New Zealand skier Alice Robinson continues to turn heads in Europe as she gears up for tomorrow's third round of the Giant Slalom World Cup in Courchevel in France.
The 18-year-old who shocked the ski-racing world with her sensational win in the World Cup opener in Austria, is clearly back to her explosive best after recovering from a knee injury, and has stunned her coach Chris Knight with her speed in training.
Robinson has spent a couple of days training alongside double Olympic champion Matthias Mayer. The Austrian is the reigning Olympic Super G champion from Pyeongchang and won Downhill gold in Sochi in 2014.
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"When the timer comes out at training she really responds to it and that's something that has gone well for us the last couple of days. She was actually beating Mayer in sections of training and from that we know her skiing is good and she will get confidence." Knight said.
Mayer is not a Giant Slalom specialist but he's still had two top 20 results in the discipline this season and Robinson says that shows how strong her form is.
"It was fun, we had a couple of great days training and obviously he is not a GS skier but he's been doing well in GS this year and he's a boy, so it's a good measure for me." Robinson said.
"In different parts you can take notions away of where he's fast. He's a speed skier and... because he's a big 100 kilo dude he was smashing me at the start. So it made me ramp that up a bit which is great. But it's always good to train against someone who is really successful." Robinson said.
The Kiwi feels fresh after pulling out of last week's Super G races in Switzerland and has focused on a proper build up to the GS, which is her priority at the moment.
"Up until the fourth World Cup in Lienz in Austria on the 28th December I will focus on Giant Slalom and then there will be a two and a half week gap before the next race, so I can take a bit of time to build up the Super G training."
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Knight says Robinson is right where she needs to be, heading into tomorrow night's race.
"Some of the turns she is putting together right now are incredible and we just have to try to get it going on race day."
Despite recording a DNF off the back of a limited, rushed build up to the second World Cup race of the season in Vermont last month, Robinson is giving no thought to holding back in the first run.
"I know my best skiing is solid and will get me to the finish. That's what I have to think and just be really aware of what's going on around me. There's no point just making it down and being really slowm, which is not going to help me." Robinson said.
Robinson and Knight have arrived in Courchevel from their training base in Italy but won't get to train on the race slope ahead of the first run, which is timed to go at 10:30pm Tuesday night NZT. The second run is at 1:30am Wednesday NZT.
This could prove to be a tough ask for Robinson as Knight revealed there is some concern over the condition of the slope.
"It's probably going to be one of those races where conditions are not perfect.
"They tried to re-water the slope today, to make it a bit harder. So the conditions are on the edge of being really cold and freezing, or not freezing, so they are a little concerned how the slope will hold up for the athletes.
"The course could break up and there could be some grooves and bumps in the slope which is something that Alice will have to deal with starting between 8 and 15. You don't have the perfect slope like the first few athletes have, but still have to grind it out in the first run and then put it down second run so to speak." Knight said.
Robinson is fifth on the World Cup Giant Slalom standings with 100 points, 40 points behind American Mikaela Shiffrin in top spot.
Shiffrin is the racer to beat. The 24-year-old had a record-breaking 17 World Cup victories across multiple disciplines last season. She was the first skier to win World Cup titles in slalom, giant slalom, Super G and overall in the same year.
Knight is reluctant to draw comparisons between Shiffrin and Robinson, who is six years her junior and at a very different stage of her career.
"Mikaela Shiffrin, for example, has built her base confidence on slalom and then has moved into all the other disciplines and has done exceptionally well. She is a very calculated athlete and you see it every day in her training and racing and that's the difference between a 24-year-old and an 18-year-old. Alice has freshness in the sport that you can't compare and it's exciting to see."
However Knight does think Robinson's style is comparable to a couple of other greats of American ski racing.
"I would say Lindsay Vonn and Bode Miller with her technique. But she's a real high risk skier which is an exciting part of her ski racing. A lot of the guys and girls are more calculating and try to ski down without making mistakes and Alice is the complete opposite who tries to win from start to finish."