Skiing star splits with coach


A Queenstowner recently honoured for coaching rising local ski racing star Alice Robinson is no longer coaching her.

Ex-Olympian Tim Cafe, who’s coached Alice since she was nine, was named ‘coach of the year’ at last month’s Otago Sports Awards.

It was due recognition for his role in coaching the 17-year-old through a stellar northern hemisphere season, culminating in her placing second in the World Cup giant slalom final in Andorra.

This past season, however, Alice also started working with ex-United States women’s team coaches Chris Knight and Jeff Fergus, who’ve each also coached retired US super-star Lindsey Vonn.

Knight and Fergus, who formed their International Ski Racing Academy last year, will now be Alice’s full-time coaches.

Alice’s mum Sarah says: “The decision to go with Chris’ group wasn’t an easy decision but I think we all knew that she needed to have that World Cup-level coaching, going forward.

“And Tim had other things as well that he wanted to do.”

Sarah says “it’s been quite an incredible dream run for the two of them”.

“It’s been like a fairy tale, to be honest – he taught her how to ski, really.

“He’s sort of played big brother, technician, coach, everything – we’re so grateful.

“Timbo will always be there for her, he’s very much part of the family.”

Cafe, 31, says he has no problem with Alice moving on to a bigger programme.

“Part of the reason was that I just didn’t really have the time commitment to be able to do everything full-time with her.

“I wanted to do my own stuff as well, ” he says, referring particularly to his new venture guiding high-end American skiers.

Cafe adds that coaching relationships also have a shelf life.

He says he’s loved every minute of his association with Alice – “she’s like my little sister”.

He’s got no doubt she’ll go far.

“In the next year, onwards, I expect her to be a regular top-five finisher in GS, and as far as world championships and Olympics in the next five to 10 years, she has every chance of winning a medal.”