Ted Ligety finished last ski season by winning six of eight races and repeating as world champion in the giant slalom.
On Sunday, he began a new season in fitting style.
The American racer won the GS in Soelden, Austria, by 0.79 seconds over Alexis Pinturault of France. Overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria finished 1.02 back for third place.
“I’m super-psyched to win this today,” Ligety said. “It wasn’t easy conditions on the second run, it was dark and bumpy, but any day you win it’s a good day, so I can’t complain.”
Another notable U.S. skier, Bode Miller, made his return to the circuit with a 19th-place finish.
Miller, who skipped last season to rehabilitate an injured knee, was guardedly pleased with his result.
“My knee feels better than it has since 2001,” he said. “Once I made a decision not to race last year, it took a lot of pressure off and I could focus my recovery. I needed to look at the big picture and figure out if I still wanted to race at 36 years old and what kind of shape I could be in if I wanted to race.”
This early season takes on special significance as a run-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics in February.