Michael Milton had never tried speed skiing when he packed his bag and headed for Sun Peaks in Canada to compete in the Velocity Challenge in February 2003.
'It's very different to ski racing which is all about turning,' said the five-time Paralympian. 'Speed skiing is about balance, aerodynamics and overcoming fear,' explained Michael.
Competing in the production class (for skiers without the special speed skiing suit and helmet), Michael skied 153 km/hr, only three km/hr behind the able-bodied winner.
'My goal was to crack 150km/hr and learn as much as possible about speed skiing,' said Michael. He had achieved his first speed skiing goals and was off to try the longer, steeper hills in France.
He begged and borrowed the right gear (a special speed skiing suit, aerodynamic helmet and longer ski) to compete in the unlimited class at the Red Rock speed skiing event in Les Arcs in April.
'Every time someone crashed, I was there in a second to see if they'd broken a ski. One good ski is no use to someone with two legs,' quipped Michael.
He was looking forward to getting some practice on the steeper slopes when bad weather meant a week-long wait with no skiing.
'Skiing can be a frustrating sport at times. We are always at the mercy of the weather.' But his chance finally came and, after a few runs over two days, he clocked 172 km/hr and was really pleased.
'I learned a lot and gained some confidence. I worked my way up to a higher start and was really enjoying the ride.'
Then, on the last day of competition late in the afternoon, Michael felt everything come together in a run that he knew was fast.
'You don't see the speed until the end of your run but I could feel it was fast. I knew what 172km/hr felt like so I could tell it was much faster.'
But it wasn't until he reached the bottom of the slope and glanced at the board that he realised he'd clocked 193.16km/hr and broken the 16-year-old world record '… at my second competition ever,' said an elated Milton.