New Zealand skier Alice Robinson has well and truly announced herself as a force in speed skiing.
The 20-year-old stormed to a career best fourth place finish in the third World Cup Super G of the season at St Moritz in Switzerland. Robinson flew down a shortened course after high winds delayed the scheduled start time by 40 minutes.
The last-minute change saw carnage early on with the course buffeted by high winds and a number of the early starters failing to finish.
The biggest casualty was Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami, the reigning world champion and winner of the first Super G 24 hours earlier. She suffered a horrifying crash at speed, ploughing through two safety nets. After the race was stopped for several minutes, she was able to ski to the finish line unscathed.
But the conditions on the hill improved slightly for Robinson, who had finished 24th a day earlier. She started from 26th and produced a scintillating run, clocking 58.33 seconds, just 0.53s behind the winner Federica Brignone of Italy. Robinson was 0.12s behind American Mikaela Shiffrin in third, who finished behind another Italian Elena Curtoni.
"Yeah, it was super exciting," Robinson told NZME. "It was a lowered start because of the wind so it was kind of sprint. And it was super fast, it's a really difficult slope and yesterday was my first day on it. So today I knew it a little bit better.
"I had a lot more confidence and going over all the terrain I felt like I had a really solid run, especially at the top. So, it's just amazing to have a result in the top five so I'm showing that I'm a real contender in multiple disciplines."
Robinson clocked a top speed of 97.18km/h and the career best result for the young Kiwi will do wonders for her confidence.
"Fourth is my best result and part of it is like, super stoked with the fourth but ... another part of me is that I missed the podium by nine hundredths. So next week I'm just focusing on trying to keep the confidence rolling and to get the same feelings next week and try and show that I can do it more than once," Robinson said.
"Just an absolutely fantastic result for Alice, second time on the hill and first time with some experience behind her and that's what she's capable of," said Robinson's co-coach Chris Knight. "With all the race holds and the lowered start and the wind she stayed focused, stuck to the plan and skied fantastic, and hopefully there will be a lot more results like that to come."
It's all the more remarkable considering the Queenstown skier has only started nine world Cup Super G races in her short career and her previous best result was 10th at Val Di Fassa last season.
Robinson, who finished 20th in Lake Louise last week, climbs from 21st to 10th in the World Cup Super G standings with the next race in Val D'lsere in France next weekend.
Robinson previously made her name as a giant slalom skier with three World Cup victories to her name in that discipline and it shapes as her best medal chance at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. But her progress on Super G skis could also see have another shot at a medal in Beijing.
After the upcoming Val d'lsere Super G, Robinson will turn her attention giant slalom with back-to-back races in Courchevel in France before Christmas.
Robinson finished 11th in the opening World Cup giant slalom of the season in Solden in Austria in late October.
It's the first season that Robinson is competing in every World Cup Super G as well as giant slalom and hopes to start her downhill career in the new year.