Michelle Salt was a member of Canada’s first ever Paralympic Games snowboard team in 2014. She was the only Canadian in women’s competition and placed ninth in the snowboard cross. She joined the national team a year earlier. She lives in Calgary and trains with Evolve Snowboard Club at COP and Lake Louise.
When she’s not training, she enjoys other sports such as cycling, wakeboarding and kayaking. She also spends time speaking for STARS and Canadian Blood services as a patient/recipient.
Salt is relatively new to the para-snowboard world as she lost her right leg above the right knee in a near-fatal motorcycle accident in June 2011. Upon losing her leg, Salt became determined to one day participate in the Paralympic Games. She says, “Snowboarding has always been a passion of mine, so it made sense to turn that love in to a medal someday. It was such an incredible feeling to get back on the board after hearing it may never happen again.”
Salt competed in her first fitness competition just five weeks before her accident. Doctors told her family that a huge part of her surviving was the strong condition of her heart. She is a strong advocate for blood donation as she lost a great deal of blood and would not have survived without receiving donated blood.
Salt is also a sales rep for a propane company, a realtor and a motivational speaker. She hopes to compete in cycling at the summer Paralympic Games.
Para-snowboarding was included in the Paralympics for the first time at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.
FAMILY: Michelle competed in natural luge as a kid and developed a love of speed early. Her parents ran the Devon Luge track and when she was eight, she would slide 80 km/hr trying not to hit a frozen hay bale or tree.
GETTING INTO THE SPORT: Michelle says, “Because I’m a mid-thigh above the knee amputee, I had to not only learn the movements of snowboarding again but learn how to use this gnarly prosthetic knee. Despite the frustration I felt that day, it was such an incredible feeling to get back on the board after hearing it may never happen again.”
ODDS AND ENDS: It was Team Canada’s sledge hockey captain Greg Westlake who encouraged Michelle to follow her Paralympic dreams. Three weeks after her accident, he happened to be at a training camp in Edmonton and he rented a car to visit her in hospital in Calgary, to give advice and guidance on getting started and involved in Paralympic competition.
2014 Sochi Paralympics
Snowboard Cross - Women