You can see it in Piera Hudson's eyes and the confident tone in her voice suggests it.

The Hawke's Bay alpine skier doesn't intend to let anything get in the way of her quest to qualify for the February 9-25 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang County, South Korea. While nine athletes for the 20-strong New Zealand team have already been selected Hudson, 21, has to record some top 30 finishes at six World Cup events to be staged in the northern hemisphere from November 25 to January 22.

"I'm on track to be selected but the selectors want to see me performing closer to the time. I don't have to be in the top 30 at all of them but I will be charging at all of them to push my case," Hudson said.

At each of the World Cup events Hudson expects up to 75 starters in her giant slalom event and to make the top 30 she has to qualify for the second round. During the past three months the two-time Central Hawke's Bay (2009, 2011) Sportsperson of the Year and 2016 Hawke's Bay Junior Sportsperson of the Year has improved her world slalom ranking 396 places to 142.


"I want to be Hawke's Bay's first Winter Olympian. It will be pretty cool if I make it. New Zealand hasn't had an alpine skier at the Winter Olympics since Nicola Campbell in 2006 and Annelise Coberger was the last Kiwi alpine skier to win a medal when she won silver in 1992," Hudson explained.

Coached by Wanaka-based New Zealand alpine women's team coach Jonny Rice for the past seven years, Hudson, has racked up 23 back-to-back winters on the Federation of International Ski Racing (FIS) circuit.

She spends three months of the year in Hawke's Bay, three in Wanaka and six overseas and there's no doubt those sacrifices are paying off for the former Havelock North Primary School, Woodford House and Stratton Mount School, Vermont USA student.

She missed the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because she didn't satisfy any of the Olympic criteria.

"It was good I didn't go last time. It wasn't a huge focus for me and I would have been too young. This time I am ready. I feel good going into my northern hemisphere season which I will head off to on Tuesday. I'm the best I have ever been so I just need to stay positive about my chances of selection."

On September 24 she won the giant slalom title during the Cardrona Spring Series event in the South Island which was her last stint of competition before returning home to the Bay for some gym work.

Earlier this year she retained her International Overall Women's ANC Continental Cup yellow bib title.

In August Hudson finished fourth in the parallel slalom division of the Winter Games at Coronet Peak in the South Island. A lot of her opponents in this event were international stars who regularly podium in World Cup events.


It's obvious she wants her career highlight, a 16th placing in a field of 80 at last year's World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia to be bettered. This was the best result recorded by any female or male Kiwi alpine athlete across all disciplines in the past 32 years of the event.

Hudson spends up to $120,000 each year on travel, accommodation, equipment and clothing. She is on the hunt for sponsors willing to assist her "Olympic journey."

"Help make it happen and be a part of history," Hudson pleaded.

One of her best fundraisers in recent times has been her family's Coastal Cowhides Fundraiser which received the top trade exhibit award at the Hawke's Bay Show last week. Hudson's parents John and Fiona and aunt Caroline Rittson-Thomas were the inspiration for the initiative which trades products using cowhides sourced from Brazil and calf hides from New Zealand and all profits go to Hudson.

■ Hudson's email address for anyone willing to sponsor her is: