uvex helmet protects young Paralympic skier
06 October 2017
Millie Knight is an 18-year-old partially-sighted Paralympic athlete in the slalom and giant slalom events. She competes at international level in alpine skiing with guide Brett Wild. HSM met Millie to discuss her thoughts on head protection.
Over the past four years, Millie has won many gold, silver and bronze medals, including four golds in the 2016/17 World Cup at Innerkrems, Austria, in January this year, and gold, plus three silvers, at the Tarvisio 2017 World Para Alpine Championships held in Italy in February. Millie wears helmets and goggles from uvex to protect her head and eyes and enable her to ski race to her fullest potential.
In terms of equipment, Millie says this technology is important for her ability to compete and to for assurance of safety. "Safety comes first," asserts Millie. "I have used uvex equipment for a number of years and it’s the brand I trust. The helmets are comfortable and light and I can attach my Bluetooth communication headset easily to them. uvex goggles are the best on the market. I never have any problems with the lenses fogging up, and the option of many different filtered lenses means I can choose the right ones for all the different conditions when I’m on the snow.
"Another reason I like my uvex helmet is because of the fit with my Sena headset – communication with my guide Brett at 115km/hour is vital on the snow for both safety and good results. I have struggled in the past with my POC-brand helmet, as all the tiny wires of my communication headset system had to be taped to the outside of the helmet. These would freeze and become brittle, so I was always having to replace various parts. However, now I have my uvex helmet, all the wires are tucked neatly away inside so they are not exposed to the freezing weather conditions. The battery pack sits firmly onto the side by the ears. So, nothing freezes any more. I have very little sight in both eyes and rely on a tiny bit of peripheral vision, so if my goggles fog up anywhere, it could be a disaster at 115km/hour. I choose uvex products for their reliability and the problems they solve."
Having had a recent crash at the World Championships, Millie is fully aware of the importance of protective equipment is. Despite her crash, she was able to continue with her races for the rest of the week because her head was protected. "For me," Millie continues, "uvex helmets are different because they fit my head so well, and because the intercoms I use to communicate with my guide (who also uses uvex), can be safely placed onto the outside of the helmet."Protection and safety are the number one reasons I choose uvex, but I also love the design and colours I have had over the years. I currently wear a white helmet that matches the speed suit that I ski in. The fit is also very important as I don't want to end up with a headache or with sore ears. The same applies to the goggles – I don't want to obscure my small area of vision and uvex goggles are brilliant at avoiding this happening."
Behind the scenes, Millie has some pro-tips for equipment maintenance and cleaning: "My biggest tip is to keep the lenses of your goggles from scratching by always putting them in a cloth bag when not in use. Also, never drop your helmet.
"I am the one who wears my equipment, so I tend to look after it. That way I can always guarantee that it has the best care. I have pre-race routine for all my kit to ensure I haven't forgotten anything."
Millie will be chasing more medals when she competes in the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Winter Games.