Three Championship Seasons
Kronberger joined the World Cup circuit in the 1987-88 season. Although she did not win any races that year, she did finish in the top three on occasion, and she was expected to be a contender at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. In the end she did not win any medals in Calgary, but she did give a good performance for an athlete still in her teen years: she finished sixth in the downhill and eleventh in the combined.
Kronberger only won her first World Cup events, two downhill races, in December of 1989, but by the end of that season she had captured the World Cup overall title. This made her an instant hero in Austria: ever since that country's skiing star of the 1970s, Annemarie Pröll (later Moser-Pröll) had retired, the Swiss team had almost completely dominated the alpine world, which had long rankled the Austrian fans.
Kronberger's skiing only improved in the next two seasons, in which she successfully defended her World Cup overall champion title twice. Over the course of thirty-eight days in December, 1990, and January, 1991, Kronberger became the first skier in the modern era to win one race in each of the five alpine events in one season. Four of those wins in all but the combined came in the month of December alone, another notable feat.
Kronberger won a gold medal in her first event, the downhill, at the 1991 world championships, and many observers were expecting her to go on to win as many as four more. However, she fell in her second event, the Super-G, and injured her right knee, forcing her to miss the rest of the races. (Despite her fall, she still finished sixth in that event.) Her performances at the Olympics the next year in Albertville, France, were equally solid. She went home with two gold medals, one in the slalom and one in the combined, and she finished a respectable fourth in the Super-G and fifth in the slalom.