By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) - Aksel Svindal was the first out of the gate at the downhill race in Beaver Creek on Saturday and never relinquished the lead as he cruised to his 33rd career World Cup win.
The tall, powerful Norwegian pushed hard out of the starting gate and sped down the quick Birds of Prey course in one minute 40:46 seconds for his sixth career win at the Colorado resort.
"When you're going first you're not going to get a course report so you really need to be committed," the 34-year-old veteran said. "If you can do that I think it is an advantage."
Svindal, the 2010 Olympic super-G gold medalist and five-time world champion, appears in top form after his previous two seasons were cut short due to knee injuries.
Svindal edged Beat Feuz (1:40.61) of Switzerland, who won the season-opening men's downhill at Lake Louise a week ago. German Thomas Dressen (1:40.95) finished third.
A memorial was set up on the course mourning the death of French skier David Poisson, who died in a training accident in Alberta on Nov. 13.
Adrien Theaux (1:41.26) was the fastest Frenchman down the course on Saturday, finishing eighth after posting the quickest time in training on Wednesday at Beaver Creek.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; editing by Clare Fallon)