Kiwi teenager Alice Robinson described her fourth place in the women's giant slalom at the world championships on Thursday as a "bitter-sweet confidence boost", adding she was "pretty proud" to have threatened the podium.
Robinson, 19, was sixth fastest after the first leg of the two-run discipline down the Olympia delle Tofane course in Cortina d'Ampezzo.
She improved on that in her second run, posting the fifth fastest time to leapfrog rivals into fourth place, finishing 0.73sec behind Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami's winning time, American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austrian Katharina Liensberger completing the podium.
"It's bittersweet," said the New Zealander, one of the rare racers outside North America and the European powerhouses to be properly competitive.
"It's my best result of the season, but also quite disappointing when you're fourth and just missing the medals.
"But I really gave it my all today. Fourth, it is what it is."
Robinson was one of the breakout stars of the World Cup last season, winning the opening giant slalom of the campaign in Soelden, Austria, at the age of 17, and backing it up with another victory four months later in the Slovenian resort of Kranjska Gora.
That came after she became New Zealand's youngest-ever Winter Olympian when, at the age of 16 years and 70 days, she took part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, finishing 35th in the giant slalom.
"It hasn't been an easy season for me (this season) and I wanted to give it my all today, and I really tried my best," said the Sydney-born skier whose family are based in New Zealand's South Island resort town of Queenstown.
"Sometimes when you're pushing it, you make some mistakes, and that's kind of what I had on the second run, but I'm pretty proud of getting out there and full attacking as much as I could.
"I lost quite a bit of time down the bottom. I still have a lot of room to get better."
- Power skier -
Robinson said the result was nothing but a "confidence boost", while also showing her where she could up her game.
"It was tough, the longest slope we've had, 20 seconds longer than our average courses," she said, the combined winning time posted at 2min 30.66sec.
"I'm a power skier, so it was fast, then I struggled when it got softer... I lost a lot of time at the bottom. That's something I’ve got to improve on.
"I had a lot of trust in myself and confidence in my skiing. I think that's what I need to bring into the next races."
Robinson added: "It was nowhere near perfect but when you're attacking, you're making mistakes and I definitely had a lot of mistakes. But I'm pretty proud of the mentality I had today."
The Kiwi, however, has struggled this season. "It's been a tricky year, a hard year for me, being away for so long, the pandemic and everything."
She has been in Europe since August, unable to return home or have her family visit her because of strict border controls in New Zealand.
"It is quite strange, especially with how normal it is in New Zealand," Robinson said of her home nation, which has fared well in the fight against coronavirus.
"It's a little bit tough being in Europe competing and your whole family and your friends are living pretty normally back in New Zealand, but that's just how it is this year."