Italy's Dominik Paris won the first downhill of the men's alpine World Cup season on Saturday, clocking 1min 49.90sec on the Lake Louise Olympic course to edge Austrian Klaus Kroell.
Kroell was second at snowy Lake Louise in 1:49.93, and France's Adrien Theaux was third in 1:50.01.
In a season that will be highlighted by the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February, Kroell's podium finish was an important marker for the 33-year-old skier who had a second operation on his left arm just last month.
The winner of the 2011-12 World Cup downhill globe broke his humerus (upper arm bone) in a fall during the super-G in last season's final weekend of racing at the Swiss resort of Lenzerheide.
After a first surgery in Switzerland, a second operation was needed to remove scar and bone tissue that was compressing a nerve.
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, who completed a downhill/super-G double on the same course last year, settled for fourth place, 0.23sec behind the winner.
Svindal will try to regroup for Sunday's super-G -- a discipline in which he has notched four victories on the same piste in the Canadian Rockies.
Paris, 24 and the world championships downhill silver medallist, notched the third World Cup victory of his career.
He earned downhill wins on two of the toughest courses in the world last season, the Stelvio in Bormio and the Streif in Kitzbuehel.
On Saturday he and the rest of the field coped with changing visibility because of the snow that fell with varying intensity during the race.
After a laid-back approach to the pre-race training runs, Paris said, "Today, I attacked."
American Bode Miller, in his first downhill since sitting out all of last season in the wake of knee surgery, finished a respectable 16th, 1.39sec behind the winner.
It was an even more encouraging return to racing for France's Johan Clarey, who missed the world championships in Schladming, Austria, last February after he was injured in a fall while walking near his home.
Clarey, who needed back surgery, finished fifth.