Legendary ski racing coach Conrad Guay died early Thursday, following a long battle with an illness. He was 82 years old.
The ski racing pioneer and creative, hard-working coach who helped many ski racers reach milestones and develop into champions, including his own son Erik – a two time world champion with 25 World Cup medals – is remembered and celebrated on social media from coast to coast.
“It’s with great sadness that we say goodbye to one of ski racing’s finest, Conrad Guay,” said Therese Brisson, Alpine Canada CEO and president. “Conrad was an incredible coach at all competitive levels and the beloved father of alumnus Erik Guay. All of us at Alpine Canada send our sincerest condolences to the Guay family on their loss.”
As the director of the Mont-Tremblant Ski Club from 1973 to 1989, Guay moved on to coach the Laurentian zone team, Quebec ski team and then one season as a national ski team coach.
At Mont Tremblant, across Quebec and the country, Guay is considered legendary.
“You could talk for hours and hours to Conrad about technique; he was always thinking and strategizing how to do it better,” said Daniel Lavallée, CEO of Ski Quebec Alpin. “He was a real thinker about how to get athletes to the next level.”
According to insiders, Conrad’s coaching style was unique. He was a student of the sport, always analyzing ways to find an advantage or how to perfect a skill. His coaching style was to empower his pupils to control things on their own.
“He was as passionate as he was controversial in his style of coaching,” Lavallée said. “He got the results, his athletes did well and they produced. He also was the first one to give credit to others. With Erik he gave credit to his U10 coach [downplaying his own coaching influence] and allowed Erik to just enjoy the mountain … you don’t see that enough these days.”
Conrad started skiing later, at some point in his mid teens, and moved to Mont Tremblant from Rougemont, Que., where he was a firefighter. There he met and married Ellen and raised three children – Kristian, Stefan and Erik – most of whom still reside in Mont Tremblant, including Ellen who continues as a ski pro with the Tremblant Snow School.
Conrad skied nearly every day. He is survived by his wife Ellen, three sons Kristian, Erik and Stefan – and grandchildren.