In the wake of Queenstown ski racer Alice Robinson’s stunning season-opening World Cup win last weekend, a leading coach has revealed the secret behind her “mind-boggling” success.
In Solden, Austria, the 17-year-old claimed the women’s giant slalom (GS) title by .06 seconds from superstar American Mikaela Shriffin – for her first World Cup win.
New Zealand men’s coach, Arrowtowner Nils Coberger, says that, unlike her rivals, Alice tries to carve the top of every turn, rather than drift.
“We’ve always believed that it’s faster – it’s just physics.”
Coberger says he introduced the technique to Alice when she came into his academy, at Queenstown’s Coronet Peak, two years ago, but that it’s also been bought into by her former coach Tim Cafe and current coaches Chris Knight and Jeff Fergus.
“I think she’s truly going to change the way that people ski GS, technically.
“If you can bend the ski sharp enough and you’re powerful enough and you’ve got the skill factor, which Alice has all of, it’s simply faster.”
Coberger believes her rivals will have to adopt the technique, but that it’ll take them a year or two.
“It happens in all sport – [All Black] Sonny Bill Williams starts doing offloads, and now everyone does them.”
Coberger believes Alice’s other strength is her incredible will to win.
“I’ve worked with a lot of elite athletes who have won multiple medals, and I have never worked with an athlete who is as mentally strong as Alice, who has her straightforward drive to win every race.
“She is the complete package, as an athlete.”
He believes she’ll have a fair crack at winning the GS globe this northern hemisphere sea-son.
“She’s only 17 and she’s beaten the greatest GS and slalom skier of all time, Mikaela Shriffin, who’s 24 and in her prime.
“She’s blown every Austrian, Italian and Swiss out of the water, and this is just the beginning.
“It’s just fantastic that someone from our part of the world can start to dominate a sport that is a truly global sport.”
What also impresses Coberger is that Alice had never skied the glacier she won on before last weekend.
“It’s like going to a golf course you’ve never played on and beating Tiger Woods, but he’s played it for the last 10 years.”