By age six, Millie Knight lost 92% of her sight in both eyes and at the same age started skiing. Today, at just 19 years old, Millie is a double Winter Paralympian, three-time Paralympic medallist and current World Para Alpine Downhill Champion – titles she won competing with her sighted ski guide, Brett Wild.
We're proud to call Millie and Brett Drysure ambassadors and took some time out to catch up with them off the slopes, after their whirlwind Paralympic year...
You’ve won gold at the World Championships and three Winter Paralympic medals but outside of your medal success what’s your favourite personal highlight/memory in your skiing career so far?
Millie: Even though I have a few highlights - my first medal I won with Brett in Aspen at the Aspen World Cup finals 2016, is up there, but I can’t not add my Downhill Silver at PyeongChang 2018 - it’s too significant. We had a terrible start to the 2017/18 season and for the run up to the Paralympics in March 2018 - I was definitely not on form. On top of that, race after race, on the World Cup circuit was cancelled due to the enormous amount of snow that had fallen from December. I needed the race practice to build up my confidence after a crash at the test event in PyeongChang the year before. My skiing was falling to bits and I could not get on the snow to bring it back. We were so lucky to have been selected for the ParalympicsGB team after such poor results before Christmas. It was a very difficult time. So, standing in the start gate on the first day of the Games, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. I did not want to push out of that start gate and fly down the mountain at over 100km/h, following my very talented and very patient guide, Brett. I don’t even know how we got to the finish line, but we did. It made me so happy just to be in one piece and on my two feet but when Brett told me over our Bluetooth headset that we had done really well, I couldn’t believe it - Winning that silver was like winning platinum gold!
Brett: Becoming Britain’s first Snowsport World Champions was my personal highlight. I will never forget our coach telling us after that race we were the first to achieve this and it felt great. It’s the last time we both were on top form so fingers crossed we can get back to that this season. Outside of the medal success I agree with Millie that getting back to racing within months of returning to snow after her concussion was remarkable. There was extremely difficult times throughout the recovery period but looking back now I’m sure they have made us a stronger team.
What are the most important pieces of equipment you can’t live without?
Millie: Without a doubt headphones for my music, on and off snow. My Head skis and our Sena Bluetooth headsets to communicate with.
Brett: I would say our Head skis are the most important piece of equipment, as well as my Drysure.
How important is footcare and what do you do to help protect your feet?
Millie: Looking after my boots is very important. If you start the day in wet boots your feet will be cold all day. I don’t want any other distractions when I’m racing/training - cold feet don’t help you ski well. I have used Drysure for two seasons now and they are an essential bit of kit. They get popped into my boot as soon as I take them off - they are brilliant and work 100%. We often finish training or racing and go straight from the slopes to an airport, with no time to dry boots off - Drysure go straight in and you know they will be drying my boots on the way home - they are truly genius - I’m not just saying that either - every skier should use them.
Brett: Footcare is very important, I wear orthotics to make my feet more comfortable in my boots and when doing exercise. I also love my Drysure Extreme’s. They allow me to dry my boots without heating them up and remolding the boots. Whenever we get a new pair of boots we spend hours getting them molded perfectly to your feet. So to have a way of drying the boots without effecting this is fantastic.
What’s the funniest joke you’ve heard on a chairlift?
Millie: I can never remember jokes- ask Brett he is the funny one.
Brett: Why did the chewing gum cross the road? Because it was stuck to the chicken’s foot. This is the only joke I can think of from a chairlift. Typical dad joke, it’s awful...
Where’s your favourite place to ski and why?
Millie: Canada every time. It’s big and natural and the Canadians are so friendly. They also have little individual milk cartons and everywhere smells of cinnamon - I love that.
Brett: Aspen for me, it was our first camp together and it was absolutely fantastic. The skiing was great and the place was lovely. Not sure I would be able to afford to take my Fiancee there on holiday, a little out my price range!