New Zealand ski racer Alice Robinson has started her 2019/20 season on a high, winning the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Giant Slalom in Sölden, Austria.
She scored the first FIS World Cup gold medal in GS for New Zealand in history at the season opener on the Rettenbach Glacier against the world’s best racers, all vying for top honours.
The Australian born Queenstown bred 17-year-old, with just 10 World Cup starts to her name, wasted no time making her presence felt. She skied from start bib nine to second place on her first run, just 0.14s behind reigning overall FIS World Cup Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (USA).
With the start order of the top-30 racers flipped for run two, Alice was the second last racer through the gates on run two, putting down a blistering run to take the lead but had to wait for Shiffrin to finish before her podium placing was decided.
Shiffrin recorded a fastest time at the first slip before falling behind the pace set by the young Kiwi and finishing in the silver position. Bronze medal went to World Cup veteran Tessa Worley (FRA).
“It’s pretty crazy,” said Alice after the race. “It was very close. I was a little nervous but I just tried to keep calm and enjoy it all.”
Robinson is the youngest racer ever to win in Solden. She is the current Junior World Champion in Giant Slalom and claimed her first World Cup medal in March this year, finishing second at the FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Andorra. It was New Zealand’s first Alpine ski racing World Cup medal in 17 years.