An interview with: Brett Wild
Brett Wild is a ski guide for Paralympic athlete Millie Knight. Brett is a Royal Navy submariner and was selected to guide the partially sighted skier back in 2016, in preparation for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Below is bagSOLO’s exclusive interview with him.
How did you come to be the ski guide for Millie?
In February 2016 I was ski racing with the Royal Navy team in Tignes when Euan Bennet, Millie’s old coach, contacted me asking if I could do a trial period with a VI Ski racer – I had to ask what a VI ski racer was! After he explained it meant they were visually impaired, I was so excited to try it. I went along for the trial period in Austria, and luckily it went well. Millie then asked me to compete with her at the World Cup in Aspen, Colorado – considering we’d only trained together for a week, we did exceptionally well to win two races.
How much of the year do you spend training on snow?
100 days minimum. In total, including travel and rest days, we’re away for almost 140 days a year.
Describe a typical day of training?
The alarm wakes us at 5:15am, and we do activation for 30 minutes before breakfast – activation is stretching and foam rolling areas of the body that may have stiffened up overnight. After breakfast, we go to the gondola and catch the first one of the day. We then do a warm up at the top of the holl, before getting our boots on. Skiing is then split into two sessions, both of which are normally 2 hours long with a 15 minute break to refuel and relax. After we finish skiing we download together, and then do a 45 minutes recovery. This could include spinning the legs out on the bike, a yoga session or stretching. Every other day we do a gym session in the afternoon, whether that is strength or conditioning. We then spent about 30 minutes each with our coach Amanda Pirie doing video analysis, and identify what we can work on the next day. Finally, we have dinner, and I’m usually in bed before 9pm!
How in tune with each other do you have to be to get down the mountain at 80mph?!
The most important thing is that we both have to trust each other fully. From the start, Millie and I have got on extremely well and that made it a lot easier. My girlfriend and I spent two weeks down at Millie and her mother’s house in the summer, which was great. We went to a few concerts and Millie came and stayed with my parents too. On the slope, we’re connected with a Bluetooth headset, so we’re in constant communication. I tell her what I see, what is coming up, and exactly when to turn.
Where is your favourite place that you have travelled to with Millie?
Aspen, Colorado. The place was amazing and the skiing was fantastic!
What are your ambitions for the end of this year and 2018?
Our main ambition is to get selected for the Paralympics in 2018. We have races coming up in mid-December, so hopefully we can secure a few good results and get chosen by the first selection date, on 23rd December.