Being named to Team Canada’s snowboard team for the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympics did not come as a big surprise for Alberta’s Michelle Salt.
Sister to Sylvan Lake’s Claire Vrolyk, Salt believed her qualifying runs were good enough to make the Paralympic team once again.
“I knew I was pretty close, so I honestly wasn’t too surprised,” Salt said in a phone interview Thursday.
It was officially announced on Feb. 21 that Salt and six other athletes would be heading for the South Korea.
Salt says the announcement of her teammates was “more special,” especially the reveal she would no longer be the only female on the snowboard team.
At the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Salt was the only female Canadian named to the team. This time around she is joined by Sandrine Hamel, from Saint-Sauveur, Que.
She says having Hamel on the team is “refreshing.”
“I finally have someone to push me,” Salt said of Hamel.
The two snowboarders work and ride at a similar level, which makes it easier to work with and against each other, according to Salt.
“The guys ride at a different level than I do, so it is hard to compare and push myself against them.”
Going on to the Paralympics for the second time is an exciting experience for Salt, who says she is really looking forward to the course.
The snowboard course was particularly rough in the 2014 Winter Paralympics, according to Salt.
“I really struggled in Sochi. All of us girls with above the knee amputations really struggled,” said Salt, who finished ninth at the 2014 games.
Salt says she is looking forward to a different course, and the unique challenges it is sure to bring to her ride.
The one moment in particular she is looking forward to is the Opening Ceremonies, which will be held around 4 a.m. local time on March 9.
She calls the Opening Ceremonies overwhelming in indescribable.
“It’s absolutely incredible to walk out with the entire team,” she said. “And everyone just loves Canada so we always get a loud cheer when we come out.”
The journey to the Paralympics has been long and trying, but Salt is determined to just try her best on the course, and “make Canada proud.”
Her goal is to be proud of her accomplishments and to be happy with her run on the course when all is said and done.
While a medal would be great, she says it isn’t about that.
“We get caught up in winning or getting the medal. I’m going to take my time and just remember the process.
“Though it would be great to bring home some hardware,” Salt said with a laugh.
She is travelling to PyeongChang early to take everything in before the opening ceremonies and acclimate to the new environment.
Before the Opening Ceremony and the games begin, Salt says she is going to take it easy with some light workouts and meditation to prepare.
Before she heads home after the games are done she wants to make a trip to Seoul for a visit to the Raccoon Cafe, a cafe where you can hang out and visit with live raccoons.
“The Raccoon Cafe is at the top of my list of things to do in Korea before I come home,” said Salt.
The 2018 Winter Paralympics run from March 8-18.