Top Kiwi skier Alice Robinson has received a welcome boost ahead of next week's third round of the World Cup Giant Slalom in Courchevel in France.
Snow Sports NZ has sent physiotherapist Sarah Gillespie to Europe to work with the young sensation who stunned the Alpine skiing world by winning the season opener in Austria at the end of October.
The then 17-year-old became just the second New Zealander and first for more than 20 years to win a World Cup race.
Robinson suffered bone bruising on her knee during that recent campaign in Europe and was subsequently side-lined for several weeks before making a late decision to race the second round of the World Cup in Killington in the US. However she was underdone on the skis and recorded a DNF.
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She has been training in Italy for the past 10 days and pulled out of this week's Europa Cup and World Cup Super G races to focus on her GS campaign.
Robinson's coach Chris Knight is thrilled Snow Sports NZ have been able to give them additional resource with her campaign mostly reliant on her parents funding and sponsors. He says Gillespie has been invaluable.
"Physically there's no issue and mentally it's about building the confidence up in her knee," Knight said.
"Now we've got a physio here telling her she's in great shape and it really helps being able to hear that sort of thing.
"It's being able to trust yourself 100 percent on the snow and now that's she's doing that we can push her harder in certain areas and ramp it up before the race."
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Robinson and Knight have been based in Northern Italy and travel to Courchevel Sunday with the race Tuesday night.
Knight says Gillespie has made an immediate difference to Robinson's confidence.
"Just immediately yesterday, getting some therapy and doing some exercises and being able to talk to her about the skiing and hearing reasons behind it physiologically and hearing why certain things aren't working as we thought they might be.
"We had been looking at video and watching her skiing and thinking maybe it was equipment related, but there was just some stiffness around her muscles and knees and now she's good to go. That's just been huge relief for all of us, big weight off our minds, especially for Alice."
Robinson is fifth on the World Cup Giant Slalom standings with 100 points, 40 points behind American Mikaela Shiffrin in top spot.
The 18-year-old will be joined by fellow Kiwi Piera Hudson in Courchevel. The 23-year-old competes in a parallel slalom at the Wold Cup in St Moritz in Switzerland tonight before heading to France.
Hudson is coming off outstanding results at the Far East Cup in China where she won a Giant Slalom earlier this week. She is ranked 52 in the FIS standings but expects that ranking to improve into the top 30 when the points accumulated in China are added on.
"Giant Slalom is going exceptionally well at the moment and I am feeling confident and reading to race down the steep Courchevel piste," Hudson said. "It's a pretty intense technical piste and it will be very slick and very icy."