CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy (AP) — By any measure, Tina Maze is dominating the World Cup ski circuit this season.
The Slovenian has six wins, 13 podium finishes and a massive 590-point lead over her closest challenger in the overall standings. With a super-G victory in St. Anton, Austria, last weekend, Maze became the sixth woman with career wins in all five disciplines.
But then there's this: Maze wants to become the first woman to break the 2,000-point barrier, and she also declared late Thursday that she believes she can join a very select group of all-around skiers who have posted World Cup victories in all five disciplines in a single season.
"You need to keep yourself motivated and always make new goals," Maze said. "When you are in this good shape it's all possible." Lindsey Vonn came close to the 2,000-point barrier with 1,980 last season, while Hermann Maier's exact 2,000 in 1999-2000 is the men's mark.
Slightly more than halfway through the season, Maze has 1,334 points, far ahead of second-place Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany. "It's all possible if you let your body and your head free, not focus too much on 2,000 points or five wins," Maze said.
Only two women have won in all five disciplines in a single season. Austrian great Petra Kronberger did it in 1990-91 and Croatian standout Janica Kostelic accomplished the feat in 2005-06. The only man to do it was Marc Girardelli in 1988-89.
Of Maze's six victories this season, four were in giant slalom, one in super-combined and one in super-G. All that's missing are downhill and slalom wins — and she has already showed she's a threat in those disciplines.
Last weekend, Maze finished fourth in the downhill in St. Anton. She's also been in the top five in five slaloms this season, and is second in the slalom standings behind American teen Mikaela Shiffrin.
"There are still many downhills and many slaloms, so yes, it's possible," said Andrea Massi, Maze's coach. Of the two, downhill is the bigger challenge. Maze began as a technical skier and started training seriously in speed with the powerful Austrian men's downhill team in Portillo, Chile, only in the past two summers.
"It was a really important experience for me," said Maze, who won the only downhill of her career in St. Moritz in 2008. "Before I never trained downhill. "I don't feel afraid now if it's really fast or if it's bumpy," she added. "I'm feeling really confident in the speed events, and if you're confident and there's no stress you can just be relaxed with your body. It's better that way. Stress is not a good idea in downhill. You need to be calm."
Maze's next race is Saturday's downhill in Cortina, considered the most prestigious downhill on the women's circuit and an event Maze finished fourth in a year ago. "I like Cortina because my name is in it," Maze said. "It's one of my favorite places — it's beautiful and the mountains are spectacular."
Maze also feels a special connection with Cortina because Massi, who is also her boyfriend, learned to ski here. His grandfather bought a house in Cortina for the 1956 Olympics and the family still owns it.
"It's almost like a home race," Maze said. Massi is from the Italian town of Gorizia along the Slovenian border. He leads a virtually all-Italian squad for the self-labeled "Team to aMaze," along with assistant coach Livio Magoni and ski technician Andrea Vianello, who formerly worked for Alberto Tomba and Julia Mancuso.
Maze made a much publicized split with the Slovenian ski federation five years ago and had to find private funding. But the federation recently agreed to a two-year contract with Maze that provides 60 percent of her budget.
"We have a lot of support from the federation but we are still working on what we started," Maze said. "We never changed, but maybe some other people understood what is our way and our goal — so they are with us now."
Maze's situation brings to mind how Bode Miller won his second overall title in 2007-08 with a breakaway squad after separating from the U.S. team. "It's probably a bit easier to find sponsorships in America," Massi said, noting that they recently lost a sponsor. "We have a very small team and Tina comes from a very small country."
No matter her team details, Maze has become extremely popular in Slovenia, where her music video entitled "My way is my decision," a catchy pop tune written for her to sing by a friend, has become a massive hit.
The song should get plenty of play time during Maze's home races in Maribor next week. "It will be big," Maze said. "People are really excited about my skiing." With a giant slalom and slalom on the schedule in Maribor, it will also represent a chance for her to tick off a slalom victory in that single-season chase.
"She's right there, she's just lacking a bit of confidence," Massi said. "I think she can still make one more step forward there."