BASILDON skier Caroline Powell helped Great Britain to its first medal of the Winter Paralympics.

Nineteen-year-old Powell is the guide for visually impaired skier Jade Etherington who took silver in the women’s downhill this morning, the opening event in Sochi, Russia.

Etherington, with guide Powell, swept home in one minute 34.28 seconds to claim Britain's first Paralympic medal on the slopes in 20 years.

"We had a good run despite my crash at the end,” Lincoln-based Etherington said.

“I think I was just so happy to go through the line that I couldn't stop in time. I was aiming for the finish line, saying 'go, go, go' and listening to Caroline. I hope I have done GB proud.”

There will be no time for celebrating the medal though, though. "Tomorrow is my day off and my birthday," she added. "We will come and watch and then we are racing on Monday and Tuesday."

The silver is Britian’s first Winter Paralympic medal since those won in Turin eight years ago.

Powell and Etherington’s GB team-mate Kelly Gallagher, with guide Charlotte Evans, finished sixth.