New world junior champion Alice Robinson has continued a remarkable year for New Zealand snow sports.
The Queenstown teenager won the world giant slalom title this week in Italy, where she is based with her coach Tim Cafe.
Just a week ago, the 2018 Olympian posted the fastest time among the top 30 on the second run at the senior world championships in Sweden. This remarkable achievement for a 17-year-old confirmed the Kiwi as a rising world star.
With teenage Wanaka snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott winning world and X Games gold medals, snow sports have hit a peak this year.
Robinson chatted after her Italian triumph.
You were born in Sydney ...
I was four when we came here. My parents had been to New Zealand on holidays and just loved living in the mountains and loved Queenstown. My dad decided he wanted to move over here permanently. I think it was meant to be a trial but they enjoyed it so much.
What do they do?
My mum doesn't work. My dad works on the money markets, he's a futures trader.
Did you have any other career aims, before skiing?
I'm still at school, just doing the normal subjects, the basics. For the moment I'm just going to focus on the skiing and see how it goes. I haven't really thought about another career choice.
When did skiing take over?
Probably when I was 15 ... when I started racing at the senior level, international level. I was getting good results, really enjoying it.
By all accounts, you have natural speed on the snow. Where does that come from?
I've got a bit of natural speed ... I think it comes from hard work, a lot of hard work.
You've got to have a lot of guts, you can't be afraid ... when you are going down a mountain really fast, a lot of people are a bit scared. To be fast you have to embrace the speed and not be afraid of what is going to happen if you crash.
What other sports do you play?
I used to do a lot of netball, soccer, and when I was younger ripper rugby, also a bit of horse riding. A bit of everything.
I competed at South Island level in netball and horse riding, regional teams for soccer. But you reach a point where you've got to focus on one thing. I don't get the chance to pursue anything else now.
You've got to have a lot of guts, you can't be afraid ... when you are going down a mountain really fast, a lot of people are a bit scared.
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Not so far, touch wood. I've had a few crashes which have been pretty hard but I haven't had any injuries. But ski racing is a pretty dangerous sport — look at a lot of the top athletes and all of them have had quite serious injuries.
How have you avoided injury so far?
I'm not sure, I guess you've got to look at other factors ... you've got to work really hard in the gym to make sure all your muscles are strong, so if you crash you've got support, and not being too dumb I guess.
How hard is the training, and what effect does it have on your social life?
In the off season I train four hours a day in the gym, usually six days a week. During season it's about three hours on the hill, and another hour doing physical. When I'm at home I've got a great group of friends I hang out with them and do as much as I can to socialise. When I'm skiing and training I'm fully focused on that.
Did you have a childhood hero?
Try to think ... not sure about heroes but I definitely looked up to (American ski racers) Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn. They were big names, I was young, and they were the best. Bode was a risk taker and fun to watch. Everyone was a fan of Bode.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Work hard ... natural ability comes into it a bit but if you have natural ability and don't work hard you will never get anywhere.
What's your main ski racing aim right now?
To compete on the top level of World Cup, world champs and Olympic. When you win a world junior title you get to compete in World Cup finals which only the top 25 are allowed to do. I want to crack the top 30 and work my way up from there.
Is funding difficult?
My parents and sponsors keep me going ... the cost varies, but it's expensive. We just need heaps of sponsors. Once you start making results the ski brands approach you. Most teams have about five staff members. We've got one because of the tight budget.
You have spent time training in America ...
Yes, when I was younger, but most ski racing at the highest level happens in Europe.
How much time do you get to spend in New Zealand?
Five months this year. I enjoy the travelling ... sometimes I just want to be at home but if you want to compete, you have to enjoy travelling which I do, seeing new places.
We're based in Val di Fassa, Italy, it's good to have a base — last year we didn't. We've joined another team, for the base, and work with them sometimes, with some other girls. When we move around it's just me and my coach.
How long have you been guided by Tim Cafe?
I've worked with Tim — he used to race — for three years.
He used to coach my sister Tully and we've know each other for nine years or so. We get a long really well.
Recent results suggest New Zealand is making more of a consistent on the world snow sports scene ...
I think in the freeride there will always be people because it's quite a big culture in Wanaka, they've got a really good team and stuff.