinking I had the best run of the round, and I was full of getting the record back. I don't know what it is about that bloody record.
When I got to the top Ninni told me I was fourth behind Mussner, Siorpaes, and Leitner. That seemed logical because I had been surprised to hear my time as I73. It hadn't felt so fast. The slight disappointment filled me even more with desire for the record. I kept saying to myself---"I'm gonna get that bastard back " I talked a little with Mussner and congratulated him for his fine first run. I spoke to Siorpaes. I observed the rituals. I remember grinning because I was sure Mussner and Siorpaes were as full of the record as I.
Then there came a time when no one wanted to go. There was no particular reason. One hadn't finished waxing. Another was cold. Still another was tuning his mind. I was still tired from climbing up too fast. Mussner appeared ready, but he didn't want to go. · I don't know why---nerves probably. (I'm sure now that he had a premonition.) I jumped into the breach and said I was ready. Actually I was still tired, but I was so excited and anxious about finally breaking into the I70S that it didn't matter. I went anyway, and I held my position over both jumps. I put my head down just before the soft part of the track and immediately pulled it back up. The track was a monstrous mess. It hadn't even been side slipped between rounds. I lost my position. It was like driving a car across a furrowed .field at 100 mph.
I didn't know how fast I was, but I knew it wasn't very good. Now I know that my time was 168.539 kph. I was mad about the track and I skied to a stop in front of Egon. I said, ''The track is really bad, Egon, why don't they work on it?" He knew what I meant and felt just about like I did, and he said something like, "1 don't know, you can't talk to these f*#king Italians." Then I said, quote, "Well, someone's going to get hurt up there.” Unquote.
Egon took my skis and began waxing them. A few were still getting into the I70s, and I was full of-with luck-the record.
Then Mussner came.
On Sunday night, the twenty fifth, Mussner saw a photo of Luigi taken on the first day. In this photograph Luigi's head is completely down and all you can see is the top of his helmet. It is the most fantastic Lanciato photo I've seen. Walter studied the photograph for a few minutes. "Tomorrow I will do that," he told Luigi. Luigi grinned, as any champion will whose disciples are trying to imitate him. It is the grin of pride and of being flattered, but it is also a grin of awareness of the difficulties in the refinements of any champion s. technique, the refinements which all disciples try for and hardly any ever achieve. In this case, the refinement of putting ones head between one s knees and skiing blind at more than I05 mph.
Mussner came and his head was down. I have the impression that when I was on top and Walter didn't want to go he was forcing himself to be able to put his head down. (Perhaps also fighting a premonition.) This is what I think, but there is no way to know. Later, Franca told me that Mussner nearly didn't go again; I don't know why, nor does anybody. Then he said something like, "Well, there s still the record." And he left the top.
He came and I saw him from above the blue disc, just before where the track was bad. His head was already down, his position was good, and he held it like that all the way. Many things went into the sequence of what happened then, and no one will ever know exactly what they were, but this is what I think:
At the top of the timing area he began to veer right. I saw immediately that he was on his way off the track. A cold electric shock passed through me like a tidal wave of fear. My heart went numb and my blood disappeared. Walter went off the track just at the end of the timing, just missing the electric eye pillar. He went through a little post and that ridiculous net they had fanned out on each side. When he hit that post the world changed.
At that speed many things could cause a slight deviation of direction. It is impossible to have more than an opinion as to why he went off the course. It was obvious from watching how he held this position and from what he said afterward that he was unaware he was off course until he had already fallen. I believe two things killed Walter Mussner, not one more than the other. I think the bad track caused him to veer to one side against the natural slope of the track, and I think Walter's head being down made him unaware of what was happening, and, therefore, unable to correct it. I think if the track had been properly groomed he wouldn't have veered off course, and if he had kept his head up he would have known what was happening and he would have been able to correct it. But---and Walter Mussner is dead.
What happened when Walter hit that post and fell is something I don't think I will forget as long as I live; and it will be more than a few days before the image leaves my mind, allowing me easy sleep at night and to write and read and be naturally of this life the rest of the time. He clocked a time of 170.1)2 kph just as he fell; but to the naked eye, it appears that the racers in the last 30 meters of the 100-meter trap accelerate to a much greater speed. I would not be surprised if the racer who clocks 170 for 100 meters is traveling at 190 for the last 10 or 20 meters. Right there, where there is that little boost of acceleration that anyone can observe, Walter fell. With incredible force and speed he went end over end, feet and then head hitting the snow, and each turn wrenching his body unbelievably. Afterwards, eleven holes were counted in the snow, feet, head, feet, head, feet, head, and, at the end, everything. It was difficult to believe it was a human body undergoing such gyrations, such speed, such force. The only thing I have ever seen like it were movies of Bill Vukovich’s car at Indianapolis when he was killed in 1955. It was similar to that.
For a few seconds that seemed like minutes after he stopped in a motionless pile in the transition, everyone I was frozen still with astonishment and fear. There was---I am sure in everyone because it was there in me---the hope of a miracle that Walter Mussner would get up and that no one would have to go pick him up. At the same time, I don't think there was a doubt in anyone s mind that he wasn't going to move by himself. I have seen some bad falls, and I have even had a few myself; but this wasn't like a skiing fall anyone had ever seen before. No one has ever fallen like that.
Then Rico was screaming over the loudspeaker. That snapped people out of their trance. Dozens of people were suddenly all around Walter, about 30 yards from where I stood. I started to go, but instinct told me not to; and I am glad I didn't. Ivo (Mahlknecht) and Felice (DeNicolo) were there, and they were closer comrades than I; so he wasn't alone when he shouldn't be alone.
It took about half an hour to get him off the hill. During that time not one person even side slipped the track, though competition was obviously to continue as soon as possible. I was mad and sick with the knowledgeable suspicion that if Walter wasn't dead he was an agonizing pile of broken bones. Egon was furious the way the German temperament gets furious when unhappy.
I stared at the group around Walter. Egon finished waxing my skis. I was, however, finished psychologically and spiritually, and I knew it. I told Egon I would run again if the track began to be fast enough for a record. I would go up and wait and listen to the times. If they got close I would go; if not, not. Egon said it was finished, but I went up and waited anyway; but I never came down on the track.
Just before I went up to wait, Hans Berger broke away from the group around Walter and came my way. Hans, who lives in Kufstein, is small, with tiny, delicate features and an expressive face. He usually looks about eighteen years old, though he is thirty. When he came up to me, he looked a hundred years old and there were tears in his eyes.
"Ist es schlecht?" I asked.
"Ja," he said in a strange way.
"Sehr schlecht?"
"Sehr schlecht," he answered in a way that made me know it was.
I went up to the top and waited with that in the pit of my stomach. Probably, it was best the track never got fast enough to make me think a record was possible.
They took Walter to Aosta and he lived a little more, than five hours. Unfortunately, he was conscious most of that time. He fractured his skull, broke two vertebrae in his neck, pulverized his entire pelvic region, broke one femur and tore loose the femoral artery, and he tore himself open from the anus to the navel. He had acute hemorrhages of the brain, stomach, and leg. Toward the end he went blind. If he had lived he would have lost one leg, he wouldn't have been a man any longer, and he probably would have been paralyzed. Kiki went with him to Aosta and held his hand until he died. She is only twenty and has never seen a dead person before, and she was still in shock and sometimes hysterics the next night when she and her mother told me about it.
The Italian and Swiss papers are full of stupid things about it. The people of Cervinia all say that the track was "perfetto," and they put the whole blame on a mistake of Walter's. They’ve gone on at some length why it s not the fault of the Lanciato committee, the organization, or anyone s. That is not quite true. Some say there is nothing dangerous about the Lanciato. That, too, is not quite true. Others call the Lanciato stupidly insane. Nor is that true. If I uttered to the press what I think about the track, they would interpret it as blaming those responsible for track maintenance for Walter's death. That, also, is not the truth; and it would do infinitely more harm than good. And it would not help Walter. There is no prevention (except abstention, which is ridiculous) for such accidents, and there is no blame. It is part of skiing that fast.
I was the only one competing that day who saw Walter fall, and I returned to the top with a different perspective on our endeavors. The racers and officials asked about the delay. Why was the track closed so long? I said Walter had a bad fall that tore up the track a bit; the delay was necessary for repairs. I had neither desire nor right to elaborate. I sat at the top for a long time. Some racers got in six runs, nearly everyone got four or five. Only Mussner and I ran just twice. Visions of his fall tumbled through my brain. I could not make them leave. (They entered my dreams and woke me in the night for the next two years.) It was the same clear day, but a grainy, colorless filter had descended on the world.
Leitner, leading with 172.744, decided not to run again unless his time was beaten. It never was. My time dropped from fourth best to eighth. Luigi, suffering badly from a strep throat and cold, took five runs before breaking into the first ten. My place on the result sheets, the race itself, winning or losing no longer mattered. What importance has the race alongside life itself? What game do we play in which the loser forfeits life? What type of men play this game? For it was obvious from the beginning that one of us would die because of some human failing, neglecting for a billionth of eternity the rules of the game. Is human failure cause to die? If it is, are we not playing with the rules and stakes of Neanderthal man? I never meant to play a game in which one of the players would inevitably, through mathematical laws as sure as those governing Russian roulette, smash his body beyond repair; yet I played and watched it happen and I felt deep in my innards that I had always known it was going to happen. I remembered waiting for C. B. at the bottom of Portillo's track, wondering about the game's next move if he beat my time. The questions would not disappear. I had no answers.
My friend Franca Simondetti gave Leitner and me some Sangria. We drank it over small talk and silence. Strange to drink the sweet Sangria, to feel its wonderful vapors fill your body and your brain, exploding your taste buds as you sit in the sun---sweet Sangria---all the while trapped with death in a vision of the boyish face of Walter Mussner and a fall unlike any other. Strange to sit like that with Ludwig Leitner, the big German who exudes toughness and confidence and plays the game hard, drinking and healthy. Life's mysteries unfold through everyday functions.
Tiring of Sangria, small talk, and waiting for a run I neither wanted nor would ever make, I skied down alongside the track. Racers were still coming, about one a minute. As a competitor, I was allowed to stand close to the track, and I watched the big speeds from about 30 feet away. For the first time in three years of playing with eternity, I viewed it with a new realization of flesh and blood men, mere mortals, at play with the forces of the universe; it was wondrous that we dared, but never again would I view another man as a rival whose mistakes or refinements I must note and use to my advantage. I could hardly believe what I saw. I knew these men. We had joked, laughed, eaten, drunk, and skied together. We had entered into freedom and struggled with terror, and together we had ignored our common reality. Walter Mussner reminded us of our negligence. I watched my friends like children in a play yard; proud, arrogant, innocent. We had accomplished great things, but, when all was done and spoken, we were just men; probably we could be better men, for we had not put away childish things.
When I got down to Cervinia, the word was around that Mussner was badly hurt. Only those who saw him fall had any idea what that meant. Most of the racers didn't think that Walter would not be back with them. I returned to my hotel, changed clothes, and packed my ski bag for Egon to take to Kufstein. Walter was in Aosta and I had heard he was alive when he reached the hospital; that is usually a good sign for the chances of survival. I put my thoughts with Walter Mussner and packed my bag.
After, I was carrying the heavy bag of skis up the street to Egon's hotel when something happened I cannot define but only describe. It came in what I have come to know as a "flash." Suddenly I knew Walter Mussner was dead. It was sure; it was something I knew. Walter was dead, and I no longer felt the hard sadness that had been with me since the fall. What I felt was something like intense peace and joy and relief, all together. I do not know if that feeling arose because Waller was out of his suffering, or because what had happened had happened to him and not to me, or if there was another reason. I set down my big, red Kneissl ski bag and rested. I did not question the fact of his death nor the quality or means of my knowledge, but I wasn't supposed to feel what I felt. For I felt better and more alive than I had since Walter began veering right. An hour later Kalevi told me Walter Mussner was dead.

Diary, July 4, I965
From now on every man who tries seriously and truly for a record carries death in his hind pocket. I think that this year everyone will make it, but after this it will get too fast, too tough, and eventually someone will buy the farm no one ever wants but everyone gets.

END

Dick Dorworth

WBraun

climber
Mar 13, 2010 - 07:09pm PT
Good true story Dick, haunting ......

Mark Rodell

Trad climber
Bangkok
Mar 13, 2010 - 07:51pm PT
"For I felt better and more alive than I had since Walter began veering right."

Nothing in writing is more important than honesty
Hullu Jussi

Mountain climber
Breckenridge
Apr 25, 2010 - 09:51pm PT
Dick, Craig, thanks for all these great memories. The current speed skiers still hold Steve in reverence, and a link to this thread is now circulating on Facebook. Just 2 days ago there was a speed ski event on Mont Fort in Verbier directly below the tram- the top speed was 219kmh by Simone Origone of Italy, who also won the men's speed ski world cup globe this year. Dick, you are a great writer-I have a copy of the "ski book" purchased on ebay!! Craig, you are a great friend and I hope our paths cross again soon. I got to talk a bit with Tamara in Vail 2 weeks ago at the Jimmie Heuga Express finals- she is looking great!! ps- Hullu Jussi is Finnish for Crazy John
Cartop

Social climber
Jemez Springs, NM
Apr 26, 2010 - 12:18am PT
Great to see so many friends here that I haven't heard of or from for years. Though I'd seen the photo of Steve, Dick and the others with their long hair and beards (one of my faves, not just for Steve, but for Dick Dorworth too), I'd never read this thread and I am amazed by all the great stories and photos. I first read about speed-skiing when I was in high-school; about McKinney and Simons at Cervina and about Dorworth and CB Vaughn in Portillo. I never thought I'd ever meet them, let alone hang out with them. I met both McKinney and Dorworth at a ski camp in Bariloche in 77 and was in awe of them. I spent time talking with each, but still never thought I'd hang out with them. Then, there I was in Silverton in 81. Dorworth was Steward and I was on track with McKinney. It was great to have a suit and some long skis but I was still star-struck. Dorworth cut me from the race for safety reasons and I thanked him; I knew that I still wasn't ready. When I did 200k at Les Arc in 83 I was over the top with joy because I knew that I was getting closer, but I was the 7th one to do it; Steve was the first to do it. At Tandadalens in 1984 I beat both Franz and Steve the first run of the day and it put me over the top with joy. But it was because I had managed -- on only a couple of occasions -- to beat the Legend. My car-top adventure was an entirely different kind of trajectory. But again, I knew he, Tommy, and Haki were the firsts. Everyone from that era knows that Steve and I had some serious disagreements on how things should be done, but I will always respect, admire, and remember the greatness of his accomplishments, his amazing charisma, and his great character. It was sad and ironic that he came to the end he did. I'll never forget the call I received from Franz Weber, who shared that horrible news with me. I greatly enjoyed the thrill and rush of the speed of KL, but even much more so I am honored to have been friends and to have competed with such great people from around the world!

In 85 I was with Kirsten Culver and we went over to Squaw for a day of skiing. We'd both had a difficult season on the KL tour and were just trying to have some fun and relax. On the second run we ran into Franz Weber, Steve and Tamara and skied with them the whole rest of the day. It was one of the best days of skiing in my whole life, one I'll never forget.
WBraun

climber
Apr 26, 2010 - 12:23am PT
There's nothing better trying to ride a flat ski and smoking down a steep slope on 222 cm skis.

Yowzzz! All hail the speed team ......
WBraun

climber
Apr 26, 2010 - 12:27am PT
Yeah

Speed (real high speed) & long boards rule .....
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 26, 2010 - 01:05am PT
I've never experienced the gift of knowing Steve McKinney. But I will Never forget his name and his history.

Years after Steve's death my husband died. I was completely devastated, having no clue how to deal with the grief and pain of the loss of a man I loved for years.

In the midst of this time, several of Steve's friends' again lost close comrades to death. In a way which only life can create paths we alone could never understand, a mystery really, my life path connected with several of Steve's friends here on ST.

The death of their dear friend Steve, and all they had processed, learned and discovered thru Steve's death they offered to me and it resuscitated my life.....gave me new hope. Only those that have lost someone they Love can reach out and give hope and help to those in similar situations. No one else can understand.

So Steve McKinney, I am so sorry you died. But you will never be forgotten...only loved. Your death has brought life to me through your friends.....and so much more. Peace Steve....Always, and to your loved ones. We (I) will never forget you. Peace, lynnie

240Gordy

Mountain climber
BC
May 4, 2010 - 01:22am PT
Wow Cartop we were at the same races. I first met the Tahoe guys at Georgian Peaks in '79, Craig and Tommy Simons were there. I don't think Stevie made it to that one, wasn't there a Pro Downhill in Aspen the same weekend? But is was crazy just the same hanging with Craig and Tommy driving the race promoters van. I shared a cabin with Ken Volz, half of the electric twins! I remember the camaraderie of the speeders meeting up at the airport, the Americans and the Euros were all grins and hugs! Everybody was a little to cool for thatwhere I came from. I was blown away by how everybody was so not arrogant at all. That was mine and Speedskiings first pro race I think. Sponsored by Colt 45 beer.

Steve really was the Steve McQueen of skiing, the epitome of cool. Just saunter up the couloir at Silverton in jeans and a plaid Mac and turn and dive down that big bowl and crack some 180k+ first tracks like it aint' nothin. When that race ran out of time and fell apart organizationally Steve was the only guy with enough confidence to do like Ken Kesey says, just turn your back and walk away from a bad thing. The next year things were a mess again at Silverton and the course was crap but hanging out with the folks from Tahoe, Bob and Nickey and Peggy Hopkins, (maybe I'm getting the years mixed up?) was way cool and I got an invite to hang out and go climbing and flying around Tahoe. So that I did and running into Steve at Squaw I got the hugely cred-boosting greeting from Steve as he walked by, "hey Gordy when did you get to Tahoe!" and later going over to Steve's house with Bob to watch the movies of Silverton and Everest I think, and steve showing off Tamara's trophys and pics, he was pretty proud of his sister.

I got cut for being pretty shakey at the race on the jumping hill at Squaw, it was the qualifying eace for the 82 Silverton race. I was pretty bummed and but wrote a letter asking for a bye into Silverton based on my past experiance. Steve was the first to sign it and got some other top guys to sign it for me. I'll never forget that support. Didn't make it that year though anyway.

Anyway thanks for posting this CraIg, i never saw anything about Steve on the internets before and he was the most amazing guy I met skiing, there should be something for sure, besides our memories. You guys were so lucky to really know the guy.

240gordy, Vancouver
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Oct 6, 2011 - 09:48pm PT
I did not know Steve McKinney, only of Steve McKinney. An amazing man. My only "encounter" was at Mammoth Mtn. Steve went to the top, got off, pointed his skis down and never made a turn. I could not f'ing believe it, but the truth of his life from what is posted here shows this just to be kids' stuff. Steve Jobs just passed on and the accolades haven't stopped. I don't recall such an outpouring when Steve McKinney left us. What a shame.

Kathy D.

Trad climber
San Francisco
Oct 6, 2011 - 11:31pm PT
Hi Craig, Cath C. and I were visiting at the Tahoe City Trailer Park when Steve was in training. The drinking that night was serious. I could see he was your dear friend then and remains so today. I haven't forgotten Steve, a very special person with a big heart. Kathy Dermitzakis
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Oct 8, 2011 - 09:09am PT
Rick Sylvester photo here (not the El Cap, Asgard stunt rather - credit martygarrison):

http://www.supertopo.com/photos/7/97/201189_10526_L.jpg

in thread there is a link to video of it on Youtube:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1490567&tn=20

Here's a little quote I stumbled upon:

July 1976, Cervina, Italy. The the Kilometro Lanciato World Championships: ABC sports commentator Bob Beattie asks then speed-skiing world record holder Steve McKinney, "What's the worst thing that could happen to a speed-skier?" McKinney didn't even pause: "You could be slow."



vôo

climber
Denver, CO
Dec 22, 2011 - 09:22pm PT
thanks for this thread and all of the great posts

Steve was a little scary when flying the Sport for the first time above base camp. it was very light handling and Steve hadn't had a chance to get current on it before flying above lower base camp

but on the West Ridge he flew perfect, all it took was to strap a couple skis on and he flew just fine

I've never met anyone who was so connected to nature and the spirit world. We were on a bus in Lhasa a butterfly flew in and circled around Steve until landing on his nose. The next moments seemed to last forever as the butterfly opened and closed it's wings and the two them considered each other. Steve took it as an omen. I'm sure he was right

http://www.flymicro.com/everest/index.cfm?page=docs%2FHistory%2FHang_gliders_and_Paragliders.htm#_1986
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Dec 22, 2011 - 10:22pm PT
You could be slow...what a great comeback..RJ
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Dec 22, 2011 - 10:56pm PT
Captain Chaos,

Recently became aquainted with someone you know from bitd.....one Michael Brown. He says you were one of the craziest he knew in Yo Valley. I guess you would have to be to do what you guys did. Anyway, Michael said to be sure and say howdy to you and wish you well. Feliz Navidad, lynne
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Jan 14, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
re: Lhasa butterfly


In Greek myth, Psyche (which literally translates to mean “soul”) is represented in the form of a butterfly. Befittingly, Psyche is forever linked with love as she and Eros (the Greek god of love, also known in Roman myth as Cupid) shared an endlessly passionate bond together – both hopelessly in love with the other
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 14, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
I've been thinking of Mr Dorworth's article all week. It was so beautiful.
I well remember his superlative writing in our dearly departed Mountain Gazette.

Thank you sir!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 14, 2012 - 05:48pm PT
Brand new, hot off the press! One of my all-time favorite authors. Just ordered mine yesterday.
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Jan 16, 2012 - 02:27pm PT
The attribution for this quote is John M. Boyle (couldn't find a date):



Everest Grand Circle: A Climbing and Skiing Adventure Through Nepal and Tibet
In the winter of 1981-82, Edward “Ned” Gillette, Jan Reynolds, Steve McKinney, and Cucol Calonica made a ski circumnavigation of the Everest Massif. They began with the first winter ascent of Pumon—a sub-peak of Everest—then proceeded to live for four months at altitude. Their ski-trek necessitated scaling five passes over 20,000’, as well as contending with scarce food and occasional dwelling in caves. An autographed account of their journey, authored by Gillette and Reynolds and published by the Mountaineers in 1985, is in the Himalayan Library’s collection and is available for check out from the AAC Library. The obvious difficulties of the circumnavigation—still discussed in many Ski and Alpine Clubs across the world—have prevented anyone from repeating the men’s feat.

Like many of the books in the John M. Boyle Himalayan Library, there is something tucked inside. In this case it is a clipping from a 1986 San Francisco Chronicle that discusses Reynolds’ hot-air balloon ride past Everest. One-time holder of a high-altitude skiing record, she talks about dangling her feet over the edge of the basket taking photographs.

Sadly, in 1998, the book’s co-author Ned Gillete—AAC member since 1979, a member of the 1968 Olympic Cross Country Ski Team, Dartmouth College graduate, and frequent contributor to National Geographic—was murdered in his tent during a botched robbery attempt. Gillete and his wife were in Pakistan’s Haramosh Valley.

Among Gillette’s numerous accomplishments were the 300-mile ski circumnavigation of Everest, a ski descent of Muztagh Ata in Tibet, a ski traverse of Ellesmere Island, and a 600-mile rowboat trip across the Drake Passage, from Tierra Del Fuego to Antarctica in a self-designed and personally built craft.

WBraun

climber
Jan 16, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
... in a self-designed and personally built craft.

Nope

Ned did not design or build that boat.

It was Charlie Porter and he trained that crew too, he was the silent partner in that whole fiasco.

Ned took the credit and never publicly credited Charlie.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 16, 2012 - 04:47pm PT
Another thread pertaining to Ned and Steve:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/496871/Ned-Gillette-and-Ellesmere-Island
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Jan 28, 2012 - 10:22pm PT
More quotes attributed to Steve (folks here must be the judge of the truth of the attribution):


"The faster my body travels, the slower my mind seems to work. In the crescendo of speed, there is no thought, no sound, no vision, no vibration. It is simply instinct and faith."


"You might feel fear before the run and sometimes afterward, but not during. There's not enough time."


"Living alone at that age seems strange to some people, but our family always let us kids choose our own paths,"

McKinney also clashed with authorities, whom he labels "harebrained ski politicians."

"That body cast taught me a great deal about balance,"

"Nobody else has gone as fast as I do, so what could they teach me?"

"What people are seeking with drugs is one clear moment when life can flow through the body without interference from the mind. That's what happens when I ski."
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 2, 2012 - 07:28pm PT
I watched him almost rip Burtons arm off in an arm wrestling match, and he did the same with John Riggins of the Washington Redskins

Wouldn't it have been something if Steve could have wrestled Allen Fisher (Spring Valley, CA - 26 time world arm-wresting champ) and though I don't think he would have beat him (nobody does), they wrestled to a tie.
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Feb 2, 2012 - 08:13pm PT
Bump for a ski legend - Back in '84 the Camel speed skiing event came to Mammoth - we all sped around in tucks pretending to be Mckinney. RiIP speed-master
WBraun

climber
Feb 2, 2012 - 08:22pm PT
Steve and captain chaos come into my room one day.

"Let's go skiing Werner!!!!"

Huh? It's sh!tty ass outside and the wind is blowing hurricane force.

"You guys are nuts!"

They had the "LOOK" No was not an option that day.

"OK, let's go" I said.

We walk the 30 feet down the hall from my room to the gondola entrance.

The gondola crew thought we will die for sure when the gondola car will fall off the cable eventually today.

A few minutes during the ride up I sense Steve and Craig have this funny "look". Oh Oh!!

Steve pulls out the baggie of purple micro dots. "How many to make it work?"

5 was reply. FIVE!!!!! Ho man!!!

KABOOOMM and we're off ...........

Remember that day Craig? LOL funnier than sh!t.
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Feb 2, 2012 - 08:29pm PT
Tom ( Bradburn?) was a legedary Gondola operator for years at Mammoth ( also made many accents in the sierra) his fav line when we came to load was " are you guys going to do a tip roll into Werners?" HO MON!!!
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 3, 2012 - 07:36pm PT
Dick Dorworth's writing above was published in Skiing Heritage Journal (Sep 1999) and it's hard to find a copy, but is available on Google Books.

It's (Dor)worth LOL tracking it down for the photos of Steve Mckinney (several) and Dorworth (Chile, 1963)
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 3, 2012 - 08:12pm PT
How the flight was reported contemporaneoulsy - Orlando Sentinel

October 17, 1986
EVEREST JUMP. American daredevil Steve McKinney reports that he jumped from Mount Everest and made it halfway around the mountain on a hang glider. He made a perfect landing at the 19,000-foot level, he said in a telegram from Lhasa. McKinney did not say at what altitude he jumped. He said poor weather halted the attempts of two other members of the ''Everest 86-Americans to China'' expedition that he heads. Larry Tombs, another member, said before leaving for Mount Everest that the hang glider fliers hoped to ski down Everest's upper slopes to launch themselves into air currents that would take them to the 29,000-foot summit.

What else happens at the top of the world:

October 14, 1998
KATMANDU, Nepal - A U.S. adventurer said Tuesday that he had seen two animals he thought were Yeti during a high-altitude skiing expedition on China's side of Mount Everest. Craig Calonica said he saw two creatures, sometimes called abominable snowmen, together, walking erect, around Sept. 17. Calonica, 45, and climber was on his way down to base camp at 17,000 feet from a camp at 21,300 feet when he saw the creatures.
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 7, 2012 - 06:50pm PT
Don't think this violates any copyright since it's stamped right in the middle. University of Utah Library.

zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 9, 2012 - 04:04pm PT
More on the flight. This gives me a much better feel for the magnitude of this undertaking, which is huge.

Everest Hang Gliding. We arrived in Base Camp on September 8, but because of confusion with the Chinese and the yak drivers, we didn’t establish Advance Base at 5500 meters until September 16. On the 19th, Camp I was placed at 6000 meters. We began fixing ropes on the west ridge on the 21st, generally following the 1983 Bob Craig route except at the start, where we went on the left side of the crest. On September 24 we put Camp II at 6600 meters just below a prominent rock on the crest. On October 3 we began hauling hang gliders. It took over a week to get a glider to Camp III on the crest of the west shoulder at 7170 meters. On October 5 leader Steve McKinney made a trial flight from 6200 meters down to Camp I, using pre-takeoff oxygen and skis. The pilots were in position on October 11, but high winds prevented attempts from the shoulder. On October 16 we dismantled Camp III and pulled the glider down. Other members included climbers Kim Carpenter, Heidi Benson, Pete Athens, Catherine Freer, Craig Colonica and me and pilots Bob Carter and Larry Tudor.
ANDREW POLITZ
captain chaos

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 10, 2012 - 01:49am PT
Yes Werner, I remember that day... the snow had a purple haze glow- great day, we need to do that again one of these dayzzz...

Hope your well, tu hermano- Craig
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Feb 12, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
This is a fabulous thread-Thanks to everyone for sharing
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 12, 2012 - 08:28pm PT
Kweskin Jug Band may be a bit before your time, but
Jim Kweskin: Are you ready, Ski King? [sic]

Fritz Richmond: Let it happen, cap'n!

You certainly have let it happen, what a great tribute you have created to your best friend.



WBraun

climber
Feb 12, 2012 - 08:49pm PT
And there was Charlie Row who hit 148.2 mph in 97.

Charlie was big time climber here.

FA Zenyatta Mondatta, with Bridwell and Mayfield.
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 14, 2012 - 12:42am PT
From what I read, the SS record set in 1997 was 151 mph, so I would say that in addition to being a climber, Charlie was a helluva fast skier. While it doesn't match the increase in speed of climbing the nose over the years, the trail from 106 (1963, Dorworth) to 125 (1982, McKinney) to 151 (1997, Billy) is very impressive.

In 1987 Steve set his last world speed skiing record of 209.790 km/h (130.4 mph), the fastest speed he had ever recorded in competition which was surpassed later that year by Michel Prufer @217.008.

As of April 29, 2005, there were 328 speed skiers who had skied faster than 200 km/h.


DHike

climber
Feb 28, 2012 - 08:15pm PT
came across this from a Tahoe FB friend who skied @ Vars in the late '80's early nineties

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_QeQTtoq4Y&feature=related

not sure if Steve was at this one, maybe Captain Chaos can confirm.
zBrown

Ice climber
Chula Vista, CA
Feb 29, 2012 - 02:11pm PT
These aren't Steve, but he was the trailblazer that led to them;

Origone 251.40 kph

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBUHNfwrnmI

Billy 243 kph (with shoutout to Peter Gunn no less)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw5doHjd0Ug

ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Feb 29, 2012 - 02:53pm PT
Purple microdot in those conditions? yeow! I took that stuff once before I mowed the lawn and I had black snakes coming out of the grass crawling up my legs....talk about some crazy sh*t. I don't think I'd have gotten out of the gondola.
VikingsLars

Mountain climber
CT
Aug 21, 2013 - 10:59am PT
I never met Steve, but I did have an interesting Tahoe experience relating to him back in the winter of 92-93 when I first arrived in Tahoe to be a ski bum. It was around Christmas and I hadn't found a place to live yet, but I had gotten a job at Squaw and was living out of my van in the parking lot at Squaw. We had just had a storm that dumped over 7 feet and the temperatures were plunging to around zero at night, so staying warm was next to impossible and trying to sleep while worried about freezing to death was difficult. After work, I spent as much time as possible at that peanut bar that was mentioned by an earlier poster, mostly to stay warm, but also for the free peanuts (dinner) and the 2 dollar pitchers whenever the blue light turned on. It was really cool how everyone was so friendly and tried to help the newbies as much as possible. One such person was a girl who took pity on my sleeping situation and said I could sleep at her place that night. Her place was a beautiful rustic ski lodge right across the road from the parking lot at Squaw. The first thing I noticed when I entered the living room was a very long old pair of skis leaning against the wall. She told me they were Steve McKinney's and asked me if I knew who he was. I did because I had read an article about him and speed skiing in one of the ski magazines when he broke the 200 kph barrier. That article had made a great impression on me. I think she told me that the skis I was looking at were the ones he used to break that record. I also had heard he had died, but I didn't know how (I assumed it was a ski accident). I asked her if Steve was related to Tamara McKinney. She told me that I was in her house, but she was out of town. For a wide eyed 23 year old from out East, this was pretty wild to take in. How did I get here? It was really cool and really sad about Steve all at the same time, especially when I saw his Squaw season pass from, I believe, 1989 hanging in the bathroom. I will never forget the two years I spent in Tahoe, so wild and free. The reason I looked up this thread was because I'm trying to figure out how to get into speed skiing myself. I've always loved to go fast. The closest I've been able to come to speed skiing is entering an amateur race at Jay Peak in VT where they have a speed gun. The fastest I've gone is 84 mph and it was such a rush (until I crashed). Would love to just point them without worrying about gates. I think I've finally tracked down a way to get a pair of 238's, but if anyone out there can give me some info on how to get into this sport, I would love to know, because it is next to impossible to find out anything about it on the internet. Anyways, I really enjoyed the thread and wished I could have met Steve. He seemed like a really amazing person. I never did meet any famous skiers while I was in Tahoe, except for being introduced to Craig Kelly once in a lift line and playing pool with Kevin Andrews a couple times in the peanut bar (very cool down-to-earth guy without a big attitude). But you could definitely feel the presence of legends like Steve all around you when you were there.
steve shea

climber
Aug 21, 2013 - 12:07pm PT
Yup Steve was the real deal. A quick story. I think this was McKinney not sure but pretty sure.
At a press conference in Zermatt, after setting a new record in the Kilometro Lanciato, he was asked this question by a euro reporter. 'To what do you owe your success in speed events?' Steve without hesitating answered 'trout'. The reporter clearly did not understand the reference to the inspiration for Steve's design for his own helmet and leg foils. He went on to explain that he would sit by a creek and watch trout swim upstream. And got a design theory for an aerodynamic helmet from trout heads. Classic Steve as I remember.
Tamara if you are out there, all the best. We had great fun in the Rossignol days. SS
WBraun

climber
Aug 21, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
The fastest I've gone is 84 mph and it was such a rush (until I crashed).

LOL

You're supposed to crash. That's how you learn.

All of us did. Huge colossal egg beaters.

I learned a ton from Steve on subtle foot work and body positions.

You have to ski with these guys and follow them and pick up the subtle things
as those are the most important to riding at high speeds and keeping off the edges which slow you down.

It's a beautiful art.

I remember the peanut bar, hilarious times .....
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
Aug 21, 2013 - 12:50pm PT
if anyone out there can give me some info on how to get into this sport, I would love to know

The single speed skiing event in N America nowadays is the Velocity Challenge, at Sun Peaks, B.C., part of the FIS Speed Ski World Cup.

2014 dates are Wednesday, March 5th to Saturday, March 8th.

You can register and run the course. There's an official "speed" category, for which you need 240's and a current FIS license. More conventional (expert) skiers with 223s and regular downhill race gear can take part in the "downhill" category. Sun Peaks resort fences off and grooms "The Big Headwall". World class speed skiers, the Origone brothers and local Kenny Dale, hit top speeds of 160-170 kph.

Registration at http://velocitychallenge.com and http://speedskiingcanada.com/

edit - this is not a commercial message... I'm an old Tod Mtn/"Sun Peaks" ski bum, who was awed by the feats of Steve McKinney and Tom Simons... breaking 200kph on acid is some ability...
brodix

climber
Maryland
Mar 7, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
About '65
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Mar 8, 2014 - 01:52am PT
Some good times closing the river ranch
The piton is still there!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 8, 2014 - 01:56am PT

DiggerOdel

Sport climber
Medfield, Ma
Sep 13, 2014 - 10:58am PT
I didn't know him I was an admirer. I skied and hiked my hills to ski. I was young when I saw that Eagle helmet of his. It was so cool looking to a young skier. His speed skiing exploits were like some social phenomenon that was way out there like Frank Zappa or Evil Knievel. It was hard to comprehend going that fast on skis. We would go 70 and think it was a big excitement. He broke ground and was a pioneer. He influenced me to always try to do what your heart desires. I still do as I teach my boys to ski. And I tell them about the exploits of Steve McKinney.
vôo

climber
Denver, CO
Oct 22, 2014 - 05:58pm PT
Craig Calonica posted this to youtube

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Watching the video it is amazing watching how much better Steve flew when he was bolted into a pair of mountaineering skis. I think Steve was at his best when on skis.

Tips up

Remembering Catherine Freer
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Oct 22, 2014 - 06:55pm PT
Craig, thanks! So awesome how you always remember your Bros. I watched the entire Everest video. Never have seen it before and never knew that about your best friend. Wow! and Wow!

Peace and Joy to you and your life as well as your beautiful wife and daugher. Seth watched it with me and says howdy.

If Seth hadn't had pneumonia I bet you and Seth would have beat Gary and I in the infamous tennis match. Hope life will give us a rematch. Yerian sends hugs and Smiles. We're hoping to invade your hood sooner than later.
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujň de la Playa
Oct 22, 2014 - 07:15pm PT
This so cool and I'm stuck on an iPhone. How chaotic izzat?
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Oct 23, 2014 - 01:38am PT
So awesome the achievements of that era,
I just watched the video - the height of broadcast network sports with Curt Gowdy, reminded me of Tom Brokaw's filming in Yosemite, & various Wide World of Sports films.
Is Bob Carter related to Tom Carter?
when I was a kid in New England, my uncle, a ski racer & later coach, was best buds with CB Vaughn. I remember hearing a story about one of their group breaking their back skiing. That & our pedestrian view at the time such as how climbers on Cannon Mtn were absolutely nuts kept me out of these types of challenging sports until many years later, never really imagining how that sort of thing could be done. And McKinney was yet another step beyond.
But what ever happened to the speed course at Donner Summit? - always wanted to try that. I have probably only hit about 60 mph myself. Once had a ski fly off while I was going about 40 on St Anton at Mammoth. Unfortunately the downhill ski. Made it about another 50 yds on the uphill ski before a very grand crash (in hindsight).
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Oct 23, 2014 - 04:11am PT
Climbed & skied. Skied faster than any one alive

was trying yo be a safe driver too
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Oct 23, 2014 - 05:10am PT
Climbed & skied. Skied faster than any one alive

He was trying to be a safe driver too

After the accident that left a cloud over the fun and jovial crowd in the ‘70’s

Some on super topo were just remembering that sad chapter as well
The Donna Pritchett thread.

He did not want to,

not have learned,

from someone falling asleep at the wheel

He climbed into the back of his pickup truck to sleep for a bit

A sleepy big rig trucker ran into the back of his pickup
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 23, 2014 - 01:04pm PT
My younger bother is Sixty Years old Friday. I emailed him this morning.

I put the question to Brother Tim, former address at Olympic Village, now in Jamestown, about Steve.

He kindly replied this way:

Thanks. I'll be turning 60 this Friday.

Sounds like a good time at that film deal. I remember when you took me to see that dude ski off El Cap and then parachute
to the Valley floor. Sylvester Sudan was his name I think. Or maybe it was someone else. Do you remember?

Stevey Mac was a good friend. I worked for him for two years traveling around the western US putting on the Camel Speed Skiing Challenge.

I and another guy, LANCE, you remember Lance right? we would take the timing gear and the fencing to the ski areas and Steve and the
others (Kavey from Iran) that helped put on the show would fly out. It was a dream job. I worked the desk registering skiers. A bonus not having to go out and prepare the track!!!!

Then he died. got hit by a drunk on the road. sad deal.

He was a neat guy. Super cool. Easy going. Smart. Bold. Very sure of himself and his abilities.

I found the thread a long time ago when I was looking at your topo sight. I could have been in that picture of everyone at that Mexican restaurant in Truckee.

Fermins was the name of that place. Long gone....like a lot of things.
Yeti

Trad climber
Ketchum, Idaho
Oct 23, 2014 - 03:00pm PT
Mouse: You're thinking of Rick Sylvester.....
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujň de la Playa
Oct 23, 2014 - 07:07pm PT
I have been wondering - why the lack of smiles in that Fermins photo?

Weren't these the best of times?

I wasn't there, but I was in the vicinity and from what I've read here they were.

WBraun

climber
Oct 23, 2014 - 07:24pm PT
Steve was in Mammoth on one of his trips and got busted for not having a lift ticket.

Soooo stupid.

He was US team at that time and they gave comp tickets to them anyways.

But the mountain management was pissed he didn't go thru the right channels and busted him.

He now had punishment set out for him, lol.

I worked night crew at that time and the mountain told me I was in charge to make him work the night shift cleanup one night as his punishment, (hahaha) stooopid.

So he shows up and asks me not to work him too hard.

I told him he's now officially fuked and he's done for and it's gonna be hell sh!t job.

I tell him to get his sh!t and we're gonna start outside in the front.

We're the parking lot and "I say where's your car?".

Steve points to it thinking WTF is Werner gonna make me do out here?

Hahaha I tell him to get in his car and go home.

The mountain asked if Steve work hard.

"Yep" ... I said ...... hahaha
WBraun

climber
Oct 23, 2014 - 07:32pm PT
When Steve and Craig came to Mammoth they kept their skis in my room on the mountain.

So did a lot of other people.

Bridwell had a lot a skis in there.

One day a big wig mountain manager came walking by and walked into my room because it was open.

There were probably 40 pairs of skis in there at that particular time lol.

He thought I was the mountain ski thief at first.

Luckily some of those big name skiers names were on those boards .......
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujň de la Playa
Oct 23, 2014 - 07:45pm PT
Too bad tech wasn't what it is today. That's a heck of a missed photo op. Right there!


Weren't ski team members sposed to use these? Seems like Steve just missed another night (off) of working for you. :}

Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Oct 23, 2014 - 09:13pm PT
Nice stories, Werner, thanks for the share. Cheers, lynnie.
zBrown

Ice climber
Nov 25, 2015 - 07:41am PT
Let's make it a nice round 200. Another year slipped by (November 10). I can't help but wonder what Mr. McKinney might have accomplished in all these years and what cool things he would have been doing today.

Heck, maybe he would have had his own shoe line [heh].

zBrown

Ice climber
Oct 13, 2017 - 12:43pm PT
STEVE MCKINNEY SKIS MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN PARANOID FLATZ/PARANOIDS IN THE 1970S IN HIS USUAL STYLE—FAST AND TUCKED, PHOTO BY ERIC PERLMAN PRODUCTIONS

STEVE MCKINNEY TAKES A SPEED-SKIING RUN ON STORM PEAK AT SILVERTON, COLORADO, IN 1981, PHOTO BY DAVID E. CARMAZZI




notated.jpg


Tim Bermingham

Mountain climber
Jamestown, California. U.S.A.
Oct 13, 2017 - 06:11pm PT
He was so awesome. My girlfriend got to meet him this morning and the rest of my departed friends. Mac woulda liked her. But hey Steve was the kina guy who liked everybody. I guess that's one good thing for today this Friday the 13th. RIP Annie. I guess I'm in shock still.
nah000

climber
now/here
Oct 13, 2017 - 08:32pm PT
zBrown... that top pic is one of the coolest images i've seen on st in a long, long, long time...

in fact last pic i can recall seeing on here that oozed that much integral style was one of eKat's motocross pics...



that pic is like if dogtown and z-boys made love with sex, drugs, and rock and roll... and then put on a pair of skis and had their picture taken.

only criticism i have is that you really should put a warning label at the top of your post and then a page of white space before the image... something along the lines of:

WARNING viewing this image while being female and of childbearing age, may cause spontaneous and unwanted pregnancies WARNING

seriously: there's more actual cool in that one image then i'm pretty sure exists in whole hipster neighborhoods of today...



i have no choice but to post it again...

zBrown

Ice climber
Oct 14, 2017 - 12:24am PT
DAMN. . . this is such a good thread. . . the stuff TheTacoStand is flat out famous for. . .
we need more stuff like this, these days.

....



I'm so sorry for your losses Tim

You chose yourself an excellent fellow as a boss and I'm sure an equally excellent mate

Dick Erb

climber
June Lake, CA
Oct 14, 2017 - 05:53pm PT
I was so glad to see this thread come up again I reread it again end to end. Getting to know Steve was one of the true delights of my years lived at Tahoe; so confident, but with no arrogance, so friendly in an open natural way. You would never no his legendary skills by talking to him, but if you skied with him or talked to the hard core skiers the awe was right there. He got into climbing by going for it on hard climbs with the best climbers around, relying on his super human strength and courage while learning the technique. No wonder he took a hundred foot ripper. That would have stopped most people.
vôo

climber
Denver, CO
Jul 17, 2018 - 05:13pm PT
There is some good commentary on Steve here:
https://www.sierrasun.com/news/sports/hall-of-fame-welcomes-speed-skiing-legend-steve-mckinney/

When we were in Lhasa Steve was buying up all the turquoise he could find. The Tibetan women had him surrounded.

Later when we were sharing dinner in Roskelly's tent Steve started talking about all the good turquoise he picked up.

One of the Brits there mentioned he had been looking but hadn't found any. Steve remarked it was probably because he got it all.

Steve went back to his tent and gathered up the rocks and returned. The Brit said it looks pretty good, got a lighter? Steve handed over a Bic and the turquoise melted onto the floor of the tent.
zBrown

Ice climber
Apr 23, 2019 - 08:07pm PT
Article

Has photos including the shirtess Steve

https://www.sierrasun.com/sports/hall-of-fame-welcomes-speed-skiing-legend-steve-mckinney/#

Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Apr 24, 2019 - 04:22am PT
The Beer Garden was the peanut bar at squaw, if that helps.
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