Alice Robinson's march to the summit of alpine skiing's Giant Slalom could potentially be hampered by the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.
The 18-year-old has risen to be joint top of the FIS World Giant Slalom rankings alongside Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin and World Cup leader Federica Brignone on the back of some mind-blowing performances.
The Queenstown skier has won two of the six races so far on the World Cup circuit and is fifth in the GS standings with two races remaining in Germany and Sweden next month before the season finale scheduled for the Italian resort Cortina D'Ampezzo in the Dolomites from March 18-22.
However, the World Cup Finals are under a cloud of uncertainty with the coronavirus outbreak leading to numerous cancellations of events and restrictions across Lombardy.
The Italian government has already postponed Serie A football matches in the region and Inter Milan's Europa League match against Ludogorets will be played behind closed doors on Friday.
Robinson's co-coach Jeff Fergus says they are playing it day by day right now but no decisions have been made by Skiing's governing body FIS.
"It's wait and see right now, the races that are happening this weekend, there are rumours that those are in jeopardy and of course the finals in Italy are pretty close to where there has been an outbreak of the coronavirus, so we are in a holding pattern," Fergus said.
Robinson is due to race a World Cup Super G in La Thuile in western Italy on the French border this weekend although a major snowfall is expected in the next few days which could impact on that event.
There's an added incentive to compete this weekend and score valuable World Cup points.
"If she can score 500 World Cup points before the finals Alice would qualify for every event for Cortina. [World Cup Finals] So if that happens then for sure she would race Cortina Super G and we even tossed around the idea maybe we would have her do some downhill training runs and see how that goes," Fergus said.
Robinson has never even been on a pair of downhill skis before so it's unrealistic to think she would be thrust into a World Cup Final where the top 25 racers in the world compete in the blue riband event, or is it?
"If we think it's going to get close and can happen we would put her on downhill skis and do a little bit of training beforehand. She can take it easy and she could even wear a jacket just to slow her down at first a wee bit. But it is the World Championships hill next year so any time she can get on it we will take advantage of it," Fergus said.
The young Kiwi currently has 310 overall World Cup points and a result this weekend plus two podium finishes in the Giant Slalom races in Ofterschwang in Germany and Are in Sweden next month could see her crack the 500 point-mark.
"There's definitely a chance although without a Super G race this weekend she would probably need a first and a third in the two Giant Slalom races to get the 500 points," Fergus said.