Alice in skiing wonderland

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Europeans and North Americans dominate the world of ski racing, but Alice Robinson is gate-crashing their party. Philip Chandler finds out why, at just 17, this Aussie-born Queenstowner has the world at her ski-booted feet.

 

Ski racer Alice Robinson’s mind-blowing European season, culminating in second place in the last World Cup giant slalom in March, surprised everyone, including herself.

However the 17-year-old schoolgirl, who last year became New Zealand’s youngest Winter Olympian, has been standing out – and standing up – from a very young age.

Mum Sarah Robinson recalls she was walking at nine months – “we all had to be on deck pretty early on”.

Growing up in Sydney, her first taste of snow was a family skiing holiday to Cardrona, when she was three.

At four, the family moved to Queenstown – her dad Dave was able to work remotely, “and we just thought we’d come over for a couple of years”, Sarah says.

At Arrowtown Montessori, “they used to be constantly saying, ‘oh my gosh, Sarah, what are we going to do with her?’ ‘cos she would always be walking across the equipment and things like that”.

“She was a bit of a liability, she was always balancing and teetering on the edge.”

Alice started ski racing with the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team (QAST) at eight.

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