Queenstown ski racer Alice Robinson’s sensational second World Cup win last weekend was a “breakthrough”, a top coach says.
Alice, 18, won the women’s giant slalom in Slovenia, at Kranjska Gora, after a blistering second run that a commentator labelled “a rocket run”.
“I think this is the beginning,” New Zealand men’s coach, Arrowtowner Nils Coberger, says.
“Alice is just going to keep winning.”
Coberger says last weekend’s title means more than her season-opening win in Austria, last October, as skiers were just feeling out each other whereas now there’s no hiding – “everyone knows what you’ve been doing for the last weeks or months”.
This latest win again proved to him she’s technically the best women’s GS skier in the world because she’s carving every turn rather than skidding – a technique Coberger taught her on Queenstown’s Coronet Peak three years ago.
“The power she brings into the top of the turn, no one’s done that before.
“It’s high-risk high-reward, and you need to be very, very powerful, but Alice is so physically strong – she squats 150kg, for an 18-year-old that’s amazing.
“She’s getting faster and faster and faster, she’s getting rid of her mistakes, she’s becoming more tactically aware of what she needs to do on the course.”
Coberger says her other strength is her will to win. Despite “a huge mistake” on her first run last weekend, she didn’t hold back in an explosive second run to overtake world GS champion, Slovakian Petra Vlhova.
“That’s what makes her so good, she doesn’t want to finish on the podium, she wants to win.
“And you never want to temper that because so many athletes deal with doubt.”
Coberger, who joined Alice for a four-day training block in Italy this month, says her coaches Jeff Fergus and Chris Knight, who coached superstar Lindsey Vonn, “are just doing an amazing job”.
With three World Cups left, he believes she’s a chance to win the GS globe, despite being 109 points behind series leader, Italian Federica Brignone.
Alice’s Slovenia win came two days after she won the award at NZ’s Halberg Awards.
She wasn’t the only Queenstown snowsport athlete to take the world by storm last weekend.
After almost two years out of competition due to injury, snowboarder Tiarn Collins came back to win a World Cup slopestyle in Calgary, Canada, in a field featuring some of the world’s best riders.
“It feels good to be back competing and a win is insane, I can’t believe it,” he says.
Collins suffered a shoulder injury days out from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and has been battling back ever since.