Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won the first downhill World Cup event in Lake Louise ©Getty Images

Olympic medallist Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway started his Alpine Ski World Cup downhill title defence by winning gold in the season's opening speed event at Lake Louise.

The 30-year-old, who won both the downhill and super-G World Cup titles last season, crossed the line in 1min 47.98sec to claim the win.

"Coming off a really good season last year and taking the globe, comes with a lot of pressure," said Kilde.

"So winning the first race is always nice.

"You know the speed is there and you are doing something right and can just keep going."

Austria's Daniel Hemetsberger won silver in 1:48.04 while the bronze medal went to overall crystal globe-holder Marco Odermatt of Switzerland who clocked 1:48.08.

Another Austrian, Matthias Mayer, finished fourth in 1:48.35.

Olympic downhill champion Beat Feuz of Switzerland settled for fifth position after clocking 1:48.61.

Meanwhile, Italy’s Dominik Paris suffered a crash early into the race but was not injured.

Yesterday, heavy snow and reduced visibility forced organisers to postpone the first men's downhill event.