First Name: Sarah
Last Name: Conrad
Sport: Snowboarding
Inductee Type: Athlete
Year Inducted: 2022
Home Town: Dartmouth
County: Halifax

She was the ultimate longshot…

Coming from a province without year-round snow and without Olympic-sized snowboard courses…

And making it to 2 consecutive Olympic Games.

In fact, many still call the story of Sarah Conrad “unlikely.”

Sarah agrees, but with a caveat…

“I would rephrase that slightly to say, ‘Unlikely, but possible’” smiles Conrad. “For sure, it was an uphill battle, pardon the pun. And yes, we are geographically challenged in Nova Scotia. But there was just enough. And when there’s just enough, and you really want something, you can figure out a way to make it happen.”

The unlikely but possible journey for Sarah Conrad began at a young age, and she didn’t need to look far for early motivation…

“I have a twin brother, Jonathan, and he was my main competition growing up. I pretty much did everything with him,” recalls Conrad. “Our parents first took us skiing when we were 2, and we loved it. We were always at the hill at Martock. One day, we saw people snowboarding and thought, ‘Hey, that looks cool – you can do tricks and actually go backwards.’ I was instantly hooked.”

“Sarah was at the hill all the time,” remembers former provincial coach, Natasha Burgess Johnson. “She was so dedicated to getting better and she put the work in. And if somebody with natural talent is going to out and practice all the time, they’re going to get better.  And Sarah got better… quickly!”

So much so that a vision of competing at the Olympics was rapidly coming into focus. Conrad was driven by this vision, and was inspired by someone from that same Martock hill who had made his dream a reality.

“Trevor Andrew proved to me it was possible,” says Conrad. “He competed at 2 Olympics, 1998 in Nagano and 2002 in Salt Lake City. I still have my first ever snowboard trophy, from the ‘Trevor Andrew Snowboard League.’ I remember being blown away that an entire league could be named after a snowboarder. I though that was the coolest thing ever. So I credit him for blazing the trail, and proving that an Olympic snowboarder could come from this hill in Windsor.”

Conrad would win plenty more trophies and awards as a junior snowboarder, and would eventually go on to compete in two Olympic games herself – 2006 in Torino, Italy, and 2010 in Vancouver, BC. She’d also win two medals on the Snowboard World Cup circuit and a Canadian championship in 2009.

And much like she was inspired by Trevor Andrew, many young snowboarders, especially females, were inspired by her. 2014 Olympian Alex Duckworth is one of them…

“Sarah was definitely the first girl who was out there with the guys in snowboarding and I think that really contributed to other young girls, including myself, getting into the sport locally and then even nationally and internationally,” says Duckworth. “When she was competing she was always just so classy and graceful. She had a real style that we all tried emulate.

We actually coined a term on the national team, it was ‘WWSD, What Would Sarah Do?’, and that was kind of our guiding light throughout our whole career. Whenever we were unsure of how to train or how to act, we would just look at each other and say, “WWSD?’  You just couldn’t go wrong following her lead.”

Natasha Burgess Johnson adds: “She was that first female to go away to a junior world championship, to win World Cup medals, to go the Olympics, and all of that having happened from her base of Martock. I think that’s just a great story. And then to know what that ripple was after her. I mean, hundreds of young girls took up snowboarding because of Sarah Conrad. She was, without question, the inspiration for many of the athletes that I coached.”

An inspiration, it turned out, both on and off the hill. From an early age, Conrad realized her role in the sport and the importance of giving back. Fellow Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Famer, and the former President of the Nova Scotia Snowboard Association, has memories of her selflessness…

“She’d be off finishing fourth in Austria at a half-pipe competition, and the following week she’d be home,” remembers Stephen Fairbairn. “And I know what it’s like on the road – it’s grueling and you’re tired and you just want to regenerate. But the following Saturday she’d be at 600-foot Martock giving out medals to the kids who were competing in their local junior events. She was such an unassuming superstar who always made time for the sport. She’s a huge reason, maybe the biggest reason, why snowboarding has grown so much in the province.”

“You know, snowboard athletes from Nova Scotia have represented Canada at six of the last seven Winter Olympics,” says the always modest Conrad. “I’m proud to be a link in that chain, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the sport in the province. There are great days ahead!”

***Sarah Conrad is a full-time Mom to 5-year old Jaxon. In her spare time, she works as a strength coach and does some private training. She says that surfing is her retirement sport, and that there is much more cushion when you fall in the water as opposed to on the snow!***

  • Two-time Olympian (2006 and 2010)
  • Two-time medal winner on the Snowboard World Cup circuit
  • Canadian championship gold medallist in 2009, silver medallist in 2007, and bronze medallist in 2006 and 2008
  • Won three Nor-Am Cup competitions between 2001 and 2003
  • Represented Canada at two World Championships