New Zealand ski racer Alice Robinson has been learning from one of the best ahead of her latest World Cup giant slalom race in Kronplatz in Italy overnight.
The 19-year old's co-coach Chris Knight has revealed to NZME they've been training alongside reigning Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin and Robinson's performance has matched up well with the American superstar.
It's resulted in a boost in confidence for the young Kiwi who has struggled to match the heights of last season where she won two of the six completed World Cup giant slaloms. Robinson's best result so far this season is ninth in her last race in Kranjska Gora in Slovenia and she sits 16th in the standings.
"We were able to join up with Shiffrin and she's a great role model and a great athlete and the training times were very encouraging for Alice," Knight said.
The Kiwi who used to coach American great Lindsay Vonn knows Shiffrin's coaches (Mike Day and Jeff Lackie) from his time working with the US ski team.
"We have been trying to link up with them when the time has been right, and it hasn't always worked. But this time it was perfect timing for us, and we've had a couple of days on the slope that we wanted to ski on as well and we are really encouraged with the way the last week of skiing has gone," Knight explained.
The move was possible due to Robinson pulling out of the weekend's Super G race in Crans Montana in Switzerland. Shiffrin has not been competing in the discipline this season, instead focusing on her specialist Slalom and GS.
Shiffrin who won Giant Slalom gold at the Pyeongchang Winter Games four years after becoming the youngest Slalom Olympic champion at 18 in Sochi, has had 68 World Cup wins and her presence training alongside Robinson this past week has been inspiring for the young Kiwi.
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"Yeah, we are encouraged by what we're seeing and she's in a really good place, but she has to bring it on race day so that's the objective tomorrow."
While Robinson and Shiffrin trained on the same course this week, Knight says there was a bit of cat and mouse going on.
"Nobody wants to give away too much, some might ski with a jacket on or wear a vest and someone else will wear a full body suit, so you never really get a full idea of where everybody's at. But at least it gives you some confidence if you can match a top athlete at the time and that's what Alice has been doing."
Tonight's race is the last Giant Slalom for Robinson ahead of next month's World
Championships in Cortina. She will have another Super G race in Germany at the weekend before heading to Italy to prepare for the worlds.