17-year-old Robinson stuns Shiffrin in first race of the season
17-year-old Alice Robinson announced herself to the world on Saturday as she beat out defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin and won the first Giant Slalom meet of the season.
On a tough day for New Zealand as the All Blacks lost to England in the semi-finals of the rugby World Cup Robinson certainly gave the country something to smile about.
Coming into the second run behind only Shiffrin Robinson put in a superb performance to move into the lead of the race, taming a course that she had never skied on, but that others were struggling with.
Robinson skied superbly on the first run, attacking the snow with vigour and her aggressive style paid off as she finished just 0.14 behind Shiffrin, who looked imperious as she began her title defence.
In the second run plenty of skiers struggled to adjust to the changing conditions with Norway’s Maria Therese Tviberg the only competitor to really find her feet.
Her superb performance in the latter half of her run put her in the leader’s chair for some time until last year’s winner at Soelden, Tessa Worley, took charge.
Then it was Robinson’s turn to shine, showing no fear as she held her nerve to move into the lead.
That meant all eyes were on Shiffrin coming out of the gate and the American looked to be in control until she also struggled a bit in the second-half of the run, making a minor, yet ultimately costly error and trailing the Kiwi by 0.06s.
It means Robinson wins her first World Cup race at just 17 years of age and she is well and the junior World Champion has well and truly announced herself on the world stage.
To come in and beat Shiffrin, who last year was a new sort of dominant, shows just how talented Robinson is.
Shiffrin had spoken about being wary of the other riders on the circuit, but even she must have been surprised by Robinson.
"I'm pretty shocked but super happy and super excited." Robinson said afterwards.
" I had a feeling I was going to like this slope so to be able to pull it off on the day I'm really excited."
"It was awesome, snow was amazing, super warm but it was pretty nice.
"I was a bit nervous for the second run but I just tried to hold it together, keep my nerves together and enjoy it."
“You could see it already last year that she is going t be a really strong skier,” Shiffrin said after the race of a skier who finished second to her in the season finale.
“I really like the way she skis and I think it’s exciting that she won today.”